Again and again attempts made to lead the world to sanity of living ended in failure.
Lord Marler asked the Government what steps were being taken towards meeting the inequalities in international distribution of raw materials. He asked
'the Government to consider the just distribution of raw materials and markets at once and not wait until there were threats of direct action and war. . . . Until this was done they could not get rid of the tension in Europe and the whole world. ... It was bigger than a mere Colonial problem. . . • Peace could not be lasting unless it was based on justice, and that meant economic justice; and the people of the U.S.A. felt extremely strongly on this matter."
Viscount Samuel said:
I 'The British Commonwealth undoubtedly had the chief
responsibility in this matter of the supply of essential raw materials. . . . Governments in possession of raw materials
m THE PEACE WE LOST 87
, MS declare their general policy to be not to use their (should) f^ecVctingSUpplies so as to put pressure on any other
country- .. w\ ^
was to say
w had to choose between two distinct courses. One that war was probably inevitable, and so envisage mtries as possible enemies and keep them as powerless as we could. The other was to say that war need not
be inevitable, and our duty was to remove causes that would tend to war and do what was reasonable to meet any legitimate request, no matter from whence it came.
The Earl of Plymouth said "The collaboration of the United States was of particular importance." They held the bulk of the world's gold. But Lord Snell said:
"It was clear that His Majesty's Government had no intention of facing these difficulties in spite of the urgency of the problem.' . . . Placed as we were we had a special responsibility, and tl*e co-operation of all nations would not be obtained by waiting for a spontaneous advance. Somebody had to take the lead, and it would be possible for the Government to ask that in some form or other this matter might be explored."
Such suggestions were beyond the pale—to share and share alike was too big a price to pay for human happiness and peace.
In 1931 there were ominous rumbles in the Far East. A Japanese delegate at Geneva said to the Daily Telegraph:
Unless the League Council can find a means of safeguarding Japanese interests in Manchuria, we must remain there. Moreover, we must have space to breathe somewhere. Our population is increasing to such an extent that there is no room tor all Japanese in Japan itself."
Mussolini said: "We must expand or explode!"
Herr Hitler said: "We must export or die!"
The difficulties of Italy and Germany were how to
obtain raw materials and food supplies. Translated, the
league of Nations said:
We cannot help you in your economic difficulties. We
88 A PEOPLE'S RUNNYMEDE
are sorry that your population is overcrowded and that you have great difficulty in obtaining the necessities of natural life. It is unfortunate that a handful of nations control most of the resources you need and will not share them with you but, if you cannot obtain them by peaceful means you must not fight for them" The actual wording of Article 16 stated bluntly:
"Should any member of the League resort to war in disregard to Articles 12, 13, or 15, it shall ipso facto be deemed to have committed an act of war against all other members of the League."
Various member nations of the League resigned and recoursed to war to obtain what was denied them by friendly intercourse.
It is hypocricy to condemn economic or military aggressors
or dictators, no matter how ruthless they may be in their
economic causes of the aggression or the conditions which
give rise to dictatorships.
I] The nations which were in the category of the "have
nots" were treated as we treat our unemployed. "Our
economic policy has no provision for exchanging goods and
services without the use of money, but as the system cannot
give you the money we must withhold the goods you need.
We are sorry for your condition, but bear your troubles
peacefully; any attempt at violence to obtain a sufficiency
of food, warmth, and shelter will be crushed by the forces
of law and order." This is the only implication we can
give to Mr Eden's words on September 20, 1937, after
Germany and other countries had asked for assistance in
solving their food problems:
"I am afraid no modification of the British or any other
preferential system can provide an adequate remedy for the
I difficu ties of those countries which, by maintaining exchange
control, find themselves at a disadvantage in obtaining imports
of raw materials and other thmgs which they require. For as
THE PEACE WE LOST 89
-tree's report clearly shows, the principal difficulties the Committe r ^ ^ obtaining raw materials, whether
mc — titries arises not m uuui«««5 ***" »*?w—* "~~
of these coun ^^ ^ elsewhere, Atf S paying for those raw
materials"« , .
