Saturday, June 24, 2017

Humanity is my family and the world my home

Armed Forces Day takes place to-day, with the national event in Liverpool one of more than a record 300 across the country,  as a chance for people to show their support for those connected with the armed forces.
Well, members of the Socialist Party will not be expressing any support for Britain's military. Patriotism and nationalism are artificial restrictions of mankind’s sympathy and mutual help; as obstacles to the expansion of the human mind; as impediments to the needful and helpful development of human unity and co-operation; as bonds that bound people to slavery; as incentives that set brothers and sisters at each other's throats.
Like religion, militarism has its vestments, its ceremonies, its sacred emblems, its sacred hymns and inspired music; all of which are called in support of the class interests of our masters. The problem of war, militarism, and armaments is just one of the many which must arise as long as there is private property and production for sale instead of common property and production for use.
Those who own the world and its instruments of production compete against each other in buying raw materials and in selling finished products. This competition is not just economic; political means too are used. The competing owners, in groups, have at their disposal armed forces. To protect and further their interests is why these forces exist. The economic conditions of capitalism make them necessary. Any group of owners which controlled no armed forces would be in a sorry state. Not only would it be unable to keep others off its own wealth but it would also be unable to take and hold sources of raw materials or to erect tariff barriers to keep others out of a market or to control ports and trade routes around the world. In other words it would soon go under. The owners thus compete by political and economic means for sources of raw materials, markets and trade routes. When other political means fail all that is left is brute force—the organised, scientific killing and destruction that is war.
Not only must groups of owners have armed forces but they are always under pressure to equip them with the most destructive weapons. For in their struggles might is right. So resources are devoted to research into nuclear physics, biochemistry, and space, to develop ever more destructive weapons. Men and women are enticed and recruited into the armed forces and trained to kill, wound and destroy.
Militarism is the inevitable outcome of commerce, of the buying and selling that goes with the private ownership of the world’s resources. To abolish militarism we must abolish commerce. To abolish commerce we must replace private property by common property. Only then will the resources of the world be able to provide the plenty they are capable of, instead of being wasted on such things as armies.

'To The Advocates of Militarism'
    Compel them to come in, for there shall be
    A feast well-spread, to suit the taste of all-
    Ruin and pain and untold misery;
    The downward trend, the devastating fall,
    From every higher impulse; robes to wear
    Woven of fraud, hypocrisy and lies.
    Compel them to come in that all may share
    This wolfish feast of bloodstained infamies.
    Not yours the chains of slavery to break;
    You heed no woman's sorrows, no man's groans,
    No flag of freedom in the breeze unfurled.
    Your passion is destruction, you would make
    A world-wide graveyard full of dead men's bones.
    Whence reeks a stench that sickens all the world.
  F. J. Webb (1916)

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