Friday, May 5, 2017

A New Campaign: Join the CCD (1962)

From the July 1962 issue of the Socialist Standard

No, this is not a misprint. It stands for The Campaign for Chemical Disarmament which, doubtless, will soon start up when frustrated members of CND and others looking for good causes to follow have digested the facts recently given in an article in The Guardian under the title "U.S. Arsenal revised. Chemicals for defence”.

From the article is appears that the U.S. Army's projected expenditure for 1963 on research and development shows a drop of 20 per cent, on nuclear weapons and an increase of 67 per cent, on chemical and biological warfare. This, by the way, is a “faint ray of hope” for humanity, according to the former Chief Officer of the U.S. Army, General Creasy, who is reported to have said in 1959 that these weapons could lead to a “less total form of war". Apart from other possible results of chemical warfare, such as the interruption of nerve signals in the body causing convulsions and death, there are such effects as temporary paralysis, deafness, blindness and mental aberration. So much for less total forms of war!

Elsewhere in the article is mentioned the Hague Protocol signed by certain nations after the First World War and ratified by Great Britain (although not the United States) by which it was agreed not to use poisonous gases and chemicals in warfare. Yet a few weeks ago consternation was caused by the finding of hundreds of cylinders of mustard gas on a beach in Wales, manufactured by Britain during the Second World War and subsequently dumped. So much for the agreements between nations which the CND and similar organisations would have us believe will preserve us against the use of terrible weapons. The fact that gas was not used during the 1939/45 war only means that it was recognised as a rather inefficient method of murdering opponents, depending as it does on weather conditions. The same attitude, it may be added, did not apply to the napalm bomb or the flame thrower.

And so far we have only been discussing chemical weapons. So-called biological warfare is still very secret, although a year or two ago it leaked out that scientists were working on germs which could wipe out cities with far less trouble than hydrogen bombs and, what is more, leave property unharmed!

History has shown that summit meetings, treaties and promises come to nothing when the operations of capitalism force governments to protect their spheres of interest, if necessary, by war. Weapons will be manufactured secretly and held in reserve for the right moment. Equally we know that governments have not shrunk from using such weapons however terrible, when the interests of capitalism demand it.

Nobody can say that they will not do so again.
S. Goodman