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50 Years Ago: The Inhumanity of War

All modern wars are the outcome of economic clashes within Capitalism. As this month is the twentieth anniversary of the outbreak of the last world war, the effects of which are still with us, most of the articles in this issue of the SOCIALIST STANDARD concern the Socialist attitude to war.

 War can solve no working class problem. It cuts across the fundamental identity of interest of the workers of the world, setting sections of this class at enmity with each other in the interests of sections of the capitalist class.

 War elevates force into the position of arbiter in place of the common human desire for mutual peace and happiness. Its effect is wholly evil. It depraves all the participants by forcing them to concentrate upon the best methods of producing misery and of annihilating each other.

 War elevates lying, cheating, disabling and murdering opponents into virtues, confers distinctions upon those who practise these means most successfully.

 Young men and women, in their most impressionable years, have the vile methods of warfare impressed upon them so thoroughly that they lose a balanced outlook on life and are impregnated with the idea that force, with all its baseness, and not reason is the final solution in all problems.

 Socialism is completely opposed to war and to what war represents. At the same time it is the only solution to the conditions that breed war. It is a new form of society in which the people of the world will work harmoniously together for their mutual benefit, for there will be neither privilege nor property to cause enmity.

 No coercion will be needed in Socialism because each will gain from co-operating harmoniously with his fellows. But it is a new social system that demands understanding of its implications from those who seek to establish it.

 With the establishment of Socialism war will disappear and humanity will have taken the first step out of the jungle.

(Editorial, Socialist Standard, September 1959)