110. Swaraj
110. Swaraj

“Colonial India in the 1940s was a time bomb. Unrest had come in peaks and troughs since the 1910s, with a series of mutinies and an abortive rebellion in 1925 being ruthlessly suppressed by the British colonial authorities. 1937 saw the renewal of the advisory Indian Assembly, which had been dissolved during the violence of the 20s. The traditional nationalist bloc, the Liberation Congress, had collapsed during the 1925 uprising as leadership split over whether to continue pushing a peaceful, gradual path towards independence, or to embrace violent struggle. This led to the emergence of a more centrist force, the Union League, which advocated negotiating towards Dominion status, with independence a more distant goal. Meanwhile, the Communist Party of Hindustan had used its active role in the 1925 uprising to build a strong base among rural peasants in the south and educated radicals in the cities. It had also formed an alliance with the Bengali Krishak Praja Party (Farmer-Labour), giving the coalition a level of influence with Muslims and radical trade unions.

The Communist Party was a curious beast, as it drew both from the more mainstream Societism as well as orthodox Marxism to create a nationalist, communist ideology that absorbed the ruralism and vanguardism of Societism and added to it a veneration of the peasant and calls for the destruction of the “parasitical” landlord and princely classes. It rejected the gradualist approach that was popular with the revisionist European Societist parties, and at an international Societist conference in 1939, the French section led a movement to expel the Communist Party for its support of a violent proletariat revolution [1]. However, the anti-imperialist Chinese government, which was also eager to weaken British influence in Asia, quietly supported its efforts, hoping to use the party to produce a weak, divided, independent India that could be exploited.

However, the pro-European structure of the Indian Assembly [2] meant that just one Communist delegate was elected in 1937, party leader Prashant Desai, and he was barred from taking his seat. The Union League was the largest party, followed by the rump Liberation Congress and the Muslim League. British rule continued, and the Trevelyan government increasingly treated the right-wing Union League as the face of the nationalist movement, preferring to treat with gradualists than a divided and more nationalist bloc like the Congress. However, many Indians increasingly felt like the nationalist movements did not represent them, as the Congress was hopelessly divided, and the Union League was dominated by wealthy landlords and industrialists. Meanwhile, the Communists had built up a strong grassroots network in the south and in Bengal, despite their lack of representation in government…

…election of Alfred Stafford’s Conservatives did not initially seem to bode well for Indian autonomy. His party had brutally suppressed the 1925 revolt during the Brodrick ministry and had often been aligned with the Liberals in favor of the empire. However, Stafford was a pragmatist and a moderate, having been selected as party leader after a string of old-fashioned conservatives had brought the party into a steady decline throughout the 1940s. However, in 1948, Stafford led the Tories to a slim plurality in a “three-c0rnered” parliament against the Liberals and Labour. Labour was a major advocate of more autonomy and democracy for India, and so Stafford secured his shaky minority by promising reforms to Indian colonial administration. In a white paper titled “Modernism and Conservative Policy”, he outlined a proposal to grant dominion status to India, placing it as the equal of Canada and Australia in the Empire. This would guarantee a parliament elected by universal suffrage and greatly weaken the powers of the Governor-General.

The 1948 Government of India Act sparked fierce debate upon its introduction into parliament, with the Liberals rallying against it, while the Conservatives split. The old guard, led by former party leader Reginald Hoare, refused to support it, putting passage in jeopardy. Fortunately, Labour’s commitment meant that Stafford could afford to lose as many as a third of his party and still succeed. As he expected, the Government of India Act was narrowly approved by Parliament in early 1949, despite defections from the government benches. India would receive dominion status, with the first elections scheduled for 1950. The Communist Party was allowed to participate fully in elections for the first time in its history. Desai led a vigorous campaign, railing against landowners and feudalism. His promises of total land reform and economic development drew broad appeal, especially in the south, although landlords and princes tried to suppress Communist organization and canvassing. The Communists ultimately placed a shocking second, taking 96 seats while the Union League formed a minority with support from the Liberation Congress, National Coalition Party, and independents.

Despite not making it into government, the Communist People’s Party had secured a foot in the door…”

-From SWARAJ: INDIA’S EMERGENCE by John David Spears, published 2018

“…signaled a more general change of colonial policy. Stafford envisioned a more equal British Empire, bound tightly together with trade agreements and cultural ties. In East Africa, which already had a strong white, British presence, Stafford saw a model outpost of benevolent white rule. The dominant white and Jewish communities had long held the growing Indian minority at arm’s length, leading to social tensions. As the rise of the Communists in India sent shockwaves through the colonies, Stafford leaned heavily on the East African government to extend civil rights to the Indians, especially as escalating violence in India led to increased Indian migration to East Africa. There were also cases of systemic discrimination against Maronite Christians, who had fled from Lebanon after the Egyptian conquest and ensuing persecution.

