Every government will give a pretext based on personalities, incidents or ideologies to justify fighting wars; but when examined closely this can be seen as camouflage. The true motivations are economic — protection of the interests of their capitalist class.
The streets of the world's cities are frequently filled by banner-carrying slogan-chanting protesters made up of earnest individuals from all walks of life and of all manner of opinions and beliefs marching and deploring another outrage. All credit to them (one might observe) that they have the courage of their convictions to get out and do what must surely stick in the throats of so many others, more apathetic and uncaring. Unfortunately, protest isn’t nearly enough. Our economic and political masters lose little sleep by such demonstrations as the true responsibility for the human misery, capitalism itself is rarely challenged. Without a true recognition of the cause they undermine a proper understanding of the capitalist system’s culpability in creating the conditions for war. But—worst of all—they drain workers of energy we can ill afford to waste in what should properly be our common struggle to achieve enlightenment without which socialism, our only remaining hope and goal, is not possible.
Instead of campaigning for the end of war, we should be campaigning for a different kind of system, one that excludes the possibility of war. It should be obvious that the capitalist governments of the world arm against each other and go to war because they must, war being the logical and necessary outcome of their economic trade wars. Is it to be expected that our capitalist masters, armed to the teeth to defend their private property, will scrap their armaments, disband their armed forces and voluntarily surrender their hold on the world’s wealth merely in response to an appeal from peace marchers?
Shocking though it is, and difficult though it may be to reconcile oneself to it, the most common attitude to war is relative indifference. Workers whose political consciousness has been hampered by their “educators” and by the mass-media are unwilling to identify with, and therefore do not care deeply about, such matters. We seem to be inured to the sufferings of others, however graphically they may be illustrated. But then, as is implicit in the above, perhaps that very presentation is, in part at least, responsible for this indifference. The bloody images flickering away in the corners of our living-rooms are taken as being a battle for TV ratings. Perhaps we can no longer discriminate between fact and fiction. Have we become as callous and insensitive that it blunts any attempt to understand the true plight of those millions of our fellow-workers who needlessly die in many different horrible ways.
We have never been encouraged to understand the true reasons why otherwise normal men and women have this “inexplicable" capacity to behave so cruelly toward their fellow human beings—of whatever nationality. In the absence of any such understanding it is all too often put down to “human nature”; or “God’s will”; or “Fate”; or some other metaphysical characterisation. The Socialist Party answers the true—and only—reason - because a tiny handful of greedy and power-hungry wealth-owners and their acolytes seek to preserve and enhance their class status. Our masters would rather wade up to their waists in our blood rather than concede an iota to their foreign competitors. Nothing can be allowed to stand in the path of the ruling class; most certainly not the pain and suffering of the innocent who have been slaughtered like cattle in their wars, dying in ignorance of the true reasons for their pointless sacrifice and martyrdom.
Instead of allowing their emotions to be stirred by being among massive crowds and hearing dramatic rousing speeches, peace activists would do better to mull over whether their protests, whatever their sincerity and commitment, serve any real purpose.
They might also consider whether they wouldn’t do better to use their energy in a movement actively engaged in spreading the idea of a class-free, frontier-free world based on free access and voluntary co-operation, a world in which war, an inevitable feature of the present economic set-up, would serve no purpose and have no place. The need for socialist understanding is greater than ever, to urge people to look deeply into the terrible problems of capitalist society, deeper than the slogans and the banners.
Nothing short of a social revolution will prevent humanity from staggering from one massacre to another.