Showing posts with label cnd. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cnd. Show all posts

Sunday, January 04, 2015

"Challenge to CND"

Letters to the Editors from the July 1983 issue of the Socialist Standard

Dear Comrades,

Please find enclosed cutting from Motherwell Times, which contains a challenge to debate with the CND. A further challenge to debate has been issued to all the political parties engaged in the forthcoming general election, only in more general terms, and has been published in this week's issue of Hamilton and Motherwell People, a free drop paper issued every week under the auspices of the Hamilton Advertiser. So far we await reaction.

Comrade Murphy was a founder member of the old Hamilton Branch which functioned from 1935 to 1945, during which period I was secretary and then transferred to Glasgow Branch and continued membership. Motherwell and Hamilton—three miles apart and separated on the north and south banks of the River Clyde—lie right in the heart of the industrial belt of Scotland. Motherwell has more or less boxed the political compass and, with the exception of the SDP who are too recent, have chopped and changed for every reformist party over the years, and having the dubious honour of electing the first Communist Party member (Walton Newbold) and the first Scottish Nationalist (Dr. Robert McIntyre) to sit in Parliament. Labour have held the seat in 1946. Hamilton has been consistently Labour since 1918 with one exception, when the Scottish Nationalists won a by-election, but reverted to Labour at the following general election and has remained so ever since.

The industrial belt, traditionally dependent on shipbuilding and heavy engineering, has felt some of the worst effects of the present slump, as it did in the 1930s. Hamilton is no longer a coal town, and the only colliery left in Lanarkshire (Cardowan Stepps) is due for closure. Motherwell, so dependent on the Ravenscraig Steel Compound, is almost devastated by the cuts operating under the McGregor Plan for British Steel brought on by the world crisis dominating government policy no matter what reformist party governs.

It is not my intention to bore you with a particular description of capitalism as it is the world over, but only to give cheer in the knowledge that once our party principles and policy are understood and accepted, they stick. Although we are now reduced to three in number and would seem to have been quiescent over the years, our interest in the activities of Glasgow has always been keen and only the onslaught of age (we are all well in our seventies) prevents us from attending meetings regularly.

Yours for Socialism. Tommy Jones.
ex-secretary of the old Hamilton Branch.

"Challenge to CND"

Sir, — Today in the 1980s the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament is expanding its membership at a rapid rate. It makes an emotional appeal to people's understandable fears of the effects of a nuclear war.

Since it was founded in 1958, CND has seen the number of nuclear weapons in the world multiply hundreds of times over, but it has consistently refused to discuss what actually causes wars.

When people really start to escape from the fears and prejudices that plague well-intentioned bodies such as CND, it will not just be just a matter of 'ban the bomb'; it will be the end of all wars and of the economic rivalries between national ruling classes that cause them.

I challenge the CND to debate with a representative of the Socialist Party of Great Britain on the question, The Case Against CND. — Yours, etc., R. Murphy, 73 Calder Grove, Motherwell.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Faslane Futility

 There has been a tradition of anti-nuclear protest in Scotland since the early 1960s when the US Navy established a base for their submarines at Dunoon on the Holy Loch. The Scottish National Party, the Scottish Socialist Party and the Scottish Green Party all oppose the deployment of nuclear weapons. It is not unusual for members of these Scottish political parties, and indeed some from the Labour Party, to attend rallies outside Faslane. Both George Galloway and Tommy Sheridan have been arrested in demonstrations.

 The Faslane peace camp began 30 years ago. It was set-up as a Scottish version of Greenham Common. After all those years the camp is still there - and so are the warheads.

 Eric Thompson was commodore of the naval base in the mid-90s says: "Our original security concerns were Russian special forces, for which we had a barbed wire fence. Then we started worrying about the IRA, so we had a double-barbed wire fence but it was actually the peace camp and political embarrassment which kept us on our toes." He recalls one incident in which three peace campers managed to get into the base dressed as Santa Claus. "They were actually in the sights of an armed Royal Marine guarding the jetty and he could have taken all three of them out but he decided shooting Santa Claus was not going to be a good idea."

Mahatma Gandhi counselled non-violent resistance to nuclear war. People should get out of their homes and look the pilots in the eye as best they could. With love and prayer, and without hatred for their killers above, they were to offer themselves willingly in sacrifice. Aircrew were thus given the opportunity for redemption before bombs away. He hoped that the gesture of accepting death would be transformative for those who commit mass murder in pursuit of their political objectives.Clearly, Gandhi hadn’t banked on missiles. These days against the scourge of nuclear weapons, the human race has little more than the thin line of activists at places like the Faslane Peace Camp. They paddle out in their little dinghies to confront British nuclear submarines to remind us all that these weapons are not worthy of human possession. Each day it becomes more obvious that mankind must choose between the security of a peaceful society, which only conscious action can bring about, and the insecurity of militarism.

It is not just a matter of "Stop Trident". It is about ending of all wars and the economic competition between national ruling classes that cause them. It requires advocating policies and taking actions which will make war impossible, by removing its causes. As long as there are economic rivalries for wars to be fought over, wars will take place and, whatever the weapons of choice, death and destruction will be the result.