Facing pressure from London, the Pioneer Party government of Prime Minister Isaac Metz agreed to extend the full unqualified franchise to Indians and Arab Christians, as well as barring local governments from placing restrictions on their freedom of movement. Such advances in civil rights were not extended to the native African majority, though a handful of wealthy exceptions enjoyed local political power in the coastal cities. Nevertheless, it was a major advance for equality in East Africa, and, more importantly, served to draw the Indian and Arab minorities closer to the white minority. This left the native struggle largely isolated, though the Labour and, to a lesser extent, Progressive parties still supported universal equal rights. The Country and Pioneer parties that dominated the political landscape were still generally opposed to black suffrage, and in this they were supported by Prime Minister Stafford.

Throughout the 1950s, East Africa’s economy expanded rapidly, fueled by the much-delayed completion of the Cape-to-Cairo railroad in 1947 and the exploitation of newly discovered gold and metal ore deposits. This also led to a population boom among the white settlers, further entrenching their political and social power. The Indian population also exploded, thanks to waves of refugees fleeing the war. However, this wealth was not evenly spread, and the major cities of East Africa became starkly divided between the modern white sections and the ramshackle tenements where the natives were forced to live. Income inequality, already a serious issue in the country, worsened and the racial income gap is still a severe problem that government after government has struggled to remedy.”

-From UNDER AFRICAN SKIES: THE EUROPEAN PROJECT by Kenneth Strand, published 2009

“This political party declared in its founding manifesto that “all across the land the people cry out for justice.” General elections were delayed seven years in an attempt to prevent this party from winning a majority. This political party’s founding charter drew on a mix of orthodox Marxism, revisionist Societism, and ethnic nationalism. This political party and its militant wing were banned by British authorities until the 1951 general election. Ranjit Patel, Chakravati Nayar, and Prashant Desai founded, for ten points, this political party that fought the Unionists in the Indian Revolution.

ANSWER: Hindustani Communist Party (Do not accept Indian)

-NAQT High School-Prelims Packet, written by Cap Snyder, 2022

BURKE: So as some of you might know, way back in 1945 when I was about your age I was sent on a mission for the LDS church, a humanitarian mission [3]. I was sent to houses in Elyton, where many people were living in shacks and lean-tos. It was a really horrible situation, but as just a teenager in Kansas, it was all very distant. I had wanted to go to Prussia or Italy and see the sights, and I remember being very disappointed when I was told where my mission would be. But it was such a valuable, formative experience for me, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.

HOST: And what was it like when you actually got to Elyton?

BURKE: Well downtown Elyton was very nice, very elegant, lots of high-rises and old plantation-style architecture. Then we got to these checkpoints along a big fence and entered the black quarters. It was far worse than the photographs in the newspapers, and those were very disturbing images. There was garbage piled in the streets because the municipal government didn’t bother collecting it more than once every other month. Funnily enough, the first thing I remember noticing wasn’t that, it was that the streets had no drainage, so there were just festering ankle-deep mud-puddles in the streets. Lots of mosquitoes too in the summertime.

We were there to build houses, but it became very obvious very quickly that the city and the state didn’t want us to do that. Within the first few days, the lumber we had purchased was taken by state police for a quality inspection, and then never returned.

HOST: Did they say why?

BURKE: Nope, not a word. We asked them several times what happened to it and if it was confiscated what was defective about it, but we received a warning to stop harassing law enforcement officers. We eventually had to bribe a local distributor to sell us ‘specially approved’ wood, and we built the houses with that.

It was still very difficult to do anything, what with the police breathing down our necks and the hostility of the government towards people doing anything at all to alleviate the appalling suffering of the blacks. The first house we built, for the Jacksons I believe, a very lovely family, was burned down in the middle of the night, right after we had finished it, I might add, by a mob of white civilians.

That was a sobering experience. We, a group of white young eager missionaries, were harassed daily and our troubles were but a fraction of the vicious brutality faced by those we were trying to help. We tried to keep building the houses, but we mostly provided education and taught the bible. One of my fellow missionaries, Gordon Hoyle, was badly beaten by a mob as he left the makeshift schoolhouse that he was teaching reading and writing at. We all stayed there for the whole two years despite it all, and frankly its miraculous that not one missionary was killed. We did attend and oversee nearly a two dozen funerals for victims of the factories, of the mobs, and of the police in those two years. Many of them were men, women, and tragically children that we had all come to know during that time. Many were converts [4].

