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Henry Judd

Stalin’s Strikebreakers at Work in India

(November 1942)

From Labor Action, Vol. 6 No. 45, 9 November 1942, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

It is well known that the Stalinists (Communist Party) do not support the fight of India’s 389,000,000 people for national independence from England; not so well known are the lengths of treachery and strike breaking to which the Indian Communist Party has gone in its efforts to break up, sabotage and confuse the movement.

In the principal cities of the country (Bombay, Cawnpore, Ahmedabad, etc.) where the textile and steel workers went on strike against the British, the Communist Party leaders did their best to force the workers back into the plants “to produce for the United Nations against the Axis.”

A typical illustration of what happened, worth describing in detail, is contained in the Daily Worker of October 30. When the struggle began, the Congress leaders went to the Stalinists in the city of Delhi, where some of the major demonstrations occurred. They asked the local representatives of Joseph Stalin for help in organizing the movement. The Stalinists “tell them our way out of this mess (!), but they (the Congress /leaders) are still not quite prepared to give up the Gandhite ‘struggle’ against the British and follow our plan of unity among all factions of the Indian people to defeat the Axis.”

So the Stalinists, since the people aren’t quite ready to surrender, show them how to do it!

On August 9, a demonstration of 50,000 students and workers of the city is organized. The Stalinist student leader who addressed the crowd (urging them to drop the fight) is arrested by the unappreciative British police. “... He was the one student leader, who could have got the students to keep cool and patriotic at the same time,” moan the Stalinists. What ungrateful wretches these British police are!

Then the violent, semi-revolutionary struggles began between the British and the people of Delhi; struggles in which many were killed and hundreds wounded by police fire. The counter-revolutionary Stalinists write: “The leadership of the movement slipped quickly from Congress to non-Congress hands, such as the ‘Forward Blocists’ (a Trotskyite-fifth column combination).” The workers and radical students who, pushing aside the Stalinists and the conservative Congress leaders, led the people in militant demonstration against imperialism are fifth columnists! The Stalinists say so, so it must be so. All credit must go to the militant leaders who came up from the ranks of the people and refused to subordinate India’s fight for freedom to the imperialist aims of England, or the requirements of Stalin.

And finally, when the students struck and refused to attend the schools and colleges, the Stalinists developed this strike-breaking line: “Therefore, keep the peace. Keep organized, fight your way back into the schools. Instead of continuing the strike, strive, to get the colleges reopened, and that will be victory.”

Has there ever been such scabbery and treachery – even from the Stalinists?

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