Thursday, December 26, 2019

The Last Hope of Humanity (1946)

From the December 1946 issue of the Socialist Standard

We must abolish war. The alternative is wholesale destruction of life by the new and, as yet, little developed method of atom-bomb warfare. Millions of people who visit cinemas will have seen a film that was unearthly and strangely fascinating as a picture but horrifying in its significance. The film recorded the exploding at Bikini of the fifth atom bomb. The audience watched in silence.

After the 1914-18 war, many people thought the world was entering an era of peace. With the ending of a second world war it would be difficult to find anyone who would forecast even 10 years of peace between the major powers. Indeed, as our newspapers tell us quite openly, the major powers of the world are spending large sums of money on developing schemes for defensive and offensive warfare. No one knows whom they are going to attack or who is going to attack them. It is a vast game of “just in case.” The sad fact remains that the peoples of the world view with apathy all the preparations for war, even the increasing “efficiency’’ of the latest instrument of death. As long as people feel there is no immediate danger to themselves or their loved ones they are prepared to let things “work themselves out.” Nevertheless, the inhuman act of using atom bombs on Japan had its effect on the minds of millions of people. It will be a difficult task for the government of any country to gain the support of its people in a future war. The unpleasant alternatives to war used as threats in the past, such as fascism, loss of freedom, invasion by a foreign power, lowered standard of living, and so on, lose much of their terror when compared with the wholesale obliteration of towns.

One ray of hope emerges from the terrifying events of the day. The will to survive is strong enough to make people question the necessity of war, and, in doing so, they will try to discover its cause. In seeking the cause of wars, we start on the road to understanding something about the system of society under which we live to-day, known as Capitalism. Under this system, the supply of the necessities of life and life itself have become subordinate to an essential characteristic of Capitalism—the sale of goods at a profit. Once we understand that the root-cause of all wars is the need of rivalling groups to control sources of raw materials and markets for the finished goods, it then becomes an easy matter to accept the Socialist case as the way out.

In the Socialist world there will be no boundaries to countries. The world will become a single unit. It will not be necessary for people to fight for food or living room or a “standard of living,” or any of the thousand and one reasons given from time to time to various nations in order to gain the support of the people in a war. In the Socialist world the people will produce food and clothing and build houses for all. The natural wealth of the world is more than enough to amply satisfy the needs of all humans, be they Jews, Arabs, Indians or English. There need be no shortages. The necessity for struggle as a means of deciding which section of the world's people shall have access to the products of the world has long since passed away. Money and wars will become fantastic memories together with atom bombs just as soon as the people of the world lift their miserable, bowed heads and listen to the teaching of Socialism, the last hope of humanity.
K. M.

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