After we returned, there was a great debate among church leadership over whether it was too dangerous to continue sending young missionaries into such dangerous conditions, but we did petition at the general conference. The LDS church has had such a long commitment to civil rights, even before the Civil War, and thankfully God prevailed upon our elders to continue the missions to the south.

-From “A CONVERSATION ON CIVIL RIGHTS WITH Fmr. Pres. WARREN BURKE, Joseph Smith University, November 13th, 2014

[1] Societism/Communism is generally in a sort of Revisionist Marxist lane, with the more violent types seen as outliers.
[2] As IOTL, the Indian legislature was composed of a mix of appointed and elected members, with a very limited franchise.
[3] The Mormons still do missions TTL, but there’s more emphasis on charity and humanitarian work than proselytizing.
[4] Due to all the missionary work that the Mormons are doing to try and lessen the suffering of the black south and the church’s support for civil rights, there’s a good amount of black Mormons ITTL.
Great stuff. I’m getting a vague sense India is headed in a more soft-Maoist direction.

Also, yikes at Burke’s story there. That’s some Apartheid South Africa stuff, you captured that very well.

Also how old is Warren Burke in 2014?! Damn
so, it would be Hindustani Independense War?
Also, as I understand, Hindustan control all of OTL India+Pakistan+Bangladesh?
Yeah, pretty much, although the exact borders will be somewhat different...
Great stuff. I’m getting a vague sense India is headed in a more soft-Maoist direction.

Also, yikes at Burke’s story there. That’s some Apartheid South Africa stuff, you captured that very well.

Also how old is Warren Burke in 2014?! Damn
Pretty accurate regarding India
Burke is about as old as Jimmy Carter, so he'd probably be like late 80s in 2014
Would Indian Independence War so bloody to became "TTL Vietnam"? (because British Empire, as I see, is more or less TTL USA (in sence of the world leader), and that war seems to be somethig, that can broke Old British Imperial Style of Thinking.
Also, without WWII... seems to TTL 1940s-1950s generation would be NOT OTL BABY BOOMERS, much more traditional generation. Would TTL even had some 1960s equivalent counterculture, means hippie, rock music, and other? Or we will see a more conservative world, "everlasting 1950s", like in Stephen Fry "Making History"?
111. This Corrosion
111. This Corrosion

“As President Cameron prepared to seek an unprecedented fourth term in office, the movement that he had forged around himself was splintering. The Wide Awakes, a youth group, political pressure faction, and campaign volunteer organization, had been a pillar of Whig political success since before the Seward presidency. By the time Cameron emerged as a political force, the Wide Awakes had established themselves as the epicenter of Whig radicalism, with a strong presence among urban youth, including the descendants of immigrants, and among students. Wide Awake chapters had hosted the torchlight rallies where Cameron made a name for himself as a populist firebrand, and it was Wide Awake members who knocked on doors and patrolled polling stations to drum up support for his cause. Nearly twenty years after he first found common cause with the Wide Awakes, they, like the rest of the Whig party, were falling victim to infighting over whether to support the President for a fourth term.

Following the split of the NCLU into pro- and anti-Cameron groups and the formation of an anti-personalist House caucus, Wide Awake activists soon split over which faction to endorse. Many veterans within the organization heavily favored staying by Cameron, as did chapters from rural and industrial blue-collar communities. Urban and university chapters, led by New York Central University’s May Manifesto, rebuked the nationwide Wide Awake network, which remained aligned with Cameron, and declared for the anti-personalists [1]. President Cameron denounced the anti-personalists as “traitors to the movement” and “a public enemy.” He called on state governors to crack down on their activities, and many did. New York Governor Sam Wolcott steadfastly refused, even after Cameron threatened to cut federal infrastructure funding to the state.

This threat, which Cameron followed through on, further solidified the party’s split as anti-personalists called him a tyrant and a bully. Governor Wolcott demanded that the President resign in a televised speech. Wolcott’s firm stands against Cameron made him a favorite of the anti-personalists, but he refused to run for president, as did the leader of the House anti-personalist caucus, Raymond Johnson. The effort to oust Cameron was hampered by a lack of young, experienced political leaders, and finally Ezra Stark Jr., Cameron’s former Commerce Secretary who had been instrumental in torpedoing his 1944 bid. Stark was 67 years old in 1952 and had, following his retirement from the Senate, contented himself to a semi-retirement of speaking tours and writing anti-personalist editorials. However, though he had no plans to run for president, Stark was persuaded to challenge his former boss after meeting with the leader of the NYCU Wide Awakes, Sam Wolcott, Raymond Johnson, and his son, congressman Ezra Stark III.

