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British Army

War, Crime and Punishment

 Recently two young soldiers were convicted at Berkshire Assizes of robbery with violence. Instead of sentencing them straight away the judge gave them a choice—volunteer "unconditionally” for Korea or go to gaol. After they had a night to think it over their counsel told the judge: “They are eager to take advantage of your lordship’s leniency, and volunteer for overseas service.”

 An editorial in the Daily Mirror (9th May) strongly criticised the judge’s action. The Mirror asks how the choice of the convicted men could be unconditional in such circumstances. But there are other aspects of the matter that should be brought out, and the main theme of the editorial (An Insult to the Army) is of little consequence compared to the deeper questions concerning the cause of crime and war in our present society.

The Decline of Patriotism

 Our capitalist masters are apparently anxious about a matter of first importance to their country. For ages  they have been able to rely upon the working class to take up arms in defence of their exploiters’ property; now, however, according to Lord Esher, an eminent authority, things are changing. “Under our present system,” he says in a recent article in the National Review, “we purchase annually for the Regular Army, in peace, the bones and muscles and youth of about 30,000 of our countrymen. We keep them a few years, then we throw them away and take in a fresh supply.”

 “ We,” of course, means the capitalist class. The working class is represented by the bone and muscle which is purchased. It is evidently as bad a case for the workers on the military field as on the industrial. When they are no longer of any value they are cast aside like a sucked orange.

Northern Ireland: The Gentle Art of Interrogation

Anybody living in Northern Ireland today who doubts the assertion that the British Army and the Royal Ulster Constabulary are waging a vicious war against that section of the working class who are Catholics or who question the allegation that part of the weaponry of that war are brutality and torture can carry out his own inquiry.

There are a number of approaches.

The Peterloo Massacre

One hundred and seventy-five years ago, on 16 August 1819, troops attacked a radical meeting held on St Peter's Field in Manchester. At least eleven of the crowd were killed, and over 600 injured. Within a few days the massacre was being ironically styled 'Peterloo'. It was an event of enormous significance, not just for the north west area but for the history of working class struggle in Britain.

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