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Issue #1930      August 31, 2020

Two roads before us, war or peace

This article was originally published in Tribune, 1950.

Peace is World Priority No.1. All need peace. On the road to peace, Britain’s major problems, housing, health, education, security, could be solved

overnight.

War costs Britain £800 million a year – soon probably to be £1,000 million. With assured peace, military expenditure could drop to £250 million or less.

That saving of £550 million a year could build 1,200 houses a day, or six first-class schools, or two to three first-class hospitals.

More than that, with assured peace we could release for real education and profitable production hundreds of thousands of our conscript youth.

If, on the other hand, we tread the road to war, we move to the edge of an abyss. Atom bombs will fly. Every devilry will be released.

At Hiroshima one atom bomb killed 70,000 persons in a moment of time, with a quarter of a million other casualties. Babies subsequently born were deformed monstrosities.

The promised hydrogen bomb is to be even more destructive. A fiendish weapon, its manufacture wasting fabulous millions, with no prospect whatsoever of any useful by-products in the process.

Other weapons are already proposed and prepared; bacteriological weapons, cheaper to produce and probably more deadly in action.

Two roads lie before us — war or peace.

What blocks the road to peace?

One obstacle and one alone. Hostility to Russia. Determination at all cost to maintain privilege, to check the spread of Socialism and Communism.

On Russia therefore must the blame be laid. So the Press screams its slogans: Russia expands; Russia seeks to dominate the world; Russia plans war.

It is monstrously untrue. Russia’s main concern is peace. Stalin made peace moves in 1946, 1947, 1948 and 1949, to Elliot Roosevelt, to Henry Wallace, to Stassen, to Kingsbury Smith.

Mere bluff, it was said. This is nonsense. Six solid facts underline the truth of Stalin’s peace proposals.

Russia wants peace, because Russia needs peace. Deeply concerned with raising industrial potential to the highest possible level, based solidly on the latest achievements of science, including atomic energy, Russia finds war and war preparations an intolerable hindrance.

The Russian economy welcomes peace because Russian economy can consume all that it produces. Higher production spells higher living standards for all. The spectre of unemployment never haunts a planned economy.

That Russia neither plans war nor expects war is revealed by her Five-Year Plans, which invest more capital in Latvia, for instance – so vulnerably near to the West – than in Moscow itself. Revealed also by her fearless rebuilding of houses, colleges, factories, rather than tanks and planes.

Russia spends only seventeen per cent of her budget on war, less than before 1940.

Russia never uttered words of war, or threats to atomise other peoples with bombs. Russia has organised at home a great campaign for peace. Hitler also spoke peace abroad, but at home he spoke war.

Russia stands solidly behind the movements for outlawing atom bombs and all weapons of mass destruction. She says ban the bomb, disarm, produce for peace.

Russia rejects the Baruch Plan, which had ulterior motives, detrimental to the development of Russian industry.

The Baruch Plan demands an international committee, on which the US would have a decisive majority, to exercise complete control over the world’s resources of atomic power, with right for inspection of every country (giving, incidentally, valuable information to the US Army and Air Force) before they even discuss ceasing the manufacture of bombs themselves.

Russia has her own plans for atom-bomb control.

Abolition of all weapons of mass destruction, freedom for all to use atomic energy for peaceful purposes, together with effective inspection; these are Russia’s peace proposals.

Turn now to the West, does Western economy welcome an assured peace?

The scales are weighted on the other side.

The US consume only seventy-five per cent, of what they produce; industrial production dropped last year by twenty-two per cent; coal output by thirty-one per cent; railroad loading by twenty per cent; departmental sales 12-14 per cent. Unemployment in the US now touches the four million figure.

All this drop occurred despite a furious armament drive fanned by the press fantasy of Russia’s warlike intentions. And the decline proceeds, despite vast army contracts.

The US reject a planned economy. American capitalists also dread a peace which makes war equipment superfluous.

American economy is a war economy, as Russia’s is a peace economy. Hence the reiterated cry as a smoke-screen, that Russia expands, that Russia seeks to dominate the world.

It is false. Russia has not expanded.

The area of the Soviet Union is smaller today than that of Tsarist Russia to which we took no exception.

Then, Russian sovereignty included all the Balkan lands. Yalta agreed to Russia’s resumption of those lands, and it was Churchill himself who said, Russia is in fact accepting frontiers which over immense distances are 200 to 300 miles further to the East.

But it is the US which expands. The US have secured 489 airplane bases around the Soviet Union, in strategic positions for assault.

America spends seventy-five per cent, of her budget on war purposes.

America’s Marshall Plan reestablishes capitalism on the basis of Wall Street monopoly, arresting reconstruction and crippling industrial development. The Marshall Plan rebuilds the Nazi war machine.

Under the Atlantic Pact the US supply the arms, Europe the cannon fodder for fighting Russia.

Following this sinister lead, we speed headlong down the road to war.

We must and can cry halt. We can make friendly overtures to Russia, and Stalin’s repeated offers half-way.

We can open the flood gates of trade between East and West, securing, by exchange with our fine craftsmanship, the foodstuffs, timber, and raw materials we need.

Cutting our war expenditure, like Russia, to pre-war standards, we can save hundreds of millions of pounds and sever the strings of the Marshall Plan.

We can build, as Russia and Eastern Europe are building on the lines of a spacious plan, a new and progressively mounting standard of life for all.

Through understanding with Russia alone we can secure peace.

Through Socialist and Communist planning alone we can secure prosperity.

Next article – Menzies plans pool of unemployed – Vital weapon in anti-union drive

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