With the Whig National Committee firmly dominated by Cameron’s allies, the anti-personalists decided to host a separate convention in Milwaukee for their nomination of Stark. However, local pro-Cameron Wide Awake groups threatened to riot, and the city and state governments could not guarantee a safe convention. Therefore, it was decided to move the gathering to New York City, which was less of a Cameronist hotbed. Despite police presence outside the convention hall in the Queens County Coliseum, Cameronist Wide Awake groups attacked convention-goers, forcing a police crackdown that left two dead and put over a hundred Wide Awakes in prison. Inside, Stark furiously condemned the violence, blaming the President for “cultivating a cult of personality around himself, where he is the only one who can save the country and all who are against his methods are against his ideas. This is a nation of laws, not a nation of men. Howard Cameron is a danger to our sacred system of constitutional governance.”

The anti-personalist convention adopted a platform calling for the easing of federal business regulations, an end to inflationary spending, and continued negotiations with labor unions. Additional planks proposed a constitutional presidential lifetime term limit and giving congress expanded oversight of the Department of Industry and Planning. Several resolutions were adopted condemning the President for his authoritarian and personalist administration.

While the anti-personalists, running as the Constitutional Protection Alliance, concluded their convention, the Cameronist Whigs gathered in Nashville, where President Cameron stood unopposed. His speech, broadcast nationwide, excoriated Ezra Stark as a “traitor, an enemy of the common good, and a snake.” He threatened that “this election is not about me; it is about whether we can continue as a prosperous and stable nation. Do you want a nation ruled by the people, for the people, or a nation run by the banks and robber barons for their own thieving ends?” Outside the convention hall, Wide Awakes paraded in formation during Cameron’s speech, then charged at assembled protestors. Afterwards, Cameron refused to condemn their conduct, instead referring to them as “young brave patriots” and commended them for “their earnest dedication to the country and to democracy.” The Democrats effectively declined to contest the election, as the faction that supported Cameron in congress endorsed the mainline Whig ticket and the majority of anti-personalists endorsed Stark. A rump convention in Baltimore ultimately nominated former President Richard Nelson, though he declined to campaign and ultimately gave a soft endorsement of the anti-personalists.”

-From THE DETROIT LION by John Philip Yates, published 2012

“Local favorite son Warren Burke was declared the winner in the race for Kansas’s 3rd congressional district late on the evening of November 5th. The outcome had hinged on 6,000 late-arriving ballots as Burke and his closest challenger, fellow Whig Samuel White [2], were separated by less than 500 votes. Mr. Burke, a state legislator and leader in the local LDS church, narrowly defeated Mr. White and will represent the people of Seward and its surrounding area in Washington, D.C.”

-From BURKE HEADED TO CONGRESS, The Seward Register, November 6th, 1952

“…even described by contemporaries as the most contentious and violent presidential contest since 1860. Constitutionalist speakers and organizers were harassed and assaulted by Wide Awakes, and one anti-personalist congressional candidate, Henry Wurth, was shot and killed while speaking at an outdoor rally in Cincinnati. Across the country, Constitutionalist rallies were disrupted, often violently, by Wide Awake paramilitaries, and they often tore down political posters and burned leaflets in public bonfires. Torchlight rallies were held in anti-personalist neighborhoods and cities to intimidate the residents into staying home and not voting. In the south, the Wide Awakes were supplemented by the traditional white mobs, who gleefully participated in inciting political and racial violence throughout the summer.

Foreign observers were shocked at the ugliness of the 1952 campaign, with one Italian journalist writing “having covered American politics for nearly a decade now, I can say with certainty that any sense of political decorum in their country has withered away. Candidates spew base insults and issue dark threats. I was aggressively questioned by one young man in a makeshift uniform as to my intentions in the country and whether I was a foreign agent.” Domestic commentators also decried the change in tone of public discourse, with The Advocate calling it a “stunning atrophying of respectful debate.” President Cameron did little to quell the violence, merely expressing “sincere regret” at the murder of Henry Wurth.