j prance—nau icm} «"wvr~*v * o 11 •
ev to foreign countries so that they could buy their m°ds But Italy had learned her lesson by past experience fnd refused to entangle herself in debt. She occasionally
rh great commercial nations—America, Great Britain, ; iLnce—had lent, and were willing to continue lending,
ignored orthodoxy and fed her people by exchanging abroad
her industrial products for the food she could not produce
herself. Russia also offended against the commercial powers
by exchanging goods for goods. They were condemned by
the world's economic experts. Barter was not accepted
as legitimate trade. It did not gather interest. Trade was
trade, in the opinion of the money power, only when men
stood at ports entering cargoes into ledgers headed "Imports
and Exports." Barter only fed people. S
Germany, like Italy and Russia before, was trying to escape the entanglements of world debt. England was quite willing to lend money to buy raw materials, but they insisted upon exchanging goods for goods. They would not be drawn into the system of increasing debt, booms, and slumps. The Times has since said that Germany's barter system made her an aggressor in the world market.1 She
From The Times, October n and 12 and November 13, 1940:
One of the fundamental causes of this war has been the unrelaxing efforts
0 Oermany since 1918 to secure wide enough foreign markets to straighten her
nances at the very time when all her competitors were forced by their own
ebts to adopt exactly the same course. Continuous friction was inevitable."
Germany adopted a new monetary policy after which, The Times says, ^ermany ceased to experience any serious financial difficulty."
1 .n. ™ c°untry the people suffer the burden of heavy and increasing taxation,
D7 ™ Germany, says The Times-.
Nothing is ever heard of the necessity of increasing taxation, compulsory j» m&sj or the issue of enormous public war loans. Quite the contrary, new ^ 3n *mPortanttaxwas abolished. Public savings bank deposits touch
monthly records again and again. Money is so plentiful that the interest
H'tl °Q ^eich loans could recently be reduced from 4J to 4 per cent,
and V ifemst0 kave discovered the secret of making something out of nothing,
to have evolved a system based on perpetual motion."
was trying to break the credit ring of the money monopolists by the force of economic sanity—and that was unforgivable. She was acting like the worker who went on strike against a system which deprived him of adequate food supplies though he was quite willing to exchange his labour to pay
In 1937 Hitler had siaid:
"Germany will enter into no more obligations to pay for her
goods imports than she is capable of fulfilling. The German
Government thus takes the standpoint of the respectable
merchant, who keeps his orders in harmony with his power
to pay." fe
"We laugh at the time when our national economists held the view that the value of a currency is regulated by the gold and securities lying in the vaults of a State Bank; and more especially we laugh at the theory that its value was guaranteed thereby. We have instead come to learn that the value of a currency lies in the productive capacity of a nation."
The world financial monopoly stood aghast. If Germany succeeded in her plan of economic penetration, other nations might follow her example. The whole world would then exchange goods for goods on a basis of equality and good-fellowship! No one would want to borrow, and the financial pyramid of debt, from the apex of which Almighty Finance ruled the world, would collapse! Humanity would be well-fed, but the financiers would lose their power.
The politicians said that the barter system of Germany and other peoples was sure to fail. It had to fail to prove orthodoxy right. The war between rival monetary policies began in earnest.
In 1933 one-third of America's cotton crop had been
I "^^ changes," we are told "may well call for drastic readjustments in our established conventions. A hidebound persistence in methods and doctrines
1 whlch™Tl *™n* fifty r31"8ag°r ^ ?*$* Fove as costly in the financial and
economic field of actual war. It might not lose the war: it would certainly
lose the peace." '
THE PEACE WE LOST 91
• the earth. In other parts of the world two-plough*1,nt%ber plantations were allowed to go to waste, thirds of tne ^^ ^^ andmbberbuthadnomoney
Uanycoun Thewerewniingto exchange goods
r'^se commodities, but direct trade (upon which High e could not exact its toll of debt and interest) was isfectory, so the planters tottered into bankruptcy,
(r these commouim-jj "-» \ x *-■
J?tance could not exact its toll of debt and interest) was
1st Germany, with characteristic thoroughness, used substitutes for cotton and produced synthetic rubber. When denied oil she produced it from coal.
If the German monetary experiment had been allowed to develop on the basis of a friendly exchange of goods it would have provided the world with useful information to assist it in solving its commercial problems. What may have been a laudable effort on the part of Germany has become a world war—a war of ideas in which Hitler strives to form a European economic monopoly opposed to the financial monopolies of the world, and does not hesitate to use every means to gain his goal of world economic power.
