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Posted: Monday, August 7, 2017 6:07 PM

Remembering Nagasaki: Welcoming the Nuclear Ban Treaty Wed, August 9, 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Where
First Church in Boston, 66 Marlborough St, Boston, MA 02116, USA

Description

An Evening of Reflection, Celebration and Rededication Wednesday, August 9, 2017 – 6:30 pm First Church in Boston, 66 Marlborough Street Refreshments will be provided

Seventy two years have passed since the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) took effect 47 years ago, yet the five NPT nuclear weapons states have not taken serious action on their treaty commitments to nuclear disarmament. In the meantime, four more states have acquired nuclear weapons and the risks of their use have only increased over time. To fill this legal and moral gap, the vast majority of non-nuclear states, under the auspices of the United Nations, adopted a new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on July 7. The nine nuclear-armed states and their close allies boycotted the talks; it’s now up to us to convince them to comply with the ban treaty and eliminate nuclear weapons once and for all.

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Workers Vanguard No. 1093 29 July 2016

Remembering Hiroshima, Nagasaki

U.S. Imperialist Mass Murder

Seventy-one years ago this August, some 200,000 residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan were incinerated when U.S. warplanes dropped atomic bombs in the closing weeks of World War II. Many thousands who survived the nuclear holocaust suffered hideous burns and deformities compounded by sheer terror. This monstrous crime--carried out in the name of fighting for "democracy"--epitomizes the savagery of the capitalist-imperialist world order. Hearing the news of the 6 August 1945 attack on Hiroshima, which was followed by the destruction of Nagasaki three days later, U.S. president Harry Truman exulted: "This is the greatest thing in history!" and gloated that "we are now prepared to obliterate more rapidly and completely." The visit of Barack Obama to Hiroshima in May of this year was the first by a sitting U.S. president.

Our forebears of the then-revolutionary Socialist Workers Party (SWP) immediately condemned the bombings as part of their opposition to the U.S. and all capitalist powers in the interimperialist war. This position was coupled with the SWP's unconditional military defense of the Soviet Union, a degenerated workers state. While the Stalinist U.S. Communist Party grotesquely hailed the A-bomb attacks as part of its craven support to the "democratic" imperialists, SWP leader James P. Cannon, who had been hauled off to prison along with 17 other party leaders and Minneapolis Teamsters officials for their principled opposition to the war, declared in a speech in New York City:

"What a commentary on the real nature of capitalism in its decadent phase is this, that the scientific conquest of the marvelous secret of atomic energy, which might rationally be used to lighten the burdens of all mankind, is employed first for the wholesale destruction of half a million people."

--"The Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki," 22 August 1945, printed in The Struggle for Socialism in the "American Century" (Pathfinder Press, 1977)

Cannon ended the talk with a call to build a Leninist workers party that would fight to "answer the imperialist program of war on the peoples of the world, with revolution at home and peace with the peoples of the world."

The A-bombs created a special kind of hell. But so did the U.S. firebombing of Tokyo a few months before, which took at least 100,000 lives. For its part, Japanese imperialism had demonstrated its own barbarity by the 1937 Nanjing Massacre of hundreds of thousands of Chinese by Japanese troops. In Europe, the Nazi regime carried out industrial genocide against Jews, gays, Gypsies and others. Meanwhile, the U.S. and Britain slaughtered hundreds of thousands of German working people by firebombing Dresden, Hamburg and other cities.

U.S. atrocities against the Japanese population were prepared with the kind of virulently racist propaganda that the Nazis used to ostracize Jews and other so-called untermenschen on their way to annihilating them, and which the Japanese rulers spewed against Chinese, Koreans and others they subjugated. The U.S. capitalist press continually depicted the Japanese as "sneak attackers," hurling venom against "yellow monkeys" or, in the snootier words of the New York Times, against "a beast which sometimes stands erect." This poison delivered the message: anything could be done to this enemy. And it was long lasting. In 1995, the Smithsonian Institution canceled a planned exhibition on Hiroshima featuring the Enola Gay--the B-29 that dropped the first A-bomb--after a furious reaction from jingoists and militarists objecting to photographs showing the horrors suffered by Japanese civilians.