As the intimidation efforts of the Wide Awakes stepped up, Constitutionalists rallied and their allied factions of the Wide Awakes also mobilized in their own makeshift uniforms alongside members of the NCLU-A. On October 29th, tension escalated further as anti-personalist paramilitaries engaged in a street brawl with Wide Awakes as they protected an Ezra Stark speech from intrusion. Nine were killed in the fighting and dozens wounded, as the police were unable to intervene before fists were replaced with clubs, truncheons, and knives. At night in major cities like Chicago and Richmond, gangs patrolled the streets, tearing down opposing posters and attacking anyone affiliated with a rival candidate. Police departments and local politicians were forced to impose curfews in the lead-up to Election Day, as it was in many areas unsafe to be outside at night.

Election Day itself was plagued with violence. Wide Awakes frequently verbally harassed and assaulted voters entering polling stations if they were not sufficiently pro-Cameron. Anti-personalists tried to keep order, but the overall atmosphere was chaotic and deeply uncertain. After the polls closed, members of paramilitaries from both sides raucously crowded outside of the counting places, with fistfights and physical confrontations increasing as the tense night wore on. Stark swept the plains states and Cameron once again won the south and his home state, while the midwestern states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri were all extremely close. Stark was declared the winner in Missouri, Indiana, and Illinois by midday on November 5th, as the election’s outcome hinged on Ohio. The state’s governor, Frank Robinson, was a Cameronite Whig, and with President Cameron narrowly leading, he moved to crush any attempts at a recount.

Howard CameronEzra Stark Jr.Richard Nelson
Electoral Vote2862493
Popular Vote24,016,09923,547,1645,044,720

After the state supreme court mandated a recount and the Supreme Court declined to take up the challenge, Robinson deployed Wide Awakes to disrupt the counting process and prevent it from being completed before the state’s certification deadline. In the “Polo Shirt Riot” [3], Wide Awakes blockaded the counting center, and police deputies had to forcibly stop them from storming the building in the brawl. The interference meant that it would be impossible to complete the recount in time, and so the state’s nonpartisan electoral commission voted to end it two days later. With that, Howard Cameron was assured a fourth term in office, by the narrow margin of 286-249. There were widespread protests against the underhanded tactics used to ensure his victory in Ohio, but the country was exhausted by almost four months of unrest. Cameron had won his final race, but his congressional coalitions had their majorities whittled to the bone and the incoming anti-personalist Whigs and Democrats were loudly calling for anti-corruption investigations. The unrest was far from over, it had just gone from the streets into the halls of government.”

-From THE LONG TWENTIETH CENTURY: AMERICA 1940-2003 by Greg Carey, published 2009

[1] The anti-personalist Wide Awakes mixed Cameronist ideology with elements of European societism and socialism, while the Orthodox Cameronists adhered to the traditional tenets of Cameronism, while also adopting his newfound antipathy towards labor radicalism.
[2] In Whig strongholds like the plains states, most races between 1944-1960 were primarily contested between Cameronite and anti-personalist Whig candidates.
[3] A la the Brooks Brothers Riot in OTL’s 2000 election.
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Lemme guess, Richard Nelson won Vermont. Funny how amidst the Cameron/anti-Cameron fight that one state decided to stay out and vote for the third option.
Can not blame them.
This elections seems like a complete nightmare, and I am pretty sure that even in our worst times (70s), we did not have this levels of chaos during an election time.
Yeah, had a feeling this would happen. Escalating too much and making too many enemies while growing arrogant.
Yeah Cameron has definitely flown too close to the sun.
Would TTL historians see Cameron as kind of "American Dictator"?)
Sort of, definitely a strongman but not really on a dictator level. I'd say he has more of the legacy of Richard Nixon than a true dictator. He also has a lot of apologists because of his economic agenda.
Lemme guess, Richard Nelson won Vermont. Funny how amidst the Cameron/anti-Cameron fight that one state decided to stay out and vote for the third option.
He won his home state of Delaware, Vermont voted for the anti-personalists
Can not blame them.
This elections seems like a complete nightmare, and I am pretty sure that even in our worst times (70s), we did not have this levels of chaos during an election time.
Indeed, TTL's America has a lot in common with the turbulence of OTL Argentina
Excited that we'll get to see Warren Burke soonish!
Thanks! He's probably my second favorite character in this TL after Howard Cameron
The 1952 Presidential election:
1952 TAS wikibox.png
It’s definitely going to be interesting to see how the Whigs pull themselves together and how the Pro-Cameron party members will function after Cameron’s time is up. Out of curiosity, what’s the background of the running mates? What states are they from?