|Aldermaston March 1958.|
From the May 1958 issue of the Socialist Standard
Text of leaflet distributed to demonstrators on the march
This Demonstration is evidence of the strong feeling throughout the country. We share your revulsion that the threat of nuclear weapons has aroused against the Hydrogen Bomb and are fully aware of its devastating consequences. But we disagree with the manner of your protest, which we hold is basically unsound and can only prove ineffective.
Mere emotion, however passionately directed against the horror of war, does not prevent war. Effective protest and action demands both an understanding of the cause of war and a practical idea of how war can be prevented.
The cause of war today is the capitalist organisation of society, a society based on the private ownership of the means of life and on production of goods and services to make a profit. Capitalism creates ruling groups who constantly struggle with each other for control of the wealth of the world. Governments represent the interest of these ruling groups. Their conflicts are economic ones: the competition for markets, the race for sources of raw material, the mastery of strategic positions.
Russia, with its state-controlled capitalism, is no less involved in this sordid business than are the U.S.A. and Great Britain.
Governments cannot be moved to disarm by appeals to their humanity. History shows to the contrary that governments always prepare for war, that the horrific consequences of war do not minimise the likelihood of war, and that “agreements” between governments are no guarantee of peace.
Effective protest against nuclear weapons demands protest against the whole monstrosity of war. The abolition of war tan only be effected by the reorganisation of human society.
The Socialist Party of Great Britain in its pamphlet on war states:
“War can solve no working class problem. It cuts across the fundamental identity of interest of the workers of the world, setting sections of this class at enmity with each other in the interests of sections of the capitalist class.
“War elevates force into the position of arbiter in place of the common human desire for mutual peace and happiness. Its effect is wholly evil. It depraves all the participants by forcing them to concentrate upon the best methods of producing misery and of annihilating each other.
"War elevates lying, cheating, disabling and murdering opponents into virtues, confers distinctions upon those who practise these means most successfully.
“Young men and women, in their most impressionable years, have the vile methods of warfare impressed upon them so thoroughly that they lose a balanced outlook on life and are impregnated with the idea that force, with all its baseness, and not reason, is the final solution in all problems.
“Socialism is completely opposed to war and to what war represents. At the same time it is the only solution to the conditions that breed war. It is a new form of society in which the people of the world will work harmoniously together for their mutual benefit, for there will be neither privilege nor property to cause enmity.
“No coercion will be needed in Socialism because each will gain from co-operating harmoniously with his fellows. But it is a new social system that demands understanding of its implications from those who seek to establish it.
“With the establishment of Socialism war will disappear and humanity will have taken the first step out of the jungle.”