This Remembrance Sunday, David Cameron and his government, and indeed the entire British establishment, are seeking to whip up sentiments of jingoism and false patriotism ahead of next year’s World War One centenary. They claim to be remembering and celebrating Britain’s fallen service men and women. The YCL recognises that in this they are only hijacking the legacy of Britain’s war dead for their own interests; perpetuating support for further imperialist war. In this they tarnish and desecrate the entire legacy and ideal of remembrance, for the war that was supposed to end all wars.
The First World War is celebrated with particular zeal in this country. We look to the bravery and sacrifice of British soldiers in that conflict and cannot help but be humbled. However what will Mr Cameron tell the country those men and women died for? For democracy in Europe? The vast majority of British people could not vote until 1918. It is Lenin who lived in that tumultuous period who describes the real nature of the war in Europe:
“The war of 1914-18 was imperialist (that is, an annexationist, predatory, war of plunder) on the part of both sides; it was a war for the division of the world, for the partition and repartition of colonies and spheres of influence of finance capital.”
The motivations of the British ruling class to enter the war were exactly same as that of the French, German, Austrian or Russian ruling classes:
“The so-called Great Powers have long been exploiting and enslaving a whole number of small and weak nations. And the imperialist war is a war for the division and re-division of this kind of booty.”
The YCL calls on the British youth to engage with Remembrance Day in a different way. We must take it as a poignant reminder of the horror of war. We can never forget that millions of working people all over Europe were betrayed into slaughtering each other in the interests of their respective ruling classes, their exploiters. The ‘land of heroes’ to which many soldiers returned was one of chronic unemployment, hardship and poverty. It is equally important to remember the victims of British imperialism all over the world from past to present day.
Our aim of a socialist society offers the only true solution for forever ending the scourge of war on this planet, which in the age of nuclear weapons threatens mankind’s very existence. Lenin explained:
“We say: our aim is to achieve a socialist system of society, which, by eliminating the division of mankind into classes, by eliminating all exploitation of man by man and nation by nation, will inevitably eliminate the very possibility of war.”
This Remembrance Sunday, when the heirs of those who sent millions to their graves try to exploit their memories remember the words of last British tommy, veteran Harry Patch:
“War is organised murder and nothing else….politicians who took us to war should have been given the guns and told to settle their differences themselves, instead of organising nothing better than legalised mass murder”.