Friday, March 5, 2021

50 Years Ago: The Peace Ballot and the League of Nations (1985)

The 50 Years Ago column from the March 1985 issue of the Socialist Standard 

Others preach peace, but steadfastly defend the property basis, which means war. Socialists preach the abolition of the private ownership of the means of life. That is the only way of ending the war of classes.

As it is at home, so it is abroad. Capitalism gives the ruling class the incentive to protect vested interests bound up in trade routes, sources of raw materials, and areas of foreign investment. Control of the machinery of Government gives them the power to wage war. The only sure road to peace is the road which leads to Socialism, conquest of the powers of the Government by a politically organised Socialist majority While Lords Beaverbrook and Rothermere. and the rest of the capitalist class, own and control the means of life, they are the enemies of the working class and a danger to the human race. Their pious oath that they are not interested financially in this or that armament, or aircraft. or any other particular company, is of no significance They have the supreme vested interest, a vested interest in the maintenance of capitalism. They can be expected, therefore, to sacrifice the interest of society to the interest of themselves and their class.

The Socialist who examines the Union's five questions has no difficulty in seeing their futility. The real position boils down to one question: "Are you in favour of depriving the capitalist class of their control over the machinery of Government, including the armed forces?" "Yes", says the Socialist. "No", says the capitalist and his avowed supporters. "Yes and no. but only gradually, and not unless the capitalist agrees". says the Labourite, with his muddled conceptions of capitalism and Socialism.

It will be seen, therefore, why the Socialist does not share the enthusiasm over the ballot expressed by the League of Nations Union.

(From an article "The Peace Ballot and the League of Nations' Socialist Standard, March 1935.)

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