1960s >> 1960 >> no-676-december-1960

50 Years Ago: The Anti-War Campaign

In our report of the International Congress at Copenhagen we referred briefly to the absurd proposals to organise the workers of the world to ensure “universal disarmament and the prevention of warfare.’’

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The main demands in the resolution which the German Social-Democratic Party forced upon the Congress were, compulsory arbitration upon international disputes, and Parliamentary action for disarmament and the prevention of wars.

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The master class, being but a tenth of the population, can only keep possession of the means of production by their control (through the political machinery) of the armed forces. While the master class have that control it is hopeless for the workers to attempt to seize capitalist property. It is sheer madness, therefore, to expect that the capitalist class would, because the workers demand it, either abolish the armed forces or hand their control over to the working class. That would be to abolish themselves as a ruling class. Further, the interests of the capitalists of one country clash with those of the capitalists of other lands, especially in the matter of obtaining markets, and so long as capitalism lasts there will be this clash of interests, necessitating ever-increasing armaments and the inevitable appeal to arms. It is then absurd to waste time and energy in an endeavour to convince the capitalists that wars are superfluous and a curse under capitalism.

Let the workers learn their position in society and unite to obtain control of the machinery of government, including the armed forces. Such action will make it possible for them to take possession of the means of production and use them for the benefit of all. In that way alone will they be able to usher in a system of society wherein universal unity of interests will abolish all war, be it between classes or nations.

(Socialist Standard, December, 1910.)