Trotskyists, Stalinists and the Anti-Nuclear Weapons Movement in Britain, 1957-58

Submitted by Anon on 12 April, 2006 - 6:16 Author: Sean Matgamna

By Sean Matgamna
The letters below all appeared in the Labour left-wing weekly Tribune in 1958. We think they conjure up the political world in which Trotskyists operated half a century ago.

The story they tell is a simple one. There was great agitation and fear of nuclear annihilation in Britain and in other parts of the world. Peace was kept between the two great world powers, the USA and Stalinist Russia, by “the balance of terror” — the knowledge on both sides that if nuclear war breaks out, its opponent can destroy its cities as the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had been obliterated by the USA in August 1945. Many millions of people would be killed, and the survivors forced to live — as long as they could — in a wrecked civilisation and a world poisoned with radiation.

People would get used to the fear in the decades that followed, but they hadn’t yet. The H-bomb, many times more destructive than the A-bombs used on the Japanese cities, was only a few years old. Russia’s temporary superiority in intercontinental ballistic missiles had been forced on people’s attention by the launching of the Russian Sputnik, the first space satellite, in November 1957.

The USA had nuclear bomber bases in Britain, and there had recently been an outcry at the discovery that nuclear-armed planes were routinely flying over British cities. The decision had been taken to open a US Polaris nuclear submarine base at Holy Loch in Scotland.

Popular alarm had been growing through the 50s. It can still be experienced through movies of the 50s and early 60s about nuclear armageddon — from Seven Days To Noon, the Boulting Brothers 1950 film about an alarmed scientist who tries to force disarmament by threatening to detonate an A-bomb in London, through a number of B-pictures about superior beings from space intervening in the affairs of humankind, to On The Beach (1960), about the last surviving human beings waiting on an Australian beach to succumb, as the whole population of the world already has, to radiation sickness, and the still well-known Stanley Kubrick film Dr Strangelove, about a nuclear war started by a madman.

The mass fear combined the horror people now have of irreparable ecological damage to the Earth — but then they feared a disaster happening very quickly, and soon — with the horror of war rooted in the experience of the Second World War, in which perhaps 60 million people had died.

The growing horror, the belief that humanity was at the edge of the abyss, reached the point in 1957-8, in Britain, of a mass mood of desperation to do something. From that the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament would come — a mass movement demanding that Britain, as one of the three powers then possessing nuclear weapons, should renounce them and close the US nuclear bases in Britain.

Five thousand people attended a meeting at the Central Hall in London to hear the aged pacifist philosopher Bertrand Russell, the historian A J P Taylor, the best-known left-wing writer in Britain, the novelist and essayist J B Priestley, and others, launch the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Some of them left the meeting to hold a more or less peaceful protest in Whitehall.

At Easter, five thousand CNDers would march against nuclear weapons from London to the nuclear research establishment at Aldermaston, between Reading and Newbury. Over the next three Easters, the numbers marching — from Aldermaston to London now — would grow. 100,000 marched in 1960; 150,000 in 1961; about the same in 1962. The march would go from Aldermaston to London for many years after that, numbers fluctuating.

The fear of nuclear war peaked in the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962. Russia had stationed nuclear launching sites in Cuba, 90 miles from Florida. The USA, which had sponsored an invasion of Cuba by Cuban exiles and mercenaries 18 months before, and was thought likely itself to invade the island at some point to overthrow the Castro regime, declared a blockade of Cuba. A fleet of Russian ships moving towards Cuba was threatened with attack.

For over a week, as the ships sailed towards their destination and the US blockade, the world watched in horror what seemed to be the countdown to the nuclear armageddon. It ended with the Russians — in return, it seems, for a guarantee that the USA would not invade Cuba — backing down and removing their nuclear weapons.

At a number of crisis points before then too, nuclear war had seemed an immediate possibility. When in December 1950 the Chinese crossed the Yalu river to fight the UN (US/ British etc) forces in Korea. When the US landed troops in Lebanon in 1958, in the aftermath of the overthrow of the British-influenced monarchy in Iraq. When the Chinese shelled the islands occupied by US-protected remnants of the pre-Stalinist Chinese regime in 1958. When the Berlin Wall was put up in August 1961.

