Party News from the December 1980 issue of the Socialist Standard
Letter in South Wales Evening Post 22 October, 1980.
Why do governments spend vast sums on deadly armaments when it is clearly not in the interest of humanity that these be produced or used? The answer governments give is that it is for defence. But to defend what? Clearly not the lives and homes of their citizens, as war in the modern world always results in mass death and destruction.
What they are in fact defending are the economic interests of the country they govern. And that means the interests of that small minority who own the vast majority of the wealth in all the countries of the world (in 1976 the Royal Commission on the Distribution of Income and Wealth established that in this country 10 per cent of the population owned 61 per cent of the wealth).
This is why governments, whose job it is to keep this system of minority ownership of wealth ticking over, are putting an increased amount of effort into convincing people that survival will be worthwhile after a nuclear holocaust.
Those who have lost everything dear to them—family, friends, home—will still have one thing left: their ability to work, and this they will continue to be required to sell to an employer for a wage or salary so that business can carry on as before.
So war and the threat of war—whether conventional or nuclear—are caused by economic rivalries between the rival owning classes of different countries. When you understand this, you realise that the problem of war cannot be solved either by trying to mitigate its expected effects (Protect and Survive) or by putting pressure on individual governments to abandon their most lethal weapons.
The only way to get rid of war is to get rid of the cause of war. And this will only happen when the majority of workers decide to get rid of our competitive buying and selling system and bring in a new co-operative world-wide society of common ownership and democratic participation which will give all people free access to all goods and services.
Only in this kind of society will war, weapons and the devastating slaughter they cause no longer have any place.
Press Officer, Swansea SPGB.