30 years ago: Stop This War

IssueApril 2012
Comment by Albert Beale

The prospect of war over the Falkland Islands has been viewed with enthusiasm by headline writers, and politicians of all persuasions have been competing in jingoistic declarations that Britain should show it is still a great power. They entirely miss the essential point that the outbreak of violence can only lead to deaths and casualties among the Falklanders themselves as well as servicemen.

This is the central argument of the statement by British pacifists we reprint here. It calls for a settlement through the agency of the United Nations.

Clearly, there must be a negotiated settlement eventually, and war is indeed a bloody path to the conference table.

To some of us, the situation borders on the farcical, and that lives may be sacrificed on the altar of national pride is nothing short of madness.

This same national pride is a major reason for retaining an independent nuclear capability, to keep in the elite nuclear club.

But on reflection, it is quite in keeping with the values of society.... It is a society based on competition and hierarchy, where if you don’t win you must be seen as the loser; if you don’t dominate, you must submit.

Ultimately, a society based on the assertion of a stereotyped ‘masculinity’ where being tough, aggressive, and commanding obedience, is admired, and making concessions, showing fear or weakness, is despised.

That is why PN in its opposition to war recognises the necessity of remaking the relationships of our everyday lives.

The values taught in the authoritarian family, the competitive school, the hierarchical working situation, are the very values that have brought us to the brink of war. They must be changed.

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