From the February 1916 issue of the Socialist Standard
That wars are, after all, land and territory-grabbing expeditions, is admitted by a Mr. H. S. Gullett, writing in the “Daily Malta Chronicle" of November 18th last. In an article entitled "Strengthening the Empire" Mr. Gullett says:
The disturbing factor is that we live in an exceedingly land-hungry age, in which solemn treaties are lightly honoured. Everywhere the clamour is for more territory. Within the past few years war after war has been waged, and despite the attempts of the aggressors to cover their design, the aim in nearly : every case has been material gain.
Of course! But many capitalist writers have admitted that wars have economic causes. He then goes on to say:
Perhaps the Empire is too large; perhaps we are attempting too much. But the tendency is to acquire more and more territory, and to add to our monster task of colonising.
To acquire more and more territory "by waging war and covering their design," etc., to use his previous words. Exactly! For it is obviously “material gain" that prompts capitalist nations to make war upon one another to “acquire more territory.” Mr. Gullett then observes :
Already in this war we have, in the acquisition by the Australians of the big rich islands in the South Pacific, and in the gallant conquest of German South West Africa, added enormously to our work of Empire-building.
But the thoughtful reader of this frank admission will reflect that then- were more profitable reasons than “preserving the neutrality of small nations'' that induced “us” to declare war. The writer, however, fears that “we" have bitten off more than "we" can chew, for he continues:
We who live overseas are already spread very thin; after the war our grip, unless we are strongly reinforced, will be very precarious indeed. . . There is grave danger that . . our insatiated appetite for more territory will prove our undoing. At the dictation of the Home Government, and yielding to our own strong desire, we have snatched a great additional domain from the Germans.
Thus is shown the land-snatching proclivities of capitalist governments, and the capitalist nature of wars generally.
Only by the inauguration of international Socialism will wars be abolished. For only then will there be no capitalist class to make war (using our class for the butcher's job) in order to seize territory which will become markets for their surplus products. For only then will the workers own and control all that which they alone produce, and only then will there be no vast surplus of wealth, stolen from the workers, for which a market must he found, and to provide a market for which working-class blood must be poured out like water. No man worthy of the name will hold back now.
A. C. Kelly.