About this time many other nations began to break through the money ring. Germany not only threatened the markets of great trading nations but she had set an ^ample which other countries were not slow to follow, ijirst Russia had incurred hostility for refusing to pay her fleets. Now Germany was incurring hostility for refusing to contract new ones.
All* ?re,^ermany began her economic policy the one-time evshadbeen glaring at each other with fear and suspicion; veryone was afraid of someone—an unknown foe—but *ow they had found their enemy.
nstatesmen began to prepare the public mind for war. o mention was made of the real causes of the crisis, the inherSCramblefor world markets, the trickery, and the surnima^ methodsusedto obtain spheres of influence for debt cnVeStmentSandforincreasing the burden of world Youth 5ates?lenwere again preparing to sacrifice the y tn of their country on the bloody altar of Mammon.
92 A PEOPLE'S RUNNYMEDE
As in peace, so in war. Humanity must be sacrificed to save a worthless economic system.
Once again the peoples were told that if they destroyed
the leader of the German nation all would be well with the
world. Germany worshipped its leader. Britain trusted its
Government. Both peoples believed their leaders would save
the world. It was a tragedy of faith in men. One nation
has to fight for new economic and political systems and is
willing to use any means to get them; the others to preserve
old ones—but the Solution lies in neither.
[| Once again men, women, and children are being mown
down in bloody swathes because the ports and granaries of
some nations were glutted with goods and others empty.
who will not give humanity any secure place in the world
where they can be fed and clothed, and live without fear, but by
their practices must aggravate each other, and each generation
strew the fruitful earth with the corpses of their children.
On public platforms politicians talked empty words.
Rarely was it suggested that the surplus food might be
distributed amongst their own people; instead they were
preparing to fight other nations to make them buy it. One
cannot blame the politicians who got their economics from
text-books which have never been changed for over a
hundred years. They had been taught to think in terms
of economics, not in terms of human need. They talked
1 moral platitudes but never seriously thought of linking
economics with moral justice.
Ludwell Denny in America Conquers Britain indicates | the irony of a situation which impoverishes the exporting jg nation and produces war abroad.
1 'It seems to mean that if we work very hard, we can send
1 morewealthabroadand thus acquire more capital abroad,
and thus possibly receive still more capital abroad, and so on,
I generation after generation without finding any way whereby
1 we' f ,our ^ildren, or our children's children, can benefit
greatly by our increased productivity. I
THE PEACE WE LOST 93
■ i-:- tnthis theory, our own standard of living must
"According to mhadneverproduced all this
remain tne complacency with which this theory
'surplus weaim. #j?
is accepted is amazing. j ;
Under the existing system, the impossibility of sharing
t the raw materials and resources of the world in ac-°ordance with the needs of the people of each nation, the impossibility of the people of any country being able to purchase and enjoy the wealth they are able to produce, would seem too obvious even to question.
If a nation cannot sell its goods to its own people then it must try to sell them abroad; if this cannot be done then the people will find themselves without jobs until the "surplus" goods are sold, and suffer poverty in the midst of their abundance. They must fight for foreign markets as it is impossible for all nations to increase their exports and to decrease their imports at the same time, so there can never be peace. Our statesmen do not tell us this simple truth.
Behind the alleged motives of dictators, national pride and honour, radical and religious antipathies, external dangers, and the sedulous fostering in consequence of human pugnacity and quarrelsomeness which produce war, economic causes of a much more humble and sordid nature are always at work. But the people are led to believe that they fight to preserve national honour. Yet what honour can any nation possess when its very life depends on a ruthless economic expansion where all decent human values and tnewell-being of the peoples of other nations are forgotten ?
1 o gam a foreign market means the loss of that market
to another nation. The nation which loses its foreign
markets suffers trade depression. The standard of living of
Jts people must be lowered in order to undercut the prices
°* other nations in the world market. What honour is
i Cre ,*0a. v^ct°ri°us commercial nation whose success has
rought disaster and misery to millions of people in another
94 A PEOPLE'S RUNNYMEDE
In the preceding pages we have reviewed the causes which led to this war. Driven by economic pressure nations have sought to obtain, through political control obtained by war, the markets and raw materials they could not obtain through normal competitive channels. The signs of the times were written in blood, but statesmen averted their eyes and led a foolish world to Armageddon.
Will they fail us again when the present conflict is over ? The answer depends on US, the common people. We have to make known the principles upon which peace shall be founded, and see to it that they are applied by our rulers. In the past they tried to establish peace upon the rotten foundations of greed, revenge, lies, and deceits; their corruption and subterfuges have brought us to war. 1 Can we trust them again to make "peace"? They proved themselves incapable of learning the lessons of the past; they ignored the warnings and advice from those Members of Parliament and others who loved their country. Neither pity for the poor nor the honest desire of the common peoples of the world for peace was allowed to guide them in choosing between right and wrong. Dare we again place our lives in their hands without some means of determining that they will do no wrong ? We must insist upon international laws which will ensure that our lives shall not be used as pawns on the chessboards of national and international politics, and which will prevent our rulers from following the well-known road to destruction.
When the war is over nations will again send their delegates to an international council to consider the problems of peace. They will again be faced with two alternatives: To decide whether the post-war world will be another tragedy of civilisation with peace but an interlude between wars, or an era of human progress, happiness, and security. I Either the needs of human life will decide the terms of peace, or the world will again be divided into spheres of influence for favoured nations. Powerful international, commercial groups will fight for a monopoly of world trade,
THE PEACE WE LOST 95
and raw materials; commercial war will bring its
m T\ evils of trade depression and poverty amidst
Tdnce and will eventually lead to military war. Or
h needs'of humanity will receive preference and the
The choice will be as simple as that, but financial preference will seek to complicate the issue. The common man will have his mind confused by talk about indemnities, "paying for the war," balancing national budgets, and a thousand other things which neither he nor the majority of politicians understand. The financiers who create our war debts at the cost of pen and ink will demand their pound of flesh and the right to exploit humanity, as in pre-war days, at the cost of draining the life blood of the nations. The financial institutions, which could not finance peace but can create £12,000,000 each day for war, will demand that their domination be maintained. If their demands decide the issue of peace, human life and happiness will again be sacrificed on the altar of Mammon.
We must raise the banner: HUMANITY FIRST!
Human need, or human greed—that is the decision our Ministers will have to make; the road to destruction and death, or to peace and world co-operation.
We must make and keep the choice as simple as that. The world must be made safe for humanity; it must cease to be tne arena where finance and commerce fight for supremacy with humanity as its legitimate prey.
A people united in this simple demand, refusing to be led astray by thoughts of revenge, or by the shibboleths of national prestige which so often cloak dishonourable and inhuman practices, will confound those who seek to continue toe evils of the pre-war world. There is strength in simplicity. We must not be led astray by the complications ot international settlements and world trade. The interlocking interests of world monopolies, whose struggle for
96A PEOPLE'S RUNNYMEDE
supremacy has brought such dire calamity upon the world, are in themselves both the complications and the causes of the complications. These complications we must sweep away, so that commerce shall be based upon the simple rules of law and order, of a world co-operating to feed the people, rather than the rules which govern an all-in fight. Even to consider the complications and demands of the old order means accepting and compromising with its evils.
To be practical we must be simple. The true purpose
of production and trade is consumption. If 40,000,000
people live in one country and 100,000,000 in another, it
will not be beyond the wit of man to calculate the quantities
of wheat, wool, cotton, coal, and other necessities required
to feed and clothe them and provide the amenities of a secure
and cultured life. The resources and productive capacity
of the world are far greater than its needs. After the war
the common needs of humanity (similar to the simple
principles which we have proposed shall become British
Common Law) must be established as international law
and made binding by the people upon their rulers. Only
by this means can the needs of human life be made the
deciding factor of world settlement.
Statistics of potential productive capacity, of the sources and quantities of raw materials, and of national populations and their needs are available. It is only a matter of arithmetic to discover the quantities of goods and services to be produced and distributed to provide for the needs of all. Then enmity, distrust, and fear between nations will be I replaced by friendship, trustworthiness, glad service, and 1$ universal peace.
I Something very simple and vital is necessary to win the ffl support and confidence of the masses. If we are to lead I them out of the morass of conflicting opinions amidst which they are struggling—hatred, revenge, fear, and distrust— we must teach them to demand simply that the world setde-ment shall be planned to provide every man, woman, and child with a sufficiency of the necessities of life. That