Socialism, Capitalism an “H” Bombs

n these enlightened days of aspirin civilisation, the reading and listening population of the world are being calmly informed of their own possible extinction either through actual “H” and “A” bomb warfare or as the result of the “peace time” testing of these instruments for “freedom.” We read in the Daily Express, May 2nd, 1957, that the New York Times thinks “that Britain, like the United States and the Soviet Union, can make and stop hydrogen bombs should be a source of pride for Britons.”

With the hot-house development of techniques and weapons during the last world bloodbath for profits and the frantic race for supremacy which has gone on ever since, in making, testing and stock-piling “H” and “A” bombs the public has had information made easily available to it in daily newspapers, radio, etc., at every stage of the process. Apart from the scientific “secrets” which the others are not supposed to know about, over a period of more than ten years everything about “H” and “A” bombs has been told. Although efforts have been made in some quarters to play down the effects, nobody could say they have been kept in the dark. It is a charge which certainly could not be levelled at the various National ruling classes, that they have suddenly let the workers in on “H” and “A” bombs being produced, like a bolt out of the blue. Maps have been published in national dailies showing the area of devastation. Information about blast, heat, radiation and now strontium 90 has been sent out through all the mass propaganda channels. Millions have watched “H” and “A” bomb explosions, in cinemas and on television. Hiroshima and Nagasaki still bear living evidence. To make it perfectly clear that these things are not toys the experts have likened the explosions to many millions of tons of T.N.T. It has often been stated, by way of example, that all the bombing raids round the clock on Hamburg, Tokio, etc., would be dwarfed in a flash. Yet after more than ten years of this blood-chilling information there is no stir on the part of the vast majority of potential victims. The question which forces itself on our attention, is—why? Why, with all the peace movements, bomb-banning demonstrations, and petitions, do the majority of workers take no apparent interest in something which might exterminate untold millions of them? What is there fundamentally wrong with all these movements that their mass appeals fail to strike home on something so seemingly simple.

In our unravelling of the above questions we hope workers will see that this is an urgent appeal for action, but of a different and more rewarding kind.

Some of the arguments of the anti-“H” bomb movements begin with the plausibly-sounding statement that “war is the most urgent of problems, so it must be solved first. You cannot work for Socialism if you are dead.” Next comes “the “H” bomb is the most deadly of war weapons, so first our activity must be turned to getting rid of that.” Some of these people, namely, those in the so-called Communist Party, have a remarkable capacity for believing that only those “H” and “A” bombs not possessed by Russia are harmful.

One of the effects of this approach to the war problem is that it helps to produce an attitude of mind where, because of the sheer dread of “H” and “A” bombs, war, if only they are banned, could be so heavenly. It is obvious from the start that movements which seek to ban this or that particular weapon are resigned to the continuation of wars; in fact, such activity could truly be described as “getting procedure laid down.” Is war really more acceptable to the working-class if “H” and “A” bombs are not used ?

We claim that the S.P.G.B. and its companion parties have the only real case against war. This must be thought about by workers not as a cheap bit of “pushing the party,” but as a serious statement, which, we think, all the evidence upholds.

When workers hear or read the appeals to ban the bomb, their reaction is one which has already been strongly conditioned.. Conditioned by the fact that, whatever country they live in, they are taught to think as nationalists. Conditioned by the patriotism of “loyalty to the country.” Nationally they see their rulers’ interests and their own as one. They are British, American, Russian, and so on. To nationalistic people, leaders (political and religious) flags, armed forces and weapons of all kinds are quite necessary in the interests of the “country.” Seeing no difference between themselves and the boss, they argue “if we don’t make it, they will,” ” it’s no use this country disarming if the others don’t,” forgetting that the misguided patriots in the other countries argue in exactly the same way, i.e., not as workers, but as Germans, Americans, Africans, Russians, and so on. Because of their nationalism they all make the same mistake, the mistake the boss teaches them to make, that is, to speak of “we” and “our country.” The all-important fact is, of course, that workers do not possess any country, and the convenient little “we” makes them identify their interests with those who do. To nationalists the world is not divided up into a world-wide working class and a worldwide capitalist class with mutually antagonistic interests; it is divided into “ us” and the “foreigners.”

What could be more telling of the futility of the “peace” movements and the bomb-banners than the fact that they appeal to nationalism and claim to be the real patriots. Thus they directly help to foster the very outlook without which war would be impossible.

It becomes clear that while the majority of workers in each country feel allegiance to its rulers, and through them to the capitalist class which lives on their backs, these Governments, politicians and parsons will be able to prepare the workers for war, make and test “H” bombs or do any thing else on the ground of “national interest.” There must then, be something more than just not wanting the bomb. There must be understanding by the majority of a really workable alternative. It is precisely this which is lacking among the peace screamers, all of whom accept capitalism (consciously or otherwise), but seek to avoid its normal consequences. The alternative for anyone who has thought about what they have just read is implied in what has already been said, that is, a world without nationalism, commerce and conflicting trading interests. A world no longer divided either into nations or classes of rulers and ruled, but a world community, the whole planet being run to satisfy the needs of its population and no longer for profits. With the industrial and natural resources bring held in common by all, mankind would co-operate to produce and freely distribute the things they need. Because the very basis for international conflicts will have gone, wars cannot arise. From that it follows as a matter of course that there will be no bombs to ban, society will not be making them nor any other instrument of destruction. Armed forces will not exist under Socialism because their function will have gone when capitalism goes.

This is about the time when in arguing our ease by word of mouth, our opponents say, “yes, it is a nice dream but how and when will it come about?” The answer to this has been given by the S.P.G.B. since its inception. It will come about when you (the opponents) cease to think that solutions to working class problems can be found within capitalism. Never mind about calling Socialism a dream; until you accept it and help others to do so, you are stuck with the nightmare of capitalism.

When a majority of the world’s workers (all suffering the same problems under the same system) have come to the conclusion, after making the tour of the blind alleys, that Socialism is necessary, the “how” will be fairly easy. They will no longer vote for and support the parties of capitalism. Labour, Liberal, Conservative and so-called Communists, etc.; they will use their votes to send Socialist delegates forward in each country for the object of stripping the capitalist class of the thing which makes them a capitalist class, that is, ownership (State or private) of land, factories, mines, machinery and railways, etc. With this done and the means of production in the hands of the community and democratically controlled, society will begin anew.

H. B.

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