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Buried Treasure: selections from the Peace News archives

30 years ago: Stop This War

PN was naturally a leading voice in the opposition to the Falklands War, both in terms of its own editorial line and in its promoting of the views of the main British pacifist organisations and the international networks to which they were affiliated.

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.

From the 16 April 1982 issue of Peace News.

Buried Treasure is compiled by Albert Beale, author of Against All War: 50 years of Peace News.