1920s >> 1924 >> no-240-august-1924

Editorial: Labour Rules The Empire With Bombs and Bullets

The repeated use of bombs in Mespot by the Air Force since the Labour, Government came into office is another item in their black and brutal record.. It shows how willing they are to do the dirty work for the capitalists in maintaining their ownership and control. Under the Conservative Government bombs were frequently used to aid in compelling payment of taxes, but, of course, that was “the dirty method of the Capitalists.” How similar the rule of the Labour Party is was admitted by Mr. Leach, the Labour Minister, in the House of Commons in answer to a Tory question. He said :—

  We communicated with our military and air headquarters in Iraq in regard to the whole situation in bombing operations, and 1 cannot honestly say that we have made any change in the policy of the late Government.—(Parliamentary Debates, June 30, column 925.)

This “pacifist” minister defends bombing as a humane method and tells the Daily Herald (July 15) that it is “a great saving to the taxpayer,” as military forces cost more! In the language of an Empire Builder, he talks of the necessity to stop the tribesmen fighting, so that the land of oil annexed to “our Empire” shall be a sweet land of peace and profit. Therefore, the Labour Government is suppressing all attempts at rebellion by the kindly and Christian use of bombs.

This rule of force in the interests of Capital is shown also by the shooting down of Indians under this Labour Government.

In April the brutal exploitation in the cotton mills of Cawnpore drove the workers to strike and on the grounds of “law and order” the police were ordered to fire on the strikers. Three strikers were killed and 34 injured.

In .March the cotton slaves at Bombay were on strike and the firing on the strikers is thus described by the Daily Herald (April 7-24) :—

It is stated in responsible Indian circles that the conduct of the strikers had been exemplary, that no magistrate was present, and no adequate warning given when the firing began and that the police did not as usual fire in the air first, but directly at the crowd, and that schoolboys taking no part whatever in the demonstration were killed.

Within the period of six weeks the third case of shooting took place at Jaito upon a crowd of Sikhs engaged in their religious ceremonies and since then no Nationalist or Indian journalist has been allowed to enter the locality, according to the Herald (April 7).

This brutal rule under a Labour Government takes place in a country where Ramsay MacDonald tells us (The Awakening of India) “only the faintest glimmer of trade unionism is streaking his (the Indian’s) horizon with light.” On the Prime Minister’s own showing, therefore, the working class are very weak in union organisation in India and the bloody efforts to kill it altogether under “Labour” Rule is clear evidence of the Labour Pity’s work for Capitalism.

The shooting and bombing of “natives of the Empire” is strictly in accord with the policy of Imperialism. The Labour Party’s work to maintain Capitalist rule is on a level with the Liberal and Conservative policy of the past. Every worker, therefore, can take note of the Capitalist nature of the so-called Labour Government, as clearly shown by their deeds.

If Mespot and India are not enough evidence of Empire under “Labour,” the Colonial Secretary, Mr. Thomas, supplies a further example. When the “hero” responsible for the massacre of strikers on the Rand, Mr. Smuts, was defeated, Thomas eulogised him to the skies. Said our Labour Colonial Secretary: “There is no man more entitled to our gratitude and appreciation than General Smuts” (Daily Herald, June 20). The day previous the Herald had to confess that Smuts was responsible for the slaughter of 300 natives by machine gun fire in 1921, the bloody suppression of the Rand Strike in 1922 and the Bondelswarts massacre in 1923.

Such is the hero worshipped by Labour’s choice! The Labour Party, pacifist and militarist, Fabian and I.L.P. combined, are once again shown to be the enemies of the working class. And “Communist” place seekers and vote catchers are supporting the Labour Party! Even after the slaughter referred to above has been made public we find Walton Newbold, of the Communist Party, declaring, “The more I have seen of the Labour Party, the more I have liked it.” (Forward, June 14, 1924).

The Socialist Party is not like the Communists “out to steal the Leadership of the Labour Party.” We are out for Socialism, and therefore stand for the capture of political power by a Socialist working class. Then, and only then, will the butchery by Capital and its Labour agents be impossible.