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Henry Judd

India: Is America Set to Intervene?

(October 1942)

From Labor Action, Vol. 6 No. 42, 19 October 1942, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

During the past few weeks individual after individual and group after group of American liberals and New Dealers ranging from pious Norman Thomas to Pearl Buck – have issued appeals urging American “intervention and mediation” in the deadlock of India.

The press has been flooded with appeals from a host of liberals and shining intellectuals. No expense, including a full page ad in the New York Times, has been spared. Public meetings, radio talks, ads, statements – every method of modern propaganda has been employed.

All the appeals have the same meaning and content. They are usually directed to President Roosevelt, as leader of the United Nations. They urge (1) a resumption of conferences and negotiations between the Indian nationalist leaders and the British government; (2) the bringing of India into the war as an active partner by means of certain concessions (for example, a provisional government based on some sort of federal system). These liberals are quite in their glory when it comes to writing up “constitutions” and plans for India!

Of course, none of these gentlemen proposes India’s immediate and unconditional liberation. All of them are concerned only with the problem of bringing India openly and usefully into the war. Any pretense that the eminent, Norman Thomas may have made at opposing the war is gone with his signature to the New York Times ad, a statement which had support of the war as its central theme!

Spokesmen of American Imperialism

Far more important than this tribe of liberals, whose attitude toward India might well be described as “Let’s give them a couple of bones, then they’ll be only too happy to fight and die for us” – far more important are the words and deeds of America’s ruling class spokesmen and journalists – men like Wendell L. Willkie, Raymond Clapper, the Luce publications (Time, Life and Fortune), etc. They, too, have commented widely upon India in recent week, and their remarks have not been exactly friendly to the British, their companions-in-arms of the United Nations.

These men represent the pinion of the American imperialists and those who are leading America in its war role. They express not merely dissatisfaction with the bungling, stupid, die-hard manner in which Churchill and his gang have handled the India problem, but – and this is most important – they express the longings and desires of American imperialism with respect to India’s future.

These men would like American intervention and “pressure” from FDR not because they are concerned with India’s rights or her demand for liberation, but because they look forward to the day when American capital can force its way into Indian territory against the wishes of England and begin ITS OWN profitable exploitation of that land’s vast wealth and resources. In a word, they are thinking of the future, when American imperialism will oust or seek to oust Britain from its most important and most profitable colony. These spokesmen would like to see the British replaced by their backers, the imperialists, the merchants and financiers of the United States! That is why they keep harping upon the British failure to solve the crisis, hinting how much better they could do if they were only given the opportunity to deal with Gandhi and his associates.

Let no one be mistaken about this question. On the matter of American intervention in India there is bad feeling between London and Washington! Churchill and particularly Amery, his Secretary of State for India, have none too politely told FDR and the “interventionists” to keep their fingers off India; that’s private poaching grounds for ENGLISH imperialism. So far, FDR has done this, but the people of India would be wise to watch out for future intervention. When the rulers of America approach India bearing gifts, it would be well to recall American policy toward ITS colonies, the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rica, for example.

For Workers’ Intervention

Our attitude toward India has nothing in common with that of the hypocritical liberals of Common Sense magazine, Norman Thomas or any of that group. Of course we also completely oppose any intervention by American capitalism. But we would definitely like to see “intervention” by the American workers and trade unionists. An intervention on behalf of the people of India, protesting the criminal actions of the British government, backing up solidly India’s demand for complete independence from any and all (including America) imperialist powers.

Let us do away with this attitude of condescension and “looking down” upon the people of India. Let us make no mistake about the matter. A great people have begun what will undoubtedly be a long and difficult struggle for their liberation. They are not “naked heathens,” as the imperialist English imply; they are not a backward, ignorant people. We must look upon the events in India as the beginnings of a great social revolution which, if it succeeds, will completely change the face of Asia and the rest of the world.

It is not a matter of a few isolated people fighting, but it is a movement involving almost 400,000,000 people who have opened up a REVOLUTIONARY front of their own against foreign rule.


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