The local elections should not be determined by narrow, local issues, but should be looked upon as part of a greater political struggle in which an opportunity is afforded to vote against the world as it exists at present, to vote for a change in this world as proposed by the platform upon which our candidates and running, the platform Clapham East ward of the London Borough of Lambeth and the other in the Pantiles & St. Marks ward of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council in Kent of the Socialist Party. The terrible Ukraine conflict that has engulfed the whole world is a reality from which no one can escape. To forget this all-important fact is to make a very serious blunder. The war is something that affects every human being whether one likes it or not, whether one knows it or not. Necessarily it affects those who suffer and die on the battlefield but whoever and wherever we are, we cannot escape its clutches. The families who finds that almost daily their house-keeping is shrinking by virtue of the increased cost of living; the worker who is urged to give up the extra pay for his overtime, none of them can escape from the effects of this all-embracing catastrophe.
The statement is made and repeated over and over again that all sections of the population will have to sacrifice. But sacrifice is a relative term. The undeniable fact is that proportionately the common people will sacrifice infinitely more than the bankers and industrialists. What is more, big business is doing its utmost to shift the burdens of the war onto the shoulders of the working class.
As the war will continue, and the probability is that it will continue for quite a long time, the standard of living for working people will become lower and lower. We have been warned by persons high in administration circles that workers must be prepared to live under a standard lower than that which prevailed in the darkest days of the pandemic. But remember this: that the persons controlling the armament corporations that have received war orders amounting to millions will not suffer any by virtue of the war. Their profits will continue.
The members of the Socialist Party have for many years predicted the coming of another war. Were we able to do so because we are more intelligent or more far-sighted? Not in the least. We were able to predict this war because the theory of socialism teaches us that the basis of all modern wars is the conflicts between the various nations controlled by capitalist groups struggling for colonies, for markets, for raw materials, for spheres of influence, and by virtue of that socialist theory, we could state definitely that at one time or another if the capitalist system is permitted to exist, wars must come. The people of every country want peace, but their wants and their desires have no effect so long as the present economic order exists.
There are many sincere and honest people who think that by defeating Russia, peace will ultimately be brought to this world. But socialists who understand the real nature of war must say frankly and openly that permanent peace can come only when the peoples of the world will unite in a world socialist cooperative commonwealth with the object of producing the things that are required to satisfy the needs of human beings. In such a cooperative commonwealth no one and no group will be permitted to make a profit out of the labour of others. Economic rivalries will be abolished and the cause of wars will be abolished. Permanent and real peace will come only through socialism and it is this idea that the Socialist Party represents.
The millions of people who believe that Russian nationalism will be ended through a victory of the Ukrainian nationalists will discover that nationalism is a result not of the evil mind of Vladimir Putin, but a result of the terrible conditions brought about by the failure of the capitalist system to satisfy the needs of all the people.