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International Socialism, Spring 1962


Notes of the Quarter

1. No Bombs and No Illusions


From International Socialism (1st series), No.8, Spring 1962, p.1.
Thanks to Ted Crawford & the late Will Fancy.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


The H-Bomb is still there. So are the men who are prepared to use it. And if we remind ourselves of the monstrous crime against humanity which our Government so steadfastly contemplates committing, we may at times become pessimistic about the effects of our activities. If we do, we are making a grave mistake. We are quite right to shed our illusions. Passing resolutions inside the Labour Party will not of itself end the bomb. Nor will mass civil disobedience. But we should merely be exchanging one set of illusions for another if we therefore concluded that passing resolutions or taking part in civil disobedience is simply useless.

We are at a stage in political history at which old forms of organisation are crumbling. In five years time the Labour Party and the trade unions will have had to face the new gap between political and industrial action. The limits of parliamentarianism will have become much plainer. Sharper forms of struggle will develop outside Parliament. The habitual responses of both bureaucracy and rank-and-file will have become irrelevant. But we cannot go home and wait until this has happened. It is our responsibility to see that the central issues by means of which people define their action are those of the H-Bomb and its essential connection with the social order of capitalism. What do we have to do to achieve this?

For the moment we have to continue mobilising all the forces which are available for the struggle for unilateralism. All the tasks which we have undertaken remain relevant. Passing resolutions in the Labour Party is not undertaken simply to capture a disintegrating political machine. It is to reintegrate wherever we can on unilateralist and socialist principles. Work in the Unions is not a failure because Trade Unionists remain so non-political. We have to create political nuclei in the Trade Unions precisely to meet and withstand the trend. Sitting down in Trafalgar Square or at USAF bases is not justified only if the Americans thereupon fly home. It makes visible a form of revolt around which young people can regroup for the next advance.

The word must therefore be: no counsels of despair to replace our illusions of the past. But instead, we must educate ourselves, and this in an understanding of how we cannot get rid of the H-Bomb without dealing with the social forces which create it. Education in socialism has to become a first priority for the Campaign against the Bomb.

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