Ted Grant

Socialist foreign policy

Source: Socialist Fight, vol. 4 no. 9 (October 1962)
Transcription: Francesco 2009
Proofread: Fred 2009
Markup: Manuel 2009

The large number of resolutions at the Labour Party conference on nuclear testing and foreign policy demonstrate the concern of the ranks of the labour movement at the present impasse in international affairs. The Americans and Russians take turns at polluting the atmosphere by their nuclear tests. At the same time the manoeuvring in international diplomacy continues at an even higher tension than in the past.

The lying propaganda that the defeat of the German, Japanese and Italian imperialists would bring peace to the world has been completely falsified by the arms race following the Second World War. Britain is spending £1,800 million, America £18,000 million and Russia £10,000 million to £12,000 million a year on armaments. The attempt by British imperialism to keep up with the super-powers of America and Russia has virtually bankrupted her and is one of the major causes of inflation.

The major cause of the crisis is the fundamental antagonism between the nationalized economy of the Soviet Union and the other workers’ states and the capitalist powers of the world, especially the United States. They cannot co-operate and live together in the long run. That is why the United Nations remains merely a forum for all the powers, where only secondary conflicts are solved. It cannot bring permanent peace as the history of the post-war world has shown.

No agreement

Even to agree on the cessation of nuclear arms testing, which affect the health of the peoples of the world, has not been possible up to the present time.

The United Nations is not a power in itself, but merely reflects the relation of forces in the world between the powers. The so-called neutral bloc balances uneasily between the great powers. It cannot maintain an independent role.

Labour workers should demand that the Labour Party stick to fundamental socialist principles on this question. As a first step we should demand the end of nuclear testing and a ban on the bomb. But this will not solve the problem. Nuclear arms highlight the destructive capacities of modern science and industry, bacteriological, chemical and other means of warfare could be just as deadly if not worse even than nuclear arms.

Workers always lose

What then is the way out of this impasse? Socialists have always taught that war was not a question of the wickedness of individuals but the result of the conflicts caused by private ownership and profit and the existence of separate national states. There is only one class which loses in war and that is the working class. There is only one force stronger than any weapon of mass destruction and that is the international solidarity of the working class. Workers in America, in Russia, in Germany and in Britain, like the workers everywhere, have their class interests in common. It is to them and not to the rulers of the world, that the labour movement must look for a solution of the problem of peace.

The labour movement in Britain, by fighting for a socialist Britain, can give a lead to the world. American imperialism thrives by pointing an accusing finger at the totalitarianism of the Soviet bureaucracy. The Soviet bureaucracy secures its hold over the Soviet masses by pointing to the danger of capitalist intervention as happened under Churchill in the intervention against the revolution and as with Hitler’s attack. A socialist democratic Britain could appeal to the American workers and to the workers of the Soviet Union.

Sugary illusions

Russia’s arms are intended as a protection. But the Soviet Government cannot solve its problems by flying in the face of the world working class. Lenin warned during the first world war against “sugary illusions” disseminated by the Labour leaders that the war would finally result in peace. He said that unless the war was ended by a series of successful Socialist revolutions there would be a second, a third and a tenth World War till civilisation was destroyed. However, due to modern techniques, it is now possible to exterminate all mankind in a third World War.

Mobilise the people round the issue of nuclear arms which dramatizes the problem. Demand that the money saved be spent on raising living standards everywhere. The technique and the resources are there. Use them for construction not destruction. End the system that leads to war. Fight for a socialist Britain in a socialist world.