by Ken Ferguson • 73 years after the US dropped Atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki the shape of the infamous mushroom cloud still hangs over humanity and menaces our very existence.
Elsewhere in this Voice we set out both some of the campaigning work and activity taking place to combat that menace and examine the uses the skills of workers in arms firms might be put to.
Of course during the 40+ years nuclear stand off between the US and the Soviet Union under the aptly titled MAD doctrine (Mutually Assured Destruction) control over the nukes was strictly exercised.
Indeed it is now known that on both the Soviet and US sides the launch of missiles when, for example, a flock of geese was mistaken for enemy weapons, war was prevented by middle ranking officers.
These actions almost certainly saved the planet and its people from nuclear destruction.
However after the supposed “end of history,” what we now face is a US President who communicates via Twitter, is contemptuous of his military and intelligence advisers and throws threats around like confetti.
Under this pressure, NATO—already on the Russian border—pledges even greater arms spending, sparking an escalating response from Putin’s autocratic regime.
Never has the urgent need to scrap Trident and ban the ever growing nuclear arsenals been greater.
If humanity got used to the ever-present threat of nuclear war after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, its terrifying twin the environmental crisis has been silently gathering pace.
Years of climate change denial by the likes of Lord Lawson and a pack of corporate lobbyists may have delayed action to deal with the climate crisis but the crisis itself is real enough.
Massive fires rage in California, Spain and Greece while across Southern Europe temperatures soar to levels that are on the lip edge of endangering life.
The wide agreement that humanity has now entered what is termed the Anthropocene, an age in which human activity is the decisive factor in climate change is daily confirmed by events.
Of course these twin dangers share the common feature that they are not acts of god but the product of human beings and flow from the structures and demands of the societies they have created.
The same—though often contested by its supporters—is of course true of the economy and who it serves.
No amount of market propagandists sunshine stories can disguise the reality of today’s challenges facing millions in a world dominated by the priorities of financiers and big business.
Insecure work via zero hours contracts, presented by the fat cat’s spin doctors as “choice” for workers has in reality reimposed a modern serfdom on thousands while, in Scotland more than a million people—most of them in work—struggle to make ends meet in poverty.
Problems such as finding secure affordable homes once at least largely met by public housing from councils has re-emerged in the 21st century as a result of decades of knock down priced council house sales and a failure to build.
Again these problems are a direct result of planned policy choices made by a Tory regime determined to to turn all aspects of our life from services to shareholders profit centres—a policy readily picked up by New Labour.
The result is soaring rents, a public transport system which is both high cost and poor quality, constant cuts in public services such as the NHS and frozen pay and sackings for those who work in them.
Early socialist pioneers painted a vision of the ever growing knowledge and technology harnessed by society for the benefit of the people.
Now we almost daily here reports of a new wonder drug or treatment which can arrest or cure another dread disease rapidly followed by drug company crocodile tears about how its cost means we can’t prescribe it.
The is usually accompanied with the tired trope about pensions and health care becoming “unaffordable” as old people insist in living on and refusing to die.
Overhanging all this is the central big lie peddled by the pampered bosses and the hired hands in government that there isn’t any money for such things.
This isn’t just not true it is a demonstrable barefaced lie.
This is confirmed by none other than that rabid left wing paper the Financial Times who reported that the UK’s Bank of England has used so called “quantitative easing” to create by a stroke of the keyboard a massive £435billion pounds and that this has been matched by its EU and US counterparts.
So it is found—the magic money tree whose existence was denied by a parade of Tory minster at the recent election!
The simple truth is that all these matters are dealt with by policy choices and currently the powerful elites commanding today’s politics are imposing their choices on the rest of us.
However another world which chooses to end the ever growing arms trade, adopts choices in favour of the environment over oil firms and car makers and delivers secure lives with decent pay homes, workers rights and health is more than possible—it is essential.
From free public transport, £10 an hour pay, opposition to the arms trade and calls for an independent Scottish republic, the Voice and the SSP point the direction needed to win this new, just world.