Communist Party of Great Britain
Source: Speeches & Documents of the Sixth (Manchester) Conference of the Communist Party of Great Britain, May 17-19, 1924
Publisher: Communist Party of Great Britain
Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid
Proofreader: David Tate
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
The Communist Party in Conference assembled greets the workers and labouring masses throughout the colonies and dependencies of Great Britain now struggling for freedom and independence. Their cause is our cause. The division amongst the oppressed masses is a source of power to the oppressors. Only the united forces of the enslaved masses of the colonies and dependencies with the wage-slaves of Great Britain can secure victory.
The condition of British Imperialism is now precarious indeed. The resources of the British Empire no longer suffice to keep Imperialism as a going concern. In the past, during periods of depression, the exploitation of one or the other of the British colonies enabled the wheels of industry to turn and yielded the necessary profits. Now, however, practically all the Dominions and Colonies have developed to such a stage as not only to be self-sustaining, but actually to have entered into competition with Great Britain; consequently British industry can no longer find relief for its unemployment from this source. Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and Ireland, are, to all intents and purposes, practically separated from Great Britain. This is also becoming more and more true of India and Egypt.
The British bourgeoisie is making frantic endeavours to retain its economic and political control of the resources of the Empire and to develop the Empire as a wider basis of their power and as a field for the investment of their capital as the industrial supremacy of the home country becomes threatened. Both in the political and economic sphere, no effort is being spared to consolidate the Empire into one homogeneous whole. All these attempts are bound to be shattered upon the growing independence of the colonial bourgeoisie and the growing awakening and unrest of the colonial masses. In Egypt, India and South Africa, the, last twelve or eighteen months have been marked by intense industrial and national struggles all of which indicate the growing consciousness of these workers. Strikes against working conditions and wage rates are becoming common particularly in India. The growth of working class organisation both trade union and political, is the best definite manifestation of the growing interest of the colonial masses in their own working class struggle. Upon this awakening must be based the one hope of emancipation both for the workers of Britain and for the subject population of the Colonies.
In our struggle with British Imperialism therefore, apart from the immediate tasks of organising the workers for revolutionary struggle in Britain, it is of the utmost importance that our struggle should be linked up with that of the workers in these Colonies and Crown Dominions. The extent to which those nations held in subjection by Great Britain struggle for autonomy and separation, to that extent is the hegemony of Imperialism rendered more precarious. We have a duty to assist directly and indirectly in the struggles of the workers in the Colonies and Crown Dominions. The continued enslavement of the Colonial people makes our own freedom in this country absolutely impossible, hence it is necessary in the interests of our own struggle here that assistance should be rendered to the workers in the Colonies. Every act, of repression should be exposed, continuous agitation conducted to secure for the workers of these Colonies the same rights as have been won for the workers here and a propaganda must be carried on with a view to educating the masses in this country to oppose relentlessly the military oppression of these people.
This Congress, therefore, renews its pledges of solidarity with the struggling colonial workers and promises the fullest possible assistance in the development of their struggle for freedom. It appreciates it as an immediate duty to denounce and expose the treacherous conduct of the Labour government in this country. This Government has since its, accession to office not only allowed, but actually excused and condoned the shooting down and massacre of colonial workers. Thousands of workers are in gaol in Egypt and India, and the Labour Government does nothing. Not only that the Labour Government actually initiates the persecution of the pioneers of Communism in India and Egypt, in order to make the Communist Party in India and Egypt illegal. The Congress sends its fraternal greetings to those workers in gaol, and struggling to set up a working class movement in the colonies, and pledges itself to render every possible assistance in their work.