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Only workers can end our rulers’ barbaric world of war

This article is over 9 years, 6 months old
Issue 2415

Scrounger (Pic: Number 10 / Flickr)

The news has been dominated by the outbreak of the First World War and Israel’s assault on Gaza.

For the media, “remembrance” is very different from remembering the slaughter. It is all about someone—preferably royal—pontificating about sacrifice for freedom and democracy.

The reality is the First World War was the most savage imperialist slaughter the world  had ever seen at that time.

As war continued it was exposed as a naked imperialist conflict. With their attempts to rehabilitate Britain’s role, David Cameron, Jeremy Paxman and their ilk are trying to glue back the fig leaf.

Far from being the war to end all wars, the slaughter was the start of what Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin called “an epoch of wars and revolutions”. 

Many working class people and colonial subjects rebelled when they saw the reality of the war, even though many initially supported it. 

The Great Powers sowed the seeds of future conflicts as they pursued their narrow interests. One such decision was the Balfour declaration in 1917, when Britain decided to support the creation of a state of Israel.

Sir Ronald Storrs, the first British governor of Jerusalem, said that Israel could offer the British Empire “a little loyal Jewish Ulster in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism”.

He took his example from Ireland where Britain’s rulers had settled people as a tool of empire. And though the imperial players have changed that is what Israel has remained.


The First World War ended in a mass of mutinies, rebellions and revolutions. With the success of the 1917 workers’ revolution in Russia ordinary people saw an alternative.

The revolution was led by Lenin and the Bolshevik Party.  They saw that workers have the power to win socialism, but only by overthrowing capitalism, not reforming it.  And it can only be done by challenging racism and imperialism.

Later their ideas were distorted and abandoned as Russia became isolated and Joseph Stalin came to rule.  The imperial powers got over their differences to attempt to drown this beacon in blood.

Our rulers have always battled to convince people that there is no alternative to the way they run the world.

The Socialist Workers Party has always fought to keep alive the tradition of liberation. 

We have supported workers whenever they strike against Tory austerity.  We have challenged the demonisation of Muslims and immigrants, the fascist BNP and the racism of Ukip.  And we have protested against imperialist wars whether in Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine or Palestine.  

If you are disgusted by imperialism and war, then join us.

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