The Reason Why
Conscription has been officially abolished.
Yes, but not because you did not like it. Our masters have learned during this last war that the day of individual skill with arms is long past. Killing men and wrecking towns and villages is a business that is made quite simple for those who finally DO the business, and those who really pay for the upkeep of the Army and Navy (not you, my fellow worker) are out to cut down expenses in this as in all other things.
A standing army of 220,000 professional killers, and a half-baked army of umpteen territorials will be quite sufficient to keep the wage-slaves in subjection both at home and abroad, and that is all that our masters require until the next “war to end war” comes along.
Then you will see if conscription is finished. Together with its inseparable ally, D.O.R.A., it will be trotted out afresh for your benefit— to be the only hope of saving YOUR liberty, YOUR home (if the brokers haven’t already been in), YOUR everything. YOU, who will be called up to “make one,” or perhaps your son, who such a dear little fellow now, will very soon be taught “discipline” and smattering enough of the methods of killing to go into the new mud-alleys or trenches to make a heroic fight for liberty against “militarism” or some other terrible “ism.”
A few hours No. 1 Field Punishment will brighten up your intellect considerably, and you will learn to be courageous too—when there’s a firing party and a hole in the ground waiting for you if you show a sign of being otherwise.
You might be one of the “knowing” ones who say “Never again: I’ve been had once,” but, my friend, when those terrible conditions come again, as come again they must tinder the present system of society, you will be in no better position to resist these dispensers of khaki suits, homes for heroes, and unemployment doles than you ever were.
Do you ever think over this ? If you don’t you are sadly deficient in self-consideration. If you DO, what conclusions have you come to”? What can you do to help yourself ?
THE ONLY WAY to help yourself in the matter is to do all you can to help bring in a system of society where “international” fights are totally unnecessary, where YOU can live a life of peace with plenty, where NO unemployment exists, and where no human being starves in the midst of plenty as they do now under the aegis of something that many of us, in our pityfully blind ignorance, call civilisation.
The necessary system of society for these wonderful benefits to become yours and mine is the SOCIALIST system; nothing short of it.
THE SOCIALIST PARTY of Great Britain claim, and prove their claim, to be the only party in Great Britain whoie principles will benefit the working class. We have no connection with I.L.P., B.S.P, L.P., S.D.P., or any other old P. of people who are only interested in two things: firstly, grinding their own axes; secondly, trying to make the present rotten capitalist system bearable to you, thereby prolonging the life of that system which grinds YOU down so mercilessly.
If you are a thoughtful man come and consider our principles and policy. You will be welcome at any of our meetings, no matter whether Executive, Branch, or propaganda meetings. We cordially welcome your serious interest. If you have questions to ask, come to our meetings and ask them. I assure you of a civil and scientifically considered answer. The keener your intelligence the keener your welcome from us, for we want the help of intelligent men, and intelligent men will want to help to spread our propaganda when they have got the knowledge of what we stand for. Never mind if you are poor in pocket—we are poor men and women ourselves—but the richer you are in sense—common sense—the better we will like you, for we are not out to mislead anyone.
A list of Branches, together with the times and places of their meetings, will be found at the end of this paper. Come to any of our meetings and enquire : it costs you nothing—and knowledge awaits you.
(Socialist Standard, May 1920)