For those who lived through the Cuban crisis, the horror of nuclear war would never be quite the same again. In a sense, the crisis showed that nuclear war could be staved off, and that the balance of terror “worked”. The idea of a balance of terror lost some of its horror for many people. The Russian/ USA nuclear test ban treaty of August 1963 lessened the fear further. Things “settled down” into a long nuclear stalemate. Nobody seems to have through that the Vietnam war — in which the USA, Australia and some other powers fought Stalinist North Vietnam and its supporters in South Vietnam - might lead to nuclear war between Russia and the USA, though Russia backed North Vietnam.

At the height of the terror of imminent nuclear war, when CND was founded, socialists faced two sets of problems. The first was that on either side of the great power divide, unilateral nuclear disarmament would amount to surrender by one side, which would thereby put itself at the mercy of the other.

When, before 1949, the USA had a nuclear monopoly, there had been voices — Bertrand Russell’s one of them — calling for the USA to use the threat of nuclear war to smash the Stalinist system in Russia and “roll back” the USSR out of the giant Eastern and Central European empire it had won in World War Two.

But the monopoly of A-bombs did not give the USA enough of an advantage to gain certain victory over Russia. There were not many bombs, or easy ways to deliver them — the Japanese cities had been destroyed by old-style bombers dropping the bombs on them — but, above all, it was calculated that the immensely powerful Russian army could, on the outbreak of war, quickly overrun Western Europe; and then, would the USA bomb the occupied cities?

The building of a European military force strong enough to hold back Stalin’s army long enough to give its full potential weight to America’s nuclear monopoly was necessary. Nationalist European antagonisms scuppered attempts to create a “European Defence Force”. From that came the alternative policy of rearming West Germany.

The Russians coming into possession of nuclear weapons in 1949 opened the period that would become nuclear stalemate.

Since British nuclear weapons were only an auxiliary to those of America, Britain could unilaterally divest itself of them without that meaning surrender to Stalinism. But did socialists want America to disarm before the Stalinist empire? Slogan-shouting summed up the dilemma: “Better Red Than Dead”, and, from sections of the US right, “Better Dead Than Red”.

It was not possible for British and US nuclear disarmers to think that their counterparts in Russia would also press for nuclear disarmament, and that things would thus balance out logically, in multilateral disarmament. They had no equivalents in the USSR — none outside of the jails, anyway. There was no anti-nuclear movement in the totalitarian Stalinist states — nor could there be. This dilemma greatly lessened the power of the unilateral disarmament movement, which was, nonetheless very powerful. The nearest thing to an answer to it was that if Britain gave a “moral lead”, it could open up discussion on USSR-US multilateral disarmament.

The second dilemma socialists faced was, if they decided they wanted Britain to give a lead in nuclear disarmament, how to bring it about? Nothing would peacefully persuade the British ruling class to divest themselves of nuclear weapons or break with the US alliance and expel US nuclear weapons.

In terms of what to do against nuclear weapons, the ferment of 1957-8 threw up the idea of industrial action against bombs and bases. In early 1958, on the eve of the first Aldermaston march, as people learned of the routine flights across Britain of nuclear-armed US planes, and the decision was made to have a US nuclear submarine base in Scotland, the idea spread that the working class should act with working-class weapons against the nuclear threat.

It was a time of strong trade-union-level working-class militancy and of many unofficial strikes. Why not take industrial action against nuclear weapons and bases? Why not “black” — that is, put a trade-union boycott on — nuclear weapons and rocket bases?

Where the idea originated is not clear. It may well have been among plumbing trade unionists in Dalkeith, near Edinburgh. In any case, trade unions and Trades Councils across the country began to discuss the idea. Bodies like the very powerful Liverpool Trades Council passed resolutions that they would support any group of workers who refused to work on nuclear weapons and nuclear bases.

In this situation, the “orthodox Trotskyist” organisation centred on the bimonthly magazine Labour Review and the weekly paper The Newsletter formulated the idea in a clear slogan — “Black the Bomb and the Rocket Bases”. The editor of The Newsletter, Peter Fryer, wrote a long article under that heading in the Newsletter (1 March 1958). It was republished as a pamphlet, which quickly ran into two editions. The organisation campaigned on it, and for the ending of all nuclear tests, East and West.

