Five Minutes On Socialism – No.3

The British people have once again voted a Tory Government into office—not that it matters which of the parties succeeded since none of them have the desire to end Capitalism.

Though in the main the problems were the same as at every other election and the suggested reforms identical, perhaps the question of peace and war has reached out to more people than ever before. What then is the attitude of various political parties and religious organizations, who support the present system, to this vital issue? And what do Socialists think?

The various parties have, despite minor differences of “techniques” staked their faith in the manufacture and use of armaments (including the “bomb”) as being necessary to maintain peace. The only possible way of refusing a mandate to these parties was to withhold the vote—Socialists did this.

The Churches’ attitude has always been interesting. Cardinal Bourne, R/C Archbishop of Westminster, once stated: “War cannot be a sin since God himself has actually commanded war on many occasions and aided his people to victory.” Quite recently the Archbishop of York said that the best way to peace was by the hydrogen bomb, a statement which the Bishop of Swansea deplored though not stating his own attitude towards other forms of warfare.

A monastic group—the Society of Brothers, some time ago wrote to the SOCIALIST STANDARD agreeing that “the position of the Pacifist is unreal and futile in face of the forces of Capitalism.” They were even generous enough to agree with Socialists that the cause of war was capitalist competition between nations.

Anti-militarism does not, of course, denote an acceptance of Socialism. Pacifists, Church Groups and Peace Committees may sigh, strive and agitate, but whilst they ignore the nature of the system that nurtures war then they are dreamers—a thing they accuse Socialists of being.

The Soviet Union, through Litvinoff, stated at the Geneva Conference: ” . . . under Capitalism it is impossible to remove the causes of war,” which sounds strange compared with Russia’s present cry of “peaceful Co-existence.”

Whilst it is plain that leaders, both religious and political, work consciously or otherwise for the preservation of Capitalism, it is true that many people are sincere in their desire for peace and concord. The tragedy is that peace is impossible whilst Capitalism remains. War whether of the industrial field or the battlefield is the very skin of the Capitalist body. Emotionalism or any expediency evolved by any political party cannot do the task which is to be the historic role of Socialism.

Socialists have a definite attitude to war. In 1914 the S.P.G.B. issued a Manifesto to the warring powers: a message that we repeated in 1939 ending with the words: “Having no quarrel with the workers of any country we extend to our fellow workers of all lands the expression of our good will . . . and pledge ourselves to work for the overthrow of capitalism and the triumph of Socialism.”

To this end, Socialists urge the workers to educate themselves as the first step to their emancipation.

W. Brain

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