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Kurt Landau

The League against Imperialism

(February 1930)

Throughout the World of Labor, The Militant, Vol. III No. 7, 15 February 1930, p. 5.
Transcribed & marked by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The All-Indian National Congress was presided over by Jawaharlal Nehru. Nehru, with Gandhi, is the representative of the various vacillating and petty bourgeois masses; driven by the masses, the predominant element of their policy is fear of the masses, of the revolution against which they are fighting today with all ideological means; tomorrow, when the revolution raises its head in spite of Gandhism, the internal logic of their attitude and their policy will lead Gandhi and Nehru into the camp of the avowed enemies of the revolution.

The road that Nehru and Gandhi will take is already clearly indicated in the declaration of Gandhi appearing in Young India, the review of the nationalist Indian intellectuals. This is what it says:

“For the introduction of passive resistance, the choice of the moment and the methods have been left to the Committee of the All-Indian Congress. But I must declare, that I do not see the atmosphere propitious for such a measure.”

And Gandhi does not conceal the reason for which the atmosphere does not appear to him. It is that every measure of struggle, even if it is conceived pacifically, is exceeded by the masses and can provoke revolutionary struggles.

But Jawaharlal Nehru, charged with expounding this policy, is one of the most eminent celebrities of the “League against Imperialism.”

To this League also belongs Madame Sun, the wife of Sun Yat Sen, founder of the Kuo Min Tang. Madame Sun belongs to the Left wing of the Kuo Min Tang, she is close to Wang Chin Wei. Every revolutionist is acquainted with the role played by the Left wing of the Kuo Min Tang at Hankow. If the Left Kuo Min Tang should succeed in conquering Canton in the Spring, the “Left” government of the South would soon prove that it is no less hostile to the working class than the Nanking government. Contrary to Nanking, it would thank Mme. Sun by naming her an honorary member.

But in the meantime, Mme. Sun remains one of the luminaries of the “League against Imperialism.”

The development of all these “heroes of a day” of the anti-imperialist struggle is obviously not due to chance. The Fengs and the Chiang Kai-Sheks became counter-revolutionaries the moment the worker and peasant masses entered spontaneously on the field of history and formulated their class demands. The same will happen with all the heroes of the Anti-Imperialist League.

It would be ridiculous to demand the exclusion of the already compromised “leaders” of the “League Against Imperialism.” Not only must the Sandinos, the Nehrus and Company be removed from the revolutionary community of the world proletariat, but what must also be destroyed is the monstrous illusion, cruelly belied by history, according to which such a “League” can play leading, progressive role in the national revolution of the colonial peoples. The “League against Imperialism,” as a political center comprising Communist and bourgeois organizations, is a constant danger to the Communist International, to which it represents a competitor.

Things are similar if not worse in the Peasants International, which a European Peasants Congress is planned to draw out of its lethargy. For several weeks, the “revolutionary awakening” of the peasantry has been on the order of the day; in Germany, in Austria, etc., there are “revolutionary peasants demonstrations” for the election of delegates to the European peasants Congress. It therefore appears that we have arrived at a new edition of the “peasant policy” of the first “Leftist” period (1924–5); all the more necessary is it to recall to the revolutionary workers what Trotsky says in his criticism of the draft program of the Comintern:

“The peasantry will play a decisive role in the revolutions of the East. But this role will be neither leading nor independent. The poor peasants of Hupeh, Kwantung or Bengal can play a role not only on a national but on an international scale, but only on the condition that it supports the working class of Shanghai, Hankow or Calcutta. That is the only way out for the revolutionary peasant on an international road. The attempt to unite the peasant of Hupeh with the peasant of Galicia or the Dobrudja, the Egyptian fellah with the American farmer, has no chance to succeed.”

What International Communism needs is not the creation of independent organizations of peasants and the unification of the bourgeois colonial parties into a “League against Imperialism,” but a return to the teachings of Marxism-Leninism, the “outlived” teaching on the hegemony of the proletariat and the leading role of its party. “The village inevitably follows the city. The question is only to know which of the ‘city classes’ will be able to lead the village behind it.” That is Lenin’s formulation.

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