On Saturday 27th February, tens of thousands gathered in London for Britain’s largest anti-nuclear demonstration in a generation, organised by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Socialist Appeal supporters were present, calling on workers and youth to “fight the madness of capitalism”.
On Saturday 27th February, tens of thousands of trade unionists, youth, and local activists gathered in London for Britain’s largest anti-nuclear demonstration in a generation, organised by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). The Marxist Student Federation (MSF) was present with a lively bloc near the front of the demonstration, and Socialist Appeal supporters were present with the latest issue of the paper, calling on workers and youth to “fight the madness of capitalism”.
Once the march to Trafalgar Square started moving, thanks to the volume and militancy of the MSF bloc, many joined in with our chants, which called not only for an end to Trident, but for a socialist revolution as the only solution to the problems of war and austerity facing society today.
The attitude on the demonstration was one of huge anger towards the Tory government and towards the whole Establishment. One MSF activist, on his first ever big demonstration, described the day, saying that,
“Being at the demonstration and seeing just how many people care about the global impact of a renewal of Trident shows us that people desperately want radical change. We need to raise the need for a revolution, which is the only way to effectively solve these issues created by capitalism. To meet the MSF comrades for the first time, from all over the country, and a few Marxists from abroad, was a morale boost because it made me realise the potential for our ideas.”
Almost everyone we spoke to at the demo, however, knew that it would be impossible to prevent the renewal of Trident under the current Tory government. One protester, who was enthused by the Socialist Appeal paper, was especially disillusioned about the current political situation, saying, “I know that the Tories will renew Trident and in a way I feel that this demonstration is useless. But I still feel like I have to do something.”
For people like her, Jeremy Corbyn – who joined the CND when he was sixteen – represents the hope for a nuclear-free future. Corbyn – despite attacks from Blairites within his party who attempt to use his support for CND to sabotage him – spoke at the demo in Trafalgar Square, where he called for not only an end to Trident, but also implicitly for an end to imperialist war. He said,
“We live in a world where so many things are possible. Where peace is possible…You achieve peace through democracy, through respect for human rights, through ending inequality, through sharing resources. You don’t achieve peace through planning for war and grabbing each other’s resources and not respecting human rights.”
In Corbyn’s call for a global end to inequality, and instead for international cooperation, he exposed the true roots of Trident and other forms of militarism. The reasons for such weapons of mass destruction lie not in the need to defend the nation from outside attacks, but on the pride and prestige of the imperialist ruling class and the needs of the capitalist system.
This is precisely why the Blairites, a Fifth Column of big business inside the Labour party, are so determined to keep Trident. Britain’s maintenance and renewal of Trident is useful not for defence, but for the ruling classes who are desperately trying to maintain Britain’s image as an important imperialist power, despite the fact that the country has both economically and politically faded on the world stage, due to the long term decline and crisis of British capitalism. A lack of investment in production and a reliance instead on financial speculation has led to a particularly acute crisis of the capitalist system and the whole Establishment in Britain.
Only global socialism can end global militarism; and only a bold socialist programme can put an end to Trident. As the CND points out, we could spend the money wasted on these nuclear weapons on 1.5 million affordable homes, on creating jobs, housing, education and healthcare. The fact that a majority of the British people are in favour of scrapping Trident – and yet this scrapping is portrayed as a mad, suicidal idea by the British ruling class – exposes the egotistic and anti-democratic nature of capitalism. We must end Trident and militarism not just by getting rid of the Tories, but by ending the capitalist system once and for all, and moving onwards to a brighter, socialist future.
- Kick out the Tories!
- Kick out the bosses!
- Down with Trident! Down with capitalism!