(June 2, 1931)
This extract from a political resolution of the Executive Committee of the League Against Imperialism held in Berlin dated June 2nd 1931 which deals with India is of considerable interest. First, it touches upon the expulsion of Nehru from the League Against Imperialism on the grounds of his accepting Dominion Status and failing to stand by the demand for the full independence of India. This question was generally passed over in silence by those who, in the spirit of the 20th Congress of the CPSU, wished to exaggerate the elements of progressive thought in the politics of Nehru. A prime example of this evaluation internationally has been the Soviet theoretician R. Ulyanovsky.1 The GDR historian Horst Kruger did refer to the reasons for the expulsion of Nehru from the League Against Imperialism: because of the Gandhi-Irwin Pact of 5th April 1931 by which the Indian National Conference promised participation in the Second Round Table Conference and breaking off the civil disobedience campaign.2 Kruger did not fail to describe the course of the League against Imperialism as being ‘sectarian’.3
Second, the resolution evaluates the views of Subhas Chandra Bose in not fundamentally dissimilar terms to those of Nehru. The contrast between this characterisation and the contemporary sympathetic understanding of the CPI and the CPI M to Subhas Chandra Bose, despite his collaboration with Hitler and Tojo, is pronounced.
Third, this resolution is of particular interest as it came out just over two months after the martyrdom of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru. The League Against Imperialism honoured ‘the memory of the heroic Indian revolutionaries, Bhagat Singh and his comrades who have been murdered by British imperialism whilst fighting for the independence of India’ and emphasised that this struggle could not be victorious through individual acts of heroism but only through the ‘conscious mass action of the workers and peasants, and the revolutionary youth. ’ High praise for the martyrs was combined with a political evaluation of the need for mass action.
1. ‘Jawaharlal Nehru’, in Rostislav Ulanovsky, ‘National Liberation, Essays on Theory and Practice’, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1978, p. 253.
2. Horst Kruger, ‘Jawaharlal Nehru and the League Against Imperialism’, NMML, New Delhi, 1975, pp. 25-27.
3. Loc.cit. p. 24.
The Nationalist Bourgeoisie Bargains with Imperialism and Betrays the Cause
Apart from the rich landowners, usurers, Princes, Rajahs and compradores, imperialism is attempting with increasing success to win the national bourgeoisie by means of small concessions which do not alter the fundamental character of the imperialist colonial regime, as an ally in the struggle against the steadily growing national revolutionary movement for freedom. The national reformists in the various countries have proved by their actions that they do not represent national interests and that they do not conduct any revolutionary struggle against imperialist oppression. Experience has shown that they very often place themselves at the head of the revolutionary struggle with no other intention than that of throttling it. In return for their treachery to nationalist interests they receive small concessions from the imperialists which in no way affect the essence of the colonial system. The League against Imperialism warns its supporters against the illusions spread by these national reformists concerning the possibility of winning national independence without a revolutionary struggle, merely by utilising the conflicts between the various imperialist groups and depending on one of these groups, whereby the national- revolutionary movement is placed in the service of this imperialist group. Bloody terror against the national-revolutionary movement, small concessions, promises, concessions to the renegades who betray the anti-imperialist struggle, this is the character of imperialist policy at the present moment. Negotiations are being conducted with the Indian National Congress, with the Kuomintang in China, with the Arabian Executive in Palestine, with the Kut-el-Watan in Syria, with the Wafd in Egypt, with the Sarekat Islam in Indonesia, etc. The League against Imperialism warns the toiling masses against these manoeuvres. The League against Imperialism also appeals for the exposure of the national-reformists who take part in this treacherous bargaining.
The Indian National Congress and its “Left-Wing” Leaders The intensification of the anti-imperialist struggle has clearly revealed the counter-revolutionary role of the leaders of the national reformist parties. The attitude of the Indian National Congress offers us a particularly valuable lesson. In return for unimportant concessions the Indian National Congress has openly abandoned the fight for the national independence of India. The Executive Committee of the Congress has ratified the treacherous agreement between the British Viceroy and Gandhi, and has thus become an open agent of British imperialism and of the rich Indian landowners and capitalists, and a traitor to the cause of Indian independence to which it has rendered so much solemn lip-service.
The so-called left-wingers, Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhas Bose, have played a miserable role. Nehru, who solemnly pledged himself as a member of the Executive Committee of the League against Imperialism at the Brussels Congress to conduct an unswerving revolutionary struggle against imperialism, has turned out to be a lieutenant of Gandhi whose treacherous policy was helped to success by the left-wing radical phrases of Nehru. Both Nehru and Bose have attempted and are still attempting perfidiously to deceive the revolutionary youth and the working masses. The Executive Committee of the League against Imperialism declares that Subhas Bose, M. N. Roy, Khandalkar and others have also chosen the path of treachery and abandoned the struggle for Indian freedom.
The session of the Executive Committee of the League against Imperialism declares that Nehru has become a traitor to the cause of Indian independence and an agent of British imperialism. The Executive Committee denounces his treachery before the broad masses of the workers and peasants of India and expels him from the ranks of the League against Imperialism. At the same time the Executive Committee warns the Indian national-revolutionaries to be on their guard against the deceitful and confusing manoeuvres which will undoubtedly be carried out by Nehru, Bose, Roy and the other left-wing nationalists who have now become agents of British imperialism.
The session of the Executive Committee of the League against Imperialism appeals to the masses who followed the Indian National Congress to break with their treacherous leaders, to destroy the treacherous pact with British imperialism made by these leaders, and to mobilise all forces for the organisation of the struggle for the complete independence of India from the yoke of imperialism.
In reply to the treacherous deception of the masses of the people by Gandhi and MacDonald with “Dominion Status”, the League against Imperialism appeals for a revolutionary struggle for complete independence.
The Executive Committee appeals to all revolutionary fighters for the independence of India to link themselves up directly with the League against Imperialism.
The session of the Executive Committee of the League against Imperialism honours the memory of the heroic Indian revolutionaries, Bhagat Singh and his comrades who have been murdered by British imperialism whilst fighting for the independence of India. The followers of these heroic martyrs must line up in the revolutionary front for the overthrow of imperialism and the independence of India. However, this struggle cannot be won by the heroic acts of individual heroes, but only by the conscious mass action of the workers and peasants, and the revolutionary youth.
International Secretariat of the League Against Imperialism, Berlin, June, 1931.
Full text at: http://www.revolutionarydemocracy.org/archive/league.htm