Peace and anti-War

IAN SINCLAIR explains how three courageous individuals saved humanity by refusing to follow the institutionalised aggression around them - showing the enormous impact even one person can have for peace [Published in Morning Star 19th December 2018]

WHAT difference can one person make when it comes to influencing global politics? Very little, you might think. However, a careful reading of several crisis points in modern history throws up inspiring examples of individuals acting courageously under intense pressure to save humanity from itself.

One such person is Vasili Arkipov, a Soviet naval officer during the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962, whose story activist Milan Rai rivetingly tells in a 2014 article for Telesur, upon which the account that follows is based.

With the US and Soviet Union on the brink of nuclear war, on October 27, a US taskforce of surface ships and aircraft was harassing, in international waters, a Soviet submarine, B-59, on which Arkipov was second in command. In an attempt to force the submarine to the surface and drive it away from Cuba, the US ships conducted extreme sonar sound attacks on the B-59 and dropped five practice depth charges. The number is important.

A few days earlier, the US had sent a document to the Soviet forces explaining their signalling system for a ship to surface was five practice depth charges. The commanders on B-59, who were used to three warning practice depth charges as the signal to surface, never received this information.

With the submarine crew enduring temperatures of around 45ºC and dangerous levels of CO2, the captain of B-59, Valentin Grigorievitch, concluded that a war between the US and the Soviet Union had started and ordered the firing of a nuclear torpedo at the US taskforce. The firing of the “special weapon” required the consent of the captain, the political officer and the second in command, Arkipov. The political officer consented.

Arkipov refused to give his consent. “He halted the firing of a nuclear weapon that would almost certainly have triggered US retaliation against Cuba and the Soviet Union that would have led to a devastating global nuclear war,” Rai notes.

The nuclear standoff with North Korea reminds KEITH FLETT of Britain’s resistance to the bomb

The recent crisis over North Korean nuclear weapons — which many feel is more of a crisis of having an unpredictable, hard-right politician called Donald Trump in the White House — will be the first time large numbers of people have felt that the world, and with it their own lives, could all end rather quickly in a nuclear war.

Those of us of advanced age remember that there have been many such episodes where the survival of all life on Earth hung in the balance since the United States bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Medical impact of nuclear weapons – Dr Alan Mackinnon

Music – Arthur Johnston leads a number of Peace and anti-Nuclear songs which have inspired activists across the years.

Part of the Hiroshima 70th Anniversary which took part in Glasgow, organised by Scottish CND.



John Ainslie puts the nuclear attack on Hiroshima in its true historical context - making clear why the use in anger of these weapons of mass destruction were completely unnecessary. Rather, it would seem, much more sinister motives lay behind their use on crowded cities, e.g. looking to gaining the future upper-hand in a post-WW2 world & threatening their use again against other countries.

Eddie McGuire, acclaimed musician and world famous composer, plays a popular Japanese song which was well know to all Japanese, especially children, at the time of the nuclear bombing - a fitting backdrop to meditate on the human cost of these nuclear weapons, which were only a tiny fraction of the strength of the ones ready for launch today. Organised by Scottish CND.



Filmed in March 2012 - at a time when Western NATO nations & media were focusing on challenging certain governments, whilst hypocritically helping protect some of the most corrupt & dictatorial governments in the region - simply because they were deemed to be pro-NATO already.

What are the forces at large in the region? What does it mean for the future of people in the Middle east, and are we seeing an era of our Western nations engaging in yet more war & bloodshed? 

Speaker: the late Dr Alan MacKinnon



Tam Kirby: musician, People's Assembly Scottish Executive member & member of the National Executive Committee of the British Communist Party, comes to Glasgow to present his talk on the Imperialist nature of the "Great War" or World War 1 - claimed to be "the war to end all wars".

Multiple millions of young working class lives were destroyed - either killed, mutilated physically or severely affected mentally, or simply "missing" with no remains left. So the natural question would seem to be - what was it all about? And whose war was it? 

Claims that the assassination of a minor royal figure sparked off a conflict on this scale make no sense - Imperial ambitions were at play, and these same forces which still to this day demand that young working men and women are called upon by the rich and powerful to risk and lay down their lives for less than noble reasons.

This talk really helps to put pay to the current attempts of portraying World War 1 as a "fight for freedom", by bringing out the actual context of events and the forces at play. It is full of useful historical & educational material that help inform us about events happening today!



A Young Communist League film. Featuring Johnnie Hunter (YCL Scottish Organiser) & Dr Alan MacKinnon (Chair of Scottish CND). With the British Establishment attempting to turn 2014 into a celebration of the start of WW1 & portray the Great War as a noble & unavoidable conflict fought to preserve "freedom", obvious parallels begin to emerge between 1914 and the seemingly endless wars that are being waged in the past decade or so.
As these wars are being waged - it's today's youth who are expected to do the fighting, relying disproportionately on youth who are desperate for employment of any kind, especially when it is tied in with offers of education and travel. 

Today's Communist Youth, today as in the period of the first World War, oppose these Imperialist Wars and we seek to expose the class forces, economics & power which are at play and which demand war & control of world resources, markets and people in order to maintain the Capitalist system.



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