Source: The Labour Monthly, Vol. 10, April 1928, No. 4, pp. 251-253, (1,064 words)
Transcriptionp: Ted Crawford
HTML Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2009). 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 All-India Trade Union Congress held its eighth annual session at Cawnpore in the last week of November, 1927. Out of fifty-seven affiliated trade unions, with a total membership of 125,000, only twenty-seven were represented at the Congress by about 100 delegates.
In his presidential speech, Mr. Chaman Lal advocated the collection of a large central fund of ten lacs (£75,000) for the development of trade union organisation. On the Simon Commission, he called for the withdrawal of the British Labour members and declared that it was necessary to warn the British Labour Party that “their party as a whole had betrayed the confidence we had placed in it.”
The report for the year shows the affiliation of two new unions. Many more had been formed during the year, but by a resolution recently adopted no trade union can affiliate until it has been in existence for more than a year. By Government orders, two of the postmen’s unions had withdrawn from the Congress and others were likely to follow. Even the Cordite Factory Union in Madras Presidency had been told by the Government that it should withdraw from the Congress if it hopes to get recognition, although its workers are not under Government rules. Of the 57 affiliated unions, 13 were railway unions, 11 textile, 10 general labour, 7 transport (other than rail), and 4 seamen’s unions.
No meeting of the Executive Council of the T.U.C. had been held during the year, nor was any strike authorised by it but, as the report says, “there occurred some strikes and lock-outs in which the officials of the Congress had to interest themselves.” By issue of circulars to the Executive Council members it had been decided to send delegates to the session of the I.F.T.U. at Paris in August; 1927.
The proceedings of the Congress showed the presence of an active Left Wing group, mainly representatives of the Workers’ and Peasants’ party, who succeeded in getting discussed the Simon Commission, the threat of war to the U.S.S.R., the League against Imperialism and Colonial Oppression, &c. The influence of the delegates from the British Trades Union Congress, Messrs. Purcell and Hallsworth, was actively exerted on the side of the Right Wing and they obtained the support even of Mr. Chaman Lal. The Purcell Chaman Lal group, together with Mr. Joshi, the General Secretary, opposed the resolutions on the League against Imperialism, on war danger and on the Pan-Pacific Conference, but they failed to secure a vote in support of the I.F.T.U., the Congress re-affirming its decision to press for unity between the I.F.T.U. and R.I.L.U.
Besides resolutions dealing with general labour demands, housing, unemployment, factory inspection and the special grievances of textile workers, railway workers, miners, seamen, &c., the following resolutions were also passed:—
(a) This Congress realising that inasmuch as the appointment of the Statutory Commission on Reforms violates the principle of self-determination for India, and inasmuch as the Commission as at present constituted is, in its opinion, but an attempt to find ways and means to perpetuate the imperialistic domination of Great Britain over India, declares that the Statutory Commission should be boycotted and requests the Parliamentary Labour Party to withdraw its two Labour representatives from the Commission:
(b) Further, the Congress declares that meanwhile a sub-committee should draw up a Labour Constitution for the future Government of India which should be presented to the Executive Council and to the working classes in the country and that Mr. P. Spratt should be the convener.
This Congress, realising the urgency of organising a mass movement of the workers and peasants of India in order to extricate them from their present condition of abject poverty, hereby resolves to appoint a Council of Action consisting of representatives from each province.
The Council of Action will from its appointment undertake the work of:—
(1) Organisation of peasants and workers in co-operation with the existing unions.
(2) Propaganda for the assertion of the rights of workers and peasants.
(3) The setting up of a publicity Bureau and a Central Press.
(4) The Collection of funds for the above-mentioned objects.
(5) Mr. Chaman Lal shall act as President and Mr. S.H. Jhabwala as Secretary of the Council of Action.
(6) The Council will be subject to control by the Executive Council and must present the Executive Council with a programme of the work to be done, and from time to time a monthly report of its activities.
This Congress deplores the failure of the Anglo-Russian Unity Committee and urges that further efforts be made to bring about Unity between the I.F.T.U. and R.I.L.U.
This Congress re-affirms that it looks upon Imperialism as a form of capitalist class Government intended to facilitate and perpetuate the exploitation and slavery of all workers, both white and coloured, in the interests of the capitalist class, and declares that the only safeguard against exploitation lies in the creation by the working class of a corresponding measure of class unity, solidarity and consciousness.
This Congress therefore expresses its willingness and desire to bring about the greatest possible solidarity and co-ordinated activity on the part of the Trade Unions throughout the world and oppose Imperialism.
This Congress congratulates the U.S.S.R. on having attained the tenth anniversary of the first workers’ Republic in spite of Imperialist Intervention to break it.
This Congress reaffirms its whole-hearted approval of the magnificent advance made by the people of China towards the attainment of national freedom and in pursuit of the principle of self-determination. The Congress warmly appreciates the valuable work that has been done by the Trade Unions and the Peasants’ organisations which, under the leadership of Kuomintang, have frustrated the aggressive designs of the united Imperialistic Powers. The Congress, while pledging its full support to the movement of liberation in China, expresses its firm conviction that the cause of Indian Nationalism and the struggle of the working classes against exploitation should profit from the example of solidarity of the Nationalist Movement and the workers, and the workers’ and peasants’ organisations as set by China.
This Congress vehemently protests against the action of the Indian Government in furthering the aims of Imperialism by sending Indian troops to China, and calls upon the Government of India to recall all such troops.