The forerunners of the present SWP, the group around the monthly paper Socialist Review, who, in the words of William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, never believed in “leaving all the good tunes to the Devil”, picked up the slogan and made it their own, adding a pacifist twist to it and fantasies about workers’ control of the nuclear weapons industry.

The slogan gave a clear working-class and labour-movement expression to the alarm about nuclear war.

That was the background to the story told in these extracts from letters published in Tribune. Things were complicated in the movement against nuclear weapons by the line of the Communist Party. Long the dominant force in “peace” activities that would help Russia, the CP denounced unilateral nuclear disarmament as “ultra-left”, in fact “Trotskyite” — until it quietly switched lines and backed the 1960 Easter CND march.

When the erstwhile leader of the Labour left, Aneurin Bevan, came out against his own supporters, including Tribune, at the 1957 Labour Party conference, and against the Norwood Labour Party resolution calling for unilateral nuclear disarmament — which originated with the Newsletter group and was moved by one of its members, Vivienne Mendelson — the CP backed Bevan’s insistence that nuclear disarmament had to be multilateral, done by agreement.

The story that unfolds in these letters will now be intelligible to the reader. Peter Fryer and other Trotskyists raised banners and shouted slogans about industrial action against the bomb. CP stewards on the CND march, whose organisation did not even support unilateralism, manhandled the Newsletter Trotskyists.

Fryer had been the correspondent of the Daily Worker (the CP’s paper) in Budapest during the Hungarian Revolution of October-November 1956, which was bloodily suppressed by Russian troops and tanks; had written the truth of what he saw there; had his articles suppressed by the Daily Worker; was expelled by the CP; and joined the Trotskyists. He was bitterly hated by the CP.

Other Trotskyists, supporters of the Mandel-Pablo Fourth International and political ancestors of today’s Socialist Party and Socialist Appeal, then reported in the letter of Doris Lerner to have been selling Rally, had a similar experience.

Violent suppression of Trotskyists by Stalinists was by then rare in Britain. (It had never been all-pervasive here, as it was, for instance, in France). Not rare enough.

And what became of the campaign to “black the bomb and bases”? For leftists to discuss “blacking” bombs and bases was easier than getting workers to act on it. As far as I know, the only such action was a protest strike by building workers in Cheshire.

To round off the story: a couple of years later the “orthodox Trotskyists”, in the person of Gerry Healy, came out in explicit defence of Russia’s bomb. Russia, he argued, was a workers’ state, despite being degenerated and Stalinist-ruled. Its nuclear weapons played the progressive role of deterring imperialist aggression. Peter Fryer and many others had parted company with Healy by that time.

Sean Matgamna
From Tribune 27 June 1958

Peter fryer: “stopped from marching”

Some most unfortunate incidents marred last Sunday’s demonstration organised by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

Members of the Labour Party, including many who had come down specially from the provinces, were marching behind the Newsletter’s banner, which bore the slogan “Industrial action — black the H-bomb and the rocket bases” and were shouting the slogan “No work on H-bombs, no work on rocket bases.”

A similar contingent had marched all the way to Aldermaston behind the same banner and shouting the same slogans.

Some of the stewards last Sunday tried to prevent the carrying of the Newsletter banner, and a number of trade union and Labour party youth section banners and to stop the shouting of these slogans.

A group of members of the Amalgamated Union of Building Trade Workers from Liverpool were told to put away their branch banner. When they said, “It’s our trade union banner,” the steward replied: “Is it a political trade union?”

Those in the Newsletter contingent refused to put away their banner or be silent, on the ground that, since Aldermaston, a promising and vital campaign has been led up a blind alley by persons who wish to wage it as a political and even anti-Labour Party affair, and who have no intention of arousing the organised working class in the fight against the H-bomb.

Thereupon some of the stewards appealed to the police to have us removed from the demonstration. One police motor-cyclist rode his machine into the column and stopped it athwart our contingent.

When this failed some of the stewards resorted to physical violence, linking arms and trying to prevent our continuing to march and then trying to seize our banner.

One of the editors of the Newsletter, an ex-member of the Communist Party, had his glasses knocked off by a steward, who then punched him violently in the back — all without provocation.

This steward is a member of the Ex-Service Movement for Peace, an organisation under the control of the Communist Party — which, as is well known, does not support unilateral renunciation of the bomb by Britain.

