PARTNERS IN AGGRESSION

The following article was written by A. Manchanda (Manu) for the April-May 1965 issue of the West Indian Gazette. This proved to be the last issue of the paper as a result of Manu’s illness, lack of resources and the refusal of previous outlets to distribute the paper. After the appearance of the editorial, Manu was immediately suspended from the Communist Party, a culmination of years of struggle within it over issues of  racism, ‘the national question’, colonialism and neo-colonialism. Manu and Claudia Jones (the late founder and editor of the paper) had both been told by party ‘comrades’ that  they did not want ‘colonial comrades’ in leadership roles. Claudia Jones had died in December, 1964, as the schism in the world communist movement between the Soviet Union and China was about to crack wide open. Claudia had visited China a couple of months before she died and Manu was in China at the time of  her death. This article reflects the global issues of the day as well as the internal differences within the Communist Party of ‘Great Britain.’ 

Editorial

PARTNERS IN AGGRESSION

As the storm of national liberation movements sweep the world against imperialism and neo-colonialism, the imperialists, headed by U.S. imperialism, find it more and more difficult to openly carry on their wars of aggression and interference in other countries. To deceive the world people the imperialists have been trying their best to cover their wanton aggressions under the fraudulent excuse of “keeping the peace.”

Thus the Truman Administration used “United Nations Forces” for its aggression in Korea, but claimed that the “use of force” in Korea by the United Nations had “greatly strengthened the cause of peace.”

In its aggression against Congo (L) the Kennedy Administration asserted that what was at stake “is the issue of peace not only for the Congo but for the world.” The Johnson Administration alleged that its massacre of the people of Panama was for the preservation of “peace and security.” Its barbaric aggression in South Vietnam and expansion of its war in Indo-China are claimed to be steps for the “realisation of peace in South-East Asia.” In its latest aggression against the Dominican Republic, U.S. imperialism has used the pretext of “protecting American nationals” and “to preserve law and order” to brutally massacre the heroic Dominican people, but it is dragooning Latin American Governments into legalising its aggression and interference under the cloak of “collective action” for “law and order.”

United States imperialism, in particular, which has carried on aggression and interference in all parts of the world, is facing strong opposition to its policy. It is for this reason that the United States has been trying, for a long time, to establish a permanent U.N. force and use it as its tool for aggression. The late President Kennedy, in summing up U.S. aggression against the Congo (L) said “the U.S. goal could best be served through the United Nations.” U.S. Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, was even more to the point when he said, “The flag of the United Nations is the emblem of a world community. It can be flown in places where the flag of another sovereign nation would be considered an affront.”

By manipulation and control, the United States has used the U.N. as its tool of aggression and subversion in violation of the Charter, which is being used more and more as a weapon of neo-colonialism.

In the 19th U.N. General Assembly session, under the direction of the United States, a resolution was adopted without a vote to set up a “special committee for peace-keeping operations.”

As explained by U.S. Vice-President Humphrey, “In its most operational form, peace-keeping in action is armed patrol of soldiers of peace in blue berets” to intervene in “explosive local disputes.”

The chief Soviet delegate, N.T. Fedorenko, declared in New York on March 26, 1965, that the Soviet Union was ready to enter into partnership with the United States for the establishment of “United Nations armed forces”. He added that the Soviet Union was willing to share the expenditure for this international gendamarie.

Echoing the speech at the U.N. General Assembly in September, 1958, of Mr. Dulles, in which he had suggested that countries other than the permanent members of the Security Coucil, could most profitably provide personnel for a U.N. Peace Force, Mr. Fedorenko repeated this proposal and added that the U.N. Force be an instrument in the hands of the permanent members of the Security Council.

Of course the troops from Africa, Asia and Europe will be trained and financed mainly by the USA and Soviet Union, to do the dirty job of supporession. In a memorandum, the ex-premier of Soviet Union Krushchov had submitted the proposal in July 1964 for a “UN Force” that could be sent to any “troubled areas” in the world.

