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50 Years ago: Mass suicide

Under the title “Do not willingly contribute to the mass suicide of the human race” the Empire News (24 June, 1956) had the following:

“The highest radioactive deposit in a single day from a thermo-nuclear weapon test was 100 microcuries a square mile at Milford and 25 at Harwell. Daily deposits at Harwell and Milford, however, are generally similar. Danger from these radioactive particles is very slight, say scientists. But one of the radioactive substances, known as strontium 90 may be deposited in grass which is cropped by animals. This gets into their bones and may cause cancer. So the experts warn: limit the number of atom tests. Fears that rainwater may be contaminated from the Monte Bello atom test have arisen in Queensland, Australia, and people have been warned not to drink it for a few days.”—The above was taken from a news item, “Atom-Rain Tests.”—(Empire News, 24.6.56.)

But such is the nature of capitalism; that even though the rival Governments know they may be instrumental in causing the “virtual suicide of the human race.” They dare not let up; for fear of conceding an advantage to their rivals; yet they have the effrontery to call capitalism a civilised society! Why, by comparison with this, even the most senseless butchery in history seems like sanity. The human race may be virtually dying on its feet; and still the people do nothing about it; when will they get wise; and act on their own behalf instead of waiting and hoping for someone else to put the world right for them?

Workers of the world, put not your trust in leaders. Instead fashion the world the way you want it yourselves by organising for socialism; then you can rest secure in the knowledge that the only developments which will be undertaken will be those which will be of benefit to all.

(From article by Phil Mellor, Socialist Standard, October 1956)