England, the Bomb, the Marchers
“I WOULDN’T cross the road to vote for the Labor party, let alone the Conservatives,” said a student friend of mine recently, “but I’d march from here to Timbuctoo for the sake of the CND.” His words would probably be echoed in every university and training college in Britain. Why? What do the magic letters signify? Why can the CND command such enthusiasm?
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, to give its full title, was set up a little over two years ago, with Bertrand Russell as its president. It was the heir of a previous campaign to end nuclear tests, and its own aim was confined to nuclear disarmament: though many of its supporters were (and are) pacifists, pacifism as such was not part of its program. It summed up its policy in a manifesto as “Britain must . . . renounce unilaterally the use or production of nuclear weapons, and refuse to allow their use by others in her defense.” The second clause was, in a way, even more crucial than the first: thanks to it, the CND has dug a deep gulf between itself and those who feel that even if Britain herself gives up the nuclear deterrent, she would still need to rely on the Americans. Among the more prominent members of the Campaign were the veteran socialist and pacifist publisher, Victor Gollancz; the novelist and publicist J. B. Priestley; and the historian A. J. P. Taylor. During the last two years the Campaign managed to enlist a galaxy of artistic talent. At one point the two most promising young playwrights in England-John Osborne and Arnold Wesker -were to be seen parading Whitehall with CND sandwich boards. More important, perhaps, it has won the support of the boss of the largest trade union this side of the Iron Curtain, Mr. Frank Cousins of the Transport and General Workers.
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