Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

The party had not split up at the time into two or

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The party had not split up at the time into two or more rival and bitterly hostile groups, and presented, to all outward seeming, a united front. The European representatives of the Kuomintang, therefore, wel comed the idea of the Congress of Oppressed Nationalities; perhaps they even originated the idea jointly with some other people. Some communists and near-communists were also at the back of the proposal right from the beginning, but, as a whole, the communist element kept in the background. Active support and help also came from Latin America, which was then chafing at the economic imperialism of the United States. Mexico, with a radical President and policy, was eager to take the lead in a Latin-American bloc against the United States; 124
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and Mexico, therefore, took great interest in the Brussels Congress. Officially the Government could not take part, but it sent one of its leading diplomats to be present as a benevolent observer. There were also present at Brussels representatives from the national organizations of Java, Indo-China, Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Arabs from North Africa, and African Negroes. Then there were many left-wing labor organizations represented; and several well-known men who had played a leading part in European labor struggles for a generation, were present. Communists were there also, and they took an important part in the proceedings; they came not as communists but as repre sentatives of trade-unions or similar organizations. George Lansbury was elected president, and he delivered an elo quent address. That in itself was proof that the Congress was not so rabid after all, nor was it merely hitched on to the star of communism. But there is no doubt that the gathering was friendly toward the com munists, and, even though agreement might be lacking on some mat ters, there appeared to be several common grounds for action. Mr. Lansbury agreed to be president also of the permanent organiza tion that was formed the League against Imperialism. But he re pented of his rash behavior soon, or perhaps his colleagues of the Brit ish Labour party did not approve of it. The Labour party was "His Majesty's Opposition" then, soon to blossom out as "His Majesty's Government," and future Cabinet Ministers cannot dabble in risky and revolutionary politics. Mr. Lansbury resigned from the presidency on the ground of being too busy for it; he even resigned from the membership of the League. I was hurt by this sudden change in a person whose speech I had admired only two or three months earlier. The League against Imperialism had, however, quite a number of distinguished persons as its patrons. Einstein was one of them, and Madame Sun Yat-sen, and I think, Remain Holland. Many months later Einstein resigned, as he disagreed with the pro-Arab policy of the League in the Arab-Jewish quarrels in Palestine.
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  • Fall '16
  • Alan Kolata

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