Official duplicity was the order of the day when on May 27 Barack Obama visited Hiroshima's memorial to the victims of the A-bomb. Obama had made clear that he would not bother with an apology for the slaughter carried out by his Democratic Party predecessor, which would have been an empty gesture in any case. Instead, he displayed the lying, hypocritical cant that has been a hallmark of his time in office. Obama haughtily declared that countries like the U.S. with nuclear stockpiles "must have the courage to escape the logic of fear and pursue a world without them." Just a few months earlier, he had rolled out a plan to modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal over the next three decades, to the tune of $1 trillion!

Obama's Hiroshima visit was part of a big lie. His amen corner in the U.S. media regurgitated the line that the A-bombs were what forced Japan's surrender in the war. In fact, Japan was already on the verge of defeat when Truman learned of the successful atomic bomb test at Alamogordo, New Mexico. At the time, he was in Potsdam, Germany, for talks with Britain's Winston Churchill and Soviet leader J. V. Stalin over the postwar division of Europe following Germany's military defeat. The Red Army had smashed Hitler's forces, at the cost of 27 million Soviet lives. With Soviet troops occupying half of Europe and poised to enter the war against Japan, the A-bombs were above all a message to Moscow of the lengths to which the American rulers would go to assert world domination.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme commander of Allied forces in West Europe during the war and later U.S. president, noted in a 1963 interview that the Japanese were ready to surrender and "it wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing." Washington knew from decoded cables that many in the Japanese government were looking for a peace settlement, but the U.S. insisted on unconditional surrender, thereby ensuring that Japan would not give in until the bombs were dropped. As we emphasized in "Behind U.S. Imperialism's Nuclear Holocaust" (WV No. 628, 8 September 1995), "The A-bombing of Japan was in fact the first act of the emerging Cold War aimed at destroying the Soviet degenerated workers state."

Washington's purpose was further made clear by its ongoing attempt, soon to be successful, to develop a thermonuclear (hydrogen) bomb to gain another leg up on the Soviets, who the U.S. feared were about to build their own A-bomb. Moscow countered by developing a substantial nuclear arsenal, reaching rough parity with the U.S. in the 1970s. For decades, the Soviet arsenal helped stay the hand of U.S. imperialism. But following the capitalist counterrevolution that destroyed the USSR in 1991-92, the arrogant American rulers saw no obstacle to world domination, setting the stage for a series of wars and occupations from the Balkans to Afghanistan and Iraq.

Excluding the Soviet Union, World War II, like WWI, was fought between imperialist powers for resources, markets and spheres of exploitation. China was the special prize of the Pacific War. But the U.S. was denied that part of the spoils of its victory over Japan by the 1949 Chinese Revolution, which created a workers state that, despite bureaucratic deformation, remains the chief target of imperialist designs in Asia. Indeed, the main purpose of Obama's trip to Southeast and East Asia in May was to firm up U.S. allies and quislings as they tighten a military ring around China.

In Hiroshima, Obama pitched the strategic U.S.-Japanese alliance, which centrally targets China and also the North Korean deformed workers state. Another piece of Washington's Asian fortress fell into place in July when the South Korean government agreed to host the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) system. Ostensibly a response to North Korea's testing of new ballistic missiles, Thaad's radar array can cover a broad swath of China, potentially degrading China's land-based nuclear deterrent.

U.S. and Japanese workers must stand with China and North Korea in their efforts to develop nuclear weapons and delivery systems that provide a measure of defense against imperialist blackmail and attack. Defense of the remaining deformed workers states is inseparable from the struggle to sweep away the capitalist system, with its insatiable thirst for profit and its inherent drive toward war. In opposing the U.S.-Japanese imperialist alliance, we join with our comrades of the Spartacist Group Japan, who wrote in marking the 50th anniversary of the atomic bomb attacks: "Nanjing, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were chilling examples of the slaughter and devastation that will be repeated in a coming war if the imperialist bourgeoisie is not overthrown by proletarian socialist revolution" ("Hiroshima, Nagasaki: U.S. War Crimes," WV No. 627, 25 August 1995).

http://www.icl-fi.org/english/wv/1093/hiroshima.html

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