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50 Years Ago: The Jamaica Plan for World Peace

The Socialist Standard has received a circular from the United Nations Association of Jamaica containing details of yet another plan for world peace, which the Association thinks we must strive to attain by means of a world peace referendum, in which the peoples of the world could declare that they want peaceful settlement of differences by negotiation, reduction armaments, and a ban on the use of the atom-bomb, hydrogen-bomb, germ-warfare and other weapons of mass destruction.

This kind of plan is not new. There were a number of them before the second world war . . .

These attempts failed to stop the second world war. And our experience teaches us that they will also fail to prevent yet other wars . . .

The reason is that the simple question, “Are you for war or for peace?” never in fact arises outside the pages of the latest peace pamphlet. For what the organisers of these petitions and referendums ignore is that the world to-day is divided into a number of separate states, which all have capitalist economic systems, whether the private-enterprise brand of the State-ownership brand is more in favour in any particular country. And these states, by virtue of the fact that they are capitalist, have interests at variance with those of other states. They must all safeguard their sources of raw materials; they must safeguard their markets; and they must safeguard and improve their strategic position in the world so that they may be able to defend themselves successfully when the next war comes.

(From article by A.W.E., Socialist Standard, April 1952)