50 Years Ago: Nuclear Waste

It was 20 years ago this month that the world witnessed the terrifying spectacle of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Twenty years of gradually mounting evidence to help piece together like a jigsaw, a background of cynical and calculated brutality that is almost without parallel. Twenty years in which the soundness of the Socialist Party’s stand on the whole question of war in all its forms has been again and again vindicated.

This will no doubt be a month of commemoration and protest. From statesmen and politicians of every variety we may expect the usual tired platitudes, lies and hypocrisy as they spuriously talk about peace and prepare for another war. CND will be well to the fore, attempting to deal with nuclear weapons in isolation from their root cause – Capitalism. But society cannot put the scientific and technical clock back. From this time forward man’s ability to manufacture nuclear weapons is here to stay. The only truly reliable way to “Ban the Bomb” is to establish a society where human relationships could not possibly cause war or call nuclear weapons into use. Only world Socialism really guarantees that Hiroshima or Nagasaki could not happen again.

We have felt it important to return to the question again this month because apart from the threat to humanity’s existence in a world armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons, it illustrates well a point we have made many times― the shocking wastefulness with which Capitalism not only squanders society’s material resources, but squanders humanity itself. (…)

Even whilst CND have been campaigning, more nations have entered the nuclear field. The bombs are bigger, and there are more of them. CND have protested against one aspect of capitalism’s wastefulness. They will miss the important point until they realise that the need is to remove Capitalism itself. Gigantic waste which is horrifying in its effects is synonymous with Capitalism in every direction, from nuclear terror, to world hunger. The campaign against these problems outside the context of the demand for Socialism cannot carry the prospect of success.

(from editorial, Socialist Standard, August 1965)

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