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Friday, 2 June 2017

Jeremy Corbyn on War and Nuclear Weapons

Jeremy Corbyn feigns pacifism. As a fan of Marx, Lenin, Castro, Mao, the Soviet Union, Che Guevara, Chairman Mao, Venezuelan socialism (he praised Hugo Chavez), the IRA, Hamas and Hezbollah, we should doubt his words.

As a socialist, he obviously believes that capitalism is literally the cause of all wars. And that's why he moved from saying the following (to CNN): “Going to war creates a , legacy of bitterness and problems...” To saying this:

... with grotesque levels of global inequality, grotesque threats to our environment all around the world.... those people don't end up in poverty, in refugee camps, wasting their lives away.”

The utopian solution to all wars is, of course, global socialism. In other words, the dismantling of capitalism and parliamentary democracy. Sure, Corbyn utilises parliamentary democracy today; though considering his fierce criticisms of it (alongside his collectivist and supposedly worker-led models of democracy), he would like to fundamentally alter it.

Corbyn also says that “[n]uclear weapons are not a defence”. Yet it can be argued that they have been a defence for the last 65 years or so. No state has attacked the United Kingdom in that time. Some on the Left (though not Corbyn!) say that the European Union and United Nations have “secured the peace”. That's not the case in Europe since we only joined the Common Market in 1973/5. (The Single European Act dates back to 1987.) And, in global terms, the UN has often been a complete failure.

In any case, there's a very good chance that Corbyn hasn't always been against nuclear weapons. For example, many Leftists/Marxists/communists like Corbyn weren't against the Soviet Union having nuclear weapons in the past. Indeed, infamously, many socialist/communist members of CND - during the 1950s, 60s and beyond - weren't against nuclear weapons at all. They were against Western “capitalist states” having them. They were all in favour of the Soviet Union having them.

Like the Stop the War Coalition (StWC), which Corbyn led until 2016 (even after he became Deputy Prime Minister): it isn't against war either. It's against wars fought by Western “capitalist states” for “imperialist ends”. The StWC, and therefore Corbyn, is in favour of wars fought by socialists or communist states and wars fought by “national liberation movements” (such as, in the past, the IRA). Thus it's who's doing the fighting that determines Corbyn and StWC's position on war.

To repeat, Corbyn isn't necessarily – or at all – against nuclear weapons. He's against a capitalist state - the United Kingdom - having them. That's not a pacifist position. That's not the position of a “man of peace”.

So Corbyn also said that he

would not take a decision that kills millions of people, I do not believe the threat of mass murder is a legitimate way to go about dealing with international relations”.

Corbyn is missing the point about nuclear weapons. That is, because of mutually-assured destruction, and nuclear deterrence generally, no leader has ever needed to “kill millions of people”; at least not for the last 60 years or so. Thus his words are cheap rhetoric under the guise of pacifism. And from a Marxist socialist, this stuff about peace really is rich.

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