Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 48 Number 22, November 11, 2018 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

Commemorating the Centenary of the End of the First World War

May Day demonstration in Scotland in 1917

Sunday, November 11, marked Remembrance Day, the centenary of the signing of the Armistice which brought World War One to an end. The subsequent peace treaties, as is well known, were a factor in laying the grounds for the growth of fascism and World War Two. The First World War was an inter-imperialist war, a war in which working men were sent to the slaughter as empires clashed to redivide the world. The high ideals of a War to End All Wars, of duty to king and country, to empire, were shown to be a cover, a false justification, for this horrendous clash of the imperialist warmongers. Yet these same values are promoted under the rubric of "Lest we forget", that the dead are the glorious ones, because they made the supreme sacrifice. In Britain, the two world wars are being equated as both being fought for freedom against a heinous enemy.

But such an interpretation is not being unchallenged. While the big powers, including Britain, are utilising the occasion to speak of international security while preparing for war and stepping up military spending and the arms industries, the masses of the people are affirming that the truth must be told, that they must organise themselves for peace. They are affirming that people from all walks of life are refusing to glorify this slaughter, that this occasion is one for speaking the truth, for releasing the initiative of the people as the force for peace, that they view the fight for peace from a different vantage point than the hypocrisy and double-dealing of those that head pro-war governments of the day.

The working class and people will not forget the nature of inter-imperialist war, and based on their experience will organise to take their fate into their own hands. If sacrifices are to be made, they will be made to bring into being a society which is profoundly democratic and will indeed put an end to war.


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