It is natural that the oppressed peoples in Africa, Asia and Latin America should rise in revolt against the imperialist aggression and for the overthrow of colonial rule and that the newly independent countries should resist the subversion and interference in their countries. The U.S. imperialists call them “explosive local disputes” and according to the Soviet Union they are in “troubled areas”. Hence both these big powers are engaging in a partnership to suppress national liberation movements, under the flag of the U.N.

In fact, Mr Fedorenko in his speech associated Vietnam with the “peacekeeping” operation of the U.N. saying that the U.N. Committee for Peacekeeping operations began its work “in a characteristic atmosphere created by the U.S. actions in southeast Asia that are extremely dangerous to the cause of peace.”

In fact, the United States has been trying its best to internationalise and legalise its aggression in Vietnam by associating it with the U.N. If the Soviet Government tries to pull the chestnuts out of the fire for U.S. imperialism, it will only burn its fingers.

The Soviet delegate had made a façade of protesting regarding the payments of the cost of U.N. operations in the Congo, for which it had voted in the United Nations. This U.N. operation had not only helped the United States to murder the great leader of Congo, Patrice Lumuba, but has made it possible for this country to become a colony of the United States.

The government of the Soviet Union today has gone a step forward not only by providing a fig leaf to naked U.S. aggression, but has, in fact, offered to join in a partnership in aggression with U.S. imperialism to suppress the national liberation movements, all in the name of “keeping the peace.”

The peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America have had a great admiration for the Soviet Union and its great scientific achievements and space explorations, but they shall resist all attempts at domination carried on by the U.S. imperialism whether or not in joint partnership with the Soviet Union.

The plans of U.S. imperialism for world domination, with all its nuclear weapons and its “economic aid” neo-colonial plots and despite its dual tactics of war blackmail and peace frauds are doomed to destruction. We warn the Soviet Government that by collaborating with the worst enemy of all peoples and world peace, it will only share its fate.

THE SHAME OF MOSCOW

The people of Asia, Africa, Latin America and all those who are resolutely opposing U.S. imperialist aggression against Vietnam, were shocked to say the least at the action of the Soviet authorities to suppress in brutal violence, the angry demonstration of Asian, African and Latin American students in front of the United States Embassy in Moscow.

On March 4, students in their righteous indignation marched to the U.S. Embassy to protest against the barbaric aggression of U.S. imperialism against Vietnam. In the glorious traditions of the anti-imperialist peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America, they shouted slogans and threw stones at the Embassy breaking its windows. The authorities of the Soviet Union had thrown in 700 soldiers, police and mounted guards and quite a few snow ploughs and fire engines around the U.S. Embassy to prevent the demonstrators from getting near it. When the students pressed on, the soldiers and police attacked them ruthlessly, injuring 130 students from Vietnam, Indonesia, Cuba and other countries, quite a few of them were admitted to hospitals.

To add insult to injury, the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs tendered an apology to the U.S. Ambassador and rushed workers to clean the walls of the Embassy.

It is a matter of shame that the present leaders of this great land of Lenin – who stood for consistent support for the oppressed people and uncompromising opposition to the imperialists – should so obsequiously express solicitude to the butcher of the Negro, Congolese and Vietnamese people, while perpetrate brutalities on the glorious anti-imperialist student demonstrators.

Have the Soviet leaders learnt these barbaric methods of suppression of popular demonstrators from their “friends” the Johnson administration, who have a special expertise in suppression of the Negro people of America?

West Indian Gazette April-May, 1954
West Indian Gazette April-May, 1954
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Claudia Jones letter to Daily Worker, 1963

For the attention of the Race Relations Committee, SERTUC regarding CLAUDIA JONES COMMEMORATION, Friday, 6th March.

Dear Colleagues,

I’m writing to congratulate you on your initiative in celebrating the life of Claudia Jones.

The following information and letter from Claudia Jones to the Editor of the Daily Worker, written in 1963, about the Bristol Omnibus Company’s racist employment practices, will hopefully add to the pool of information you have collected for the commemoration.

