The struggle for peace

During the Cold War the bourgeoisie accepted the need to disgorge a fraction of their wealth to fund state welfare in Britain and throughout Western Europe.

This was done to boost social-democracy in parliament and in the unions and stave off the threat of communism. It helped block the advance of the communist movement in western Europe and ultimately it encouraged the left social-democratic and revisionist trends that ultimately destroyed the mass communist movements in France and Italy.

It ended when the counter-revolutionary wave of the late 1980s, led by Gorbachov and the other traitors in the Kremlin, destroyed the Soviet Union and the people’s democracies of eastern Europe. We were told we would be rewarded with a “peace dividend” when the Cold War ended. But there was no peace as the people of Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan soon found out. There was, however, a real “dividend” for the ruling class who, no longer fearing the spectre of communism, moved to slash welfare and public spending to provide more tax breaks for the rich.

The anti-war movement played a major role in the campaign to get British troops out of Iraq. This year we need to focus on the demand for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all British troops from Afghanistan and keep up the fight for the scrapping of Trident and the so-called “independent” nuclear deterrent.