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Letter: 'Socialists and War'

Dear Editors

Recently my daughter brought me from England a copy of the August edition of  the Socialist Standard' with the excellent, moving and very informative articles on 'The Old Lie' –  the First World War. (She got it at the Anarchist Book Fair on 18 October)

I was brought up in an English Communist family in the 40s and 50s'. My parents, like thousands of other outraged party members, left the CP over the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956.

I come from Dartford in Kent but have lived in Colombia since the mid 80s and before that was over a decade on an Irish island off Donegal. I have been militantly active politically all my life since childhood, especially in the Direct Action branches of CND/Committee of 100 (I worked as secretary to Bertrand Russell as a young woman) and the anti-Vietnam war movement.

Are you a specifically pacifist organization? I don't have access to internet out here as I live in a remote mountain region, but once a week am able to send my computer out on the one-and-only 'bus' to our nearest market town (a village) to send and receive post. So unfortunately I can't look you up on a website to find out more about you.

Congratulations to Richard Headicar, Steve Clayton, and 'Ivan' for their shocking and important articles. Disturbing and necessary reading.
JENNY JAMES, Colombia.

REPLY:  We are not actually a specifically pacifist organisation. We are opposed to war on socialist grounds in that wars today are fought over rival capitalist interests concerning sources of raw materials, trade routes, markets and investment outlets and strategic points and areas to protect these. This is why we say that members of the majority class of those obliged to work for a wage or a salary for a living have no interests at stake in them and so should refuse to take part in the killing and maiming of their fellow workers from some other country.

 We also consider that a socialist majority that has won control of political power democratically should reserve the right to use armed force, if necessary, to deal with any armed resistance to the establishment of socialism by some recalcitrant pro-capitalist minority should this occur. – Editors