Sunday, April 23, 2023

Why Bother About the Burma Road ? (1944)

From the March 1944 issue of the Socialist Standard

There has been quite a bit in the papers, one way and another, about getting supplies through to the Chinese. At one time it was simply a question of whether the British Government should open or close the Burma Road, but when the Japanese solved this problem by taking over the route themselves, plans were laid for the rapid building of a great new road from North India to “Free” China. We heard a great deal about the urgency and importance of the task of sending China the materials needed for the fight of the sorely beleagured Chinese troops in their effort to restore their country to freedom from the oppressing occupation of the War Lords of the Rising Sun. The Japanese had raped and pillaged, looted and burnt in the Chinese territory they occupied. The cruellest of soldiers, the most sadistic of foes, they had swept right into the very heart of China over a period of twelve years. Never had a people suffered so long and so much in modern times under the iron heel of the conqueror.

In view of what we have been told, therefore, it is surprising to read the following report in the Manchester Guardian Weekly (December 17th, 1943): —
“Trade between Japanese occupied and Free China has recently taken on larger proportions on account of the Chinese Government’s endeavour to attract useful goods from enemy territory and the accelerated fall or the Japanese puppet currencies in terms of Chinese national dollars.

“Value of the known imports from occupied areas to Free China during the last six months, according to a Government spokesman, was £1,250,000 sterling on Government account, and £25,000,000 through commercial channels.”
So why bother about building new roads or reopening old ones? It seems that British supplies might be shipped to Chunking via Tokio so long as the label was correctly addressed. Nobody would be a bit less happy surely—unless it were the Chinese soldiers if it turned out that British raw materials did not furnish such good weapons to kill the Japs with as Japanese produced supplies.
N. S.

Provincial Organisers’ Fund (1944)

Party News from the March 1944 issue of the Socialist Standard

In the September issue of the Socialist Standard we outlined our plans for the future development of propaganda and organisation in the Provinces. In asking our readers to contribute to a special fund for this important work, we said : —
“It remains for those who wish to see our movement progress to help us with contributions towards this end. If you want a life different from the slavery of the factory, the office and the farm, here is the opportunity to help forward the change. It is a change that will bring into existence a social system in which all men and women, on a footing of social equality, will be able to control their own destinies and make their existence on earth something worth living for.”
In many parts of the country there are small groups of workers who desire this change and are prepared to work for it. but they lack experienced speakers and organisers, without which their task is made much more difficult. At the present time we lack the funds to help them over this difficulty, and that is where we look to you to play your part. The urgency of the task before us will not be questioned by those who wish to see our movement progress, and we make no apology for asking you to make even greater efforts to give us the financial support we need.

Up to mid-December the amount received for the fund was £173. This is quite a good start, but before we can go ahead with our, plans we shall need several times that amount. It’s up to you to see that our work is not handicapped by lack of funds. Send along that donation NOW. Don’t put it off until to-morrow, don’t leave it to the other sympathisers, and remember, no amount is too big ! !

Donations should be sent to J. Butler, 298, Halley Road, Manor Park, London, E.12, and it must be stated clearly that they are intended for the Provincial Organiser’s Fund. P.O.s, cheques, etc., must be crossed and made payable to the S.P.G.B.