A number of questions arise.

Do the organisers of CND wish to bar from their activities Labour Party members who have worked hard to promote the success of such efforts as the Aldermaston march?

Do they seriously suppose that the campaign against the bomb can be waged in a political vacuum?

Do they imagine that the manifest decline in the campaign since Aldermaston is not due, among other factors, to the failure to develop it in the factories and trade unions?

Are they content to let strong-arm men from an organisation that does not support the aims of the Campaign abuse their position as stewards to work off their spleen against persons with whose political standpoint they disagree?

Lastly do the organisers arrogate to themselves the right to decide what are permissible banners to carry and permissible slogans to use?

Peter Fryer

From Tribune 4 July

“CND in decline”

The great campaign for nuclear disarmament is showing definite signs of slowing down. We have now marched almost everywhere the “No Trespassing” notices would allow us, sent petitions to all who would graciously receive them, and listened to speeches until all the variations are known by heart and can be recited backwards.

I would make two proposals to inject new strength into the Campaign:

Firstly, that a national delegate conference of all local bodies be called in the autumn. At this, all viewpoints would be heard, methods of action democratically discussed, policy formulated and our “leaders” elected. Many feel that the present self-appointed and self perpetuating leadership is completely out of touch with the rank and file.

Secondly, that a vigorous campaign be conducted in trade union branches and at factory gate meetings over the next few months. When the unions take up the demands of this great movement victory will be within sight.

All this, of course, necessitates an honest turn to the mass organisations of the working class and the dropping, once and for all, of all the make believe about the campaign being “non-political”.

To mobilise the working class for action against the Government is a political act. It also happens to be the only road forward.

Martin Grainger

“industrial action important”

It is a great pity that Peter Fryer did not take up with the organisers of the March on London some of the points he ventilated in Tribune of 27 June.

What is stated to have happened seems to have been an isolated incident and can hardly be answered without a discussion with the persons concerned.

May I say from the start that personally I agree with the slogans and posters used by Newsletter supporters on the Lobby Day March. The appeal of these to workers on rocket base and H-bomb work is one which should be being made now by the Labour Party.

To me it is, therefore, the more regrettable that what seems to have been an isolated incident involving personalities could not have been more amicably and, it seems, tactfully handled.

I would like to assure Peter Fryer, however, as one of the provincial organisers of the Campaign engaged in the Western Section of the March at the time that his statement that “a promising and vital campaign has been led up a blind alley by persons who wish to wage it as a political and even anti-Labour Party affair” just is not true, as I think, on reflection he would agree.

The campaign is as effective as those who believe in it will make it. I agree that the Labour Party should be in the forefront. That it is not is the fault of the leadership, in spite of the prodding that we are giving from below.

I have just resigned as chairman of the Salisbury CLP in order that we might have more effective political action locally from the floor of the Party to fight for a resolution on this issue for national conference. Let us have every resolution possible on this single issue, simply expressed.

Advice as to what we in the Campaign should be doing to develop the movement in the factories and trades unions would be better directed by Newsletter who seem to have the right ideas in this direction. to the TUC via trade union branches.

It is obviously essential that everyone possible should be enlisted, in all sections of our national life, to work for the cause of nuclear disarmament and the efforts of the campaign are directed to this end.

Industrial action is one facet of the movement which, it is readily agreed, might in the end be most important.

Austin Underwood

“provocative banner”

The National Committee of the Ex-Service Movement for Peace, has asked me to reply to the letter of Mr Peter Fryer.

The organisers of the march decided that there should not be any banners or posters, except those issued either by the central committee or by the local committees; a decision which our movement and all others, with the exception of the Newsletter and similar organisations, accepted.

On behalf of the Hackney Committee for Nuclear Disarmament, I was the Marshal of our local contingent from the Hackney Town Hall. When we assembled there was a small group of people, whom I have never seen before in Hackney, with a banner reading “Rally For Socialism”.

I might, as an individual, be in favour of such a slogan in the right place, but as I pointed out to these people, such a banner would not be correct for such a march, and I asked them nicely not to carry it.

However they insisted. and after a number of people including two Conservatives protested to me, I had to speak to them more sharply, and as they still persisted I was forced to ask the police to separate them from the main body of the march.