By an accident of history I came into possession of the papers of Claudia Jones. My partner, Abhimanyu (Manu) Manchanda and Claudia had a personal and political relationship. When he died, he left a room full of documents from which Claudia’s papers had to be identified and extracted. This work took me several years to complete. Most of Claudia’s papers, including her passport, were deposited at the Schomburg Library in New York and now form a collection entitled “The Claudia Jones Memorial Collection”.

Carole Boyce Davies was key to the efficient transfer of the material, including making a catalogue of the documents. She produced two outstanding volumes as a result of her work on the papers: Left of Karl Marx published by Duke University Press, 2008, and Claudia Jones: Beyond Containment published by Ayebia in the UK in 2007. The latter is a comprehensive collection of Claudia’s own writings, edited by Carole.
Photographs and writings pertaining to the West Indian Gazette were entrusted to Claudia’s WIG colleague and friend, Donald Hinds, for safe keeping and archiving.

“Carole Boyce Davies’s brilliant book, Left of Karl Marx, did so much more than recover the left and legacy of Claudia Jones. She threw down the gauntlet, forcing us to rethink many of the fundamental assumptions and conceits of Marxism and to come to terms with Claudia Jones’s radical critiques of racism, women’s oppression and colonial rule. But Davies isn’t done. In this stunning collection of Jones’s essays, speeches, autobiological reflections and poems, Davies not only underscores why Jones stands among the world’s most important radical theorists and organizers of the 20th century, but she reveals the Trinidadian-born, transnational intellectual as artist and visionary.” – Robin D.G. Kelly, Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, University of Southern California and author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination

Before passing on the papers I transcribed some handwritten letters. A small amount of personal correspondence between Claudia and Manu remains in my hands although copies of them are included in the Schomburg Collection and the originals will end up there soon enough.

Claudia’s letter, copied below, to the editor of the Daily Worker (forerunner of the Morning Star) clearly demonstrates the difficulties she had to overcome within the Communist Party as a woman and as a Black woman. Manu, who was expelled from the CPGB for an article he wrote in the West Indian Gazette, criticizing the Soviet Union, told me they were both informed by senior party officials that the party did not want “Commonwealth” comrades in the leadership.

FROM CLAUDIA JONES TO EDITOR, DAILY WORKER:

May 7,
(year not added, but presumed written in 1963)

