1910s >> 1918 >> no-162-february-1918

The Waste of War

A point often overlooked by the man-in-the-street is the connection of war with waste. A list of figures covering the cost of the war day by day conveys little to the layman’s mind. Parliamentarians give you these statistics freely, that you may be beguiled into sacrificing your mite on the altar of War. Not that the combined savings of all the working class would maintain the war for a single day, but it tends to instil into their minds the illusion that they are doing something for “their country.”

War is absolute waste of men, material, and brain power. The question is not concerned with any supposed “rights.” The fact is—just allow this point to sink into your mind—war is absolute waste.

Since August 1914 practically all advances in science have been in connection with war. Eminent men have devoted their faculties to the solving of the problem of defeating the submarine menace. Others have given their time and energies to the production of new chemical compounds for the greater slaughter of the “enemy.” Inventors concentrate upon means of destruction. A huge man-of-war, involving the labour of thousands of men and women for many months, is sunk in a few minutes. A gun of large calibre, again the product of months of toil, reaches the slaughter-ground, and a shell from the “enemy” reduces it to scrap-iron. And so with all the material produced for war.

And then the men. Men covering every branch of science have been sacrificed. Torn from their laboratories and studies, they have been thrown into the Army like so much meat a sausage machine. And in addition the finest men of half the world, the very flower of every advanced race under the sun, are flung like so much garbage into the pit, from which few indeed will come out as sound in mind and body as they were when their masters claimed them to be wasted in the war for commercial supremacy.

Only by one method can you eliminate this tragic waste. That method is by realising your position as wage-slaves and emancipating yourselves therefrom. The science of Socialism will teach you how to do this. Read our literature. Ask us questions on any point you do not agree with or do not understand. We are ever willing, nay, eager, to assist our fellow workers–men and women—along the road to liberty.

Harry Grattan