When we reached Mile End, in order to join up with the main East London contingent, on instructions from the Chairman of the Hackney Committee, the Rev. Stanley Evans, I contacted the organiser, who again pointed out to the Newletter marchers that they should withdraw their banners and slogans and take part as individuals behind the banners of their districts, but they still refused to co-operate; in fact they were most abusive both to the stewards and the rest of the marchers who protested to them.

The banner of the Newsletter was then placed in the centre of the Hackney Contingent, in spite of the numerous protests of the marchers in our section, who made it quite clear that they did not wish to march behind such a banner and slogan.

As the march came within a mile of Trafalgar Square, on the instructions of the central committee, I asked the marchers to remain silent but the small group behind the banner of the Newsletter, deliberately shouted their slogans even louder in spite of requests from the Chief Marshal of the demonstration not to.

At this point our Hackney contingent made it quite clear to me that they were no longer prepared to march behind this banner, and made their way in front of the Newsletter.

Our stewards, in order to prevent trouble, linked arms at the end of the Hackney section to form a barrier between the ordinary marchers and the supporters of the Newsletter.

Mr Fryer’s friends then tried to resort to both violence and foul abuse, but eventually we were able to calm them down and completely separate them from the rest of the march.

Gerry Ross, National Vice Chairman of the Ex-Service Movement for Peace

From Tribune 11 July 1958

“no sectional slogans”

I am writing as from no political party, but as a supporter of the CND. Tribune readers should beware of following Peter Fryer or of supporting him in the latest stage of his feud with the Communist Party.

The facts about the March on London are these:

The organisers requested all supporters to march in silence. They also requested us to display only campaign slogans.

Many of us disagree with these requests, but nonetheless we believe that the unity of the campaign requires some compromise.

Not so Peter Fryer’s group. Hence the incident he describes.

The background of the steward involved is irrelevant.

Many stewards are Labour Party members whose party is also against the campaign, but as stewards they must carry out the campaign’s instructions.

I believe the CP describes Peter Fryer as a disruptionist. Whatever the accuracy of that description in political circles, it seems justified in the CND context.

G Price

Stalinist amalgam

Mr Gerry Ross, in his letter about the incident of the Newsletter banner, omits to say what the offending inscription on it actually was.

This banner has been around quite a bit by now, and many know that it reads: “The Newsletter says: Industrial Action. Black the H-bomb and the rocket bases."

The slogan shouted by those who accompanied this banner was: “No work on H-bombs! No work on rocket bases!”

Whether one agrees with the idea or not, it can hardly be regarded as out-of-place on a nuclear disarmament march.

Mr Ross manages, by dragging in a totally separate incident, to suggest to uninformed readers that the Newsletter banner said “Rally for Socialism”.

Here we have an example of the time-honoured technique of the “amalgam”, whereby quite separate matters are mixed up so as to confuse issues and lead to false conclusions.

The Stalinist leopard doesn’t change his spots.

One hopes the Rev. Stanley Evans, whose name is apparently taken in vain by Mr Ross will repudiate this prize example of “bearing false witness.”

Brian Pearce

religious hypocrisy

Even after having known Gerry Ross for over 20 years in Hackney, I was still shocked to read his letter.

I was one of the people who formed up for the March on London on 22 June at Hackney Town Hall under the “Socialist Fight” and “Rally Youth for Socialism” banners. Some of us in the march were members of trade union branches which had sent money to the Hackney Committee for Nuclear Disarmament.

It was because we were so well known for so many years as implacable opponents of Stalinism that the Rev. Stanley Evans approached us before we had unrolled our banners to ask apprehensively what was on them.

When we told him, he said it was forbidden to carry them, and that everyone else had had the decency not to carry their own banners.

I would point out that he himself was wearing the collar and cloak which is generally regarded as the banner of the Christian Church. Not being a Christian myself I was tolerant enough to be prepared to march with him for a common aim in spite of his apparel.

We did not at first unroll the two banners, but carried our small posters which read, “Black all Bombs,” “Black all Bases” and “For International Workers’ Solidarity.”

It was not until after Gerry Ross had tried and failed to intimidate us, and had called the police to separate us from the rest of the march that we unfurled our two banners.

Until we reached Cambridge Heath Road, the organisers of the march had no