Editor,
Daily Worker,
75 Farringdon Road,
London EC1

Dear George Matthews,

I thought it best to follow up our telephone discussion of this morning on the matter I raised with you re: the current news story entitled “Economic Ban-Not Colour-Sir Learie” in this morning’s issue of the Daily Worker.
I hope you’ll find it possible to print my letter in your columns, except of course, the first and last paragraphs.
[Letter for publication follows]
The news article captioned “Economic Ban-Not Colour-Sir Learie” appearing in the May 7 issue of the Daily Worker was most unfortunate. Coming as it did in the midst of a widespread protest by West Indians in Bristol and their Labour-Progressive and student allies, following the refusal of the Bristol Omnibus company to hire an 18 year-old West Indian, Guy Bailey, on the clear-cut ground that the company refused to hire ‘coloured’ workers, it can only have the effect of mitigating the struggle and confusing the issue. If this is not a clear-cut case of colour-bar, I don’t know what is.
Yet the Daily Worker story was captioned “Economic Ban-Not Colour says Sir Learie.”
The essence of Sir Learie’s remarks as quoted by you gave the impression that the issue of colour bar no longer exists, and in fact was not the issue at all in this case.
The lead paragraph of the story ran:
“The non-employment of West Indians on the Bristol buses is not a colour-bar issue at all, Sir Learie Constantine, High Commissioner for Trinidad and Tobago, said in Bristol last night.”
But actually, in the context of your story, Sir Learie after being quoted as denying the existence of a colour-bar, went on to say: “It is something more fundamental. It is due to fear generated by the small wage paid to the people employed by the bus company, who augment it with overtime. The service is certainly not properly staffed, and everybody is afraid that if it is properly staffed overtime will be lost.”
If the burden of Sir Learie’s remarks on Bristol television was to emphasise that underlying colour bar practices and actions, there is an economic basis, that’s one thing, and is a useful point. Colour bar is profitable to capitalism, to the employers and serves as a divisive tactic to the unity of the workers.
But it is quite another thing to counterpose the existence of colour-bar to the economic fears of the workers, whether on buses or elsewhere in this country. The economic fears of all workers is what is always played on when the issue of colour-bar comes to the fore. The white worker is encouraged in his fears to fight not the bosses, but the coloured man who “threatens” his job. The coloured worker is told to “understand” that the economic recession means he can’t take away other men’s jobs etcetc. Hence, to counterpose the economic issue (or economic fears) to the fight against the colour-bar or to deny its existence as a factor, accelerates the disunity of the workers which only benefits the employers, the racialists and the Tories whose policies brought about the situation in the first place. To stress one without the other, in an instance where there is clear evidence of both factors, is to renege on our responsibility of exposing colour-bar practices and manifestations.
What other implication can be drawn when one reads in the text of the same story “it was easy to talk about a ‘colour-bar’ to hide the real issue which was an economic one”??? This, surely, was not Sir Learie’s quotation.
In the story’s context this should have been made clear, otherwise, it appears what we have is a counterposing of the economic issue to the fight against the colour-bar, which, of course, could provide a handy excuse to those who do not wish to fight it, or who use the real question of the workers’ economic fears as an excuse to justify their actions. But this would only result in making West Indians or other coloured workers additional “scapegoats” to be last hired, first fired in an economic recession, or as in this case not to be hired at all. ) How often have we heard similar excuses in the field of housing, from prejudiced landlords: We would of course take West Indians in our homes, but our neighbours would object, or from prejudiced employers, “The workers object to the hiring of coloured workers,” hence the maintenance of a colour bar in its employment policy, etc.
We should be mindful of the fact that often when colour-bar issues exist, the retort is that it is economic. But such an approach could well mean the delay, postponement (or failure to expose) the fight against the colour-bar, when clearly, in the context of British economic life (and political considerations of Commonwealth coloured workers among the British working class today) the question of discrimination of coloured workers must be squarely faced and fought as inimical to the unity of the workers.
The implications of the phrase “it is easy to talk about ‘colour bar’ ”
is to dangerously minimise this issue. Assuredly, it is far from “easy” to talk about colour bar – far more experience this indignity, and most coloured workers would prefer forthright struggle for its elimination rather than “talk” about it.
It is this element that was witnessed in Bristol when the community (or a section of it) took action to end it, which deserves the wholehearted support of all progressives.
Completely eliminated from the story is the earlier statement of discrimination in the refusal of the company to hire an 18 year-old Jamaican who applied for a job. Instead, your article quoted Mr. Ian Patey, general manager of the Bristol company, as saying, “There are no vacancies for bus crew anyway. We have a waiting list for jobs, so that when these are available, there are local men to fill them.”
“Local,” meaning native? Is this not another manifestation of a colour bar that they will hire no outsiders only those native to Bristol? And if this was the situation in the first place, how explain the earlier statement of the company that they will not hire coloured workers?
The statement of the Bristol Communist municipal candidates condemning the bus colour-bar and other political forces, the action of Bristol University students in their swift support and the original protest of West Indians themselves, should be highly commended. It is our job to expose these incidents, to fight and support all efforts that will bring to the fore instances of colour-bar not recognised yet by many British workers and even progressives, to speed its elimination from British life.
[End portion of letter submitted for publication].

All in all, I’m afraid I must agree with you as you indicated on the telephone, that I read this in a different context than you say did the Daily Worker staff. This does not as you imputed, however, mean that I expect you to fight “colour bar only”. I quite naturally expect that The Daily Worker as a communist journal would be foremost in fighting colour bar and I would hope that it will increasingly recognize the subtleties in the struggle against it must be fought lest we unwittingly fall into an opportunist position. It behooves us to be alert to these trends, even if the views obscuring them are mouthed by certain West Indian leaders. (You should also know that I am awaiting results from my call to the Trinidad Office and it is not yet clear whether he was quoted out of context or not. I will keep you posted.)

With all good wishes,
Yours fraternally,
Claudia Jones

In sollidarity,
Diane Langford