Socialist Alternative: War! What For?

Socialist Alternative

War? What For? an Anti-War Centenary Newspaper, Socialist Alternative, Carlton South, Vic., 2014

The presentation and use of history during the centenary of the Great War should involve the exposure of conflicting, evidence-based interpretations. This publication from Socialist Alternative is attached in five pdfs comprising:

  • an introduction (pp. 1-2), including a mock-up recruitment poster and an explanation of why the newspaper was produced: ‘We decided to publish these articles after finding many activists felt a need for material to counter the propaganda offensive from the government and other militarists’.
  • Tom Bramble, ‘The terrible logic of WWI‘ (pp. 3-5), which links the outbreak of war to tensions arising from economic conditions and affecting all the belligerents and then traces the impact of war on the countries of Europe, and Australia, over the next four years.
  • Tom O’Lincoln, ‘Why Australia went to war‘ (pp. 6-8), which examines the territorial aspects associated with the Australian expedition to German New Guinea, Australia’s wariness about Japanese ambitions, and the birth of various myths about the Australian soldier.
  • Mick Armstrong, ‘WWI and the working class‘ (pp. 9-11), which looks at resistance to the war from the Australian working class, at the battles over conscription, and at wartime industrial unrest. It also touches on government plans to quell disturbances.
  • a final page (p. 12), which reproduces the original Syd Nicholls cartoon, ‘War! What for?’, from Direct Action, the IWW newspaper, 10 August 1914.

Socialist Alternative is ‘a revolutionary socialist group that sees class struggle, not parliament, as the key to changing society’. It publishes the online newspaper, Red Flag, as well as Marxist Left Review.

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