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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 4, No. 7 July 2, 1941

Abjuro — A Pacifist Reviews his Position


A Pacifist Reviews his Position

The new factor in the war—the entry of the Soviet Union into the true struggle against Fascism—has materially altered the basis of objection to militarism of some pacifists. Most pacifists are Socialists—if for no other reason that we realise that only in a Socialist world will we attain our ideal of peace—and the question must now arise—are we first pacifist or first socialist?

The issue has at last become clear cut—Socialism on guard against the barbarous onslaught of Fascism. Can we be blind to the awful consequences of a Nazi victory? I am not," and that is why I, who have been pacifist for many years, am seriously considering the practicability of such a policy now.

Most Socialists have been sceptical about the war until now: we have not been sure that Fascism, and not Communism, was the foe the Empire was fighting. Attempts have been made to switch the war against the Socialist Fatherland—see the Hess affair—but they seem to have failed. Even now, however, we must be on our guard: on no account, the newspapers are told, are they to refer to the Soviet Union as "our ally." Make no mistake, the Empire has no love for the Soviet Union. And so we pacifists must attempt to find out what the issues are to be in the last analysis. If this is the Empire's real struggle against the barbarians, then we must decide, and that soon, whether we can afford such a luxury as our own conscience.

I have not yet come to a decision, I'm sorry to say. But I remember the remark made by a Communist friend of mine: "I admire the pacifists, because, comes the Revolution, they'll be on the barricades with us."

Is this the Barricades?

(Please note that, though I may have appeared to commit other pacifists, these are my own thoughts, and those of a few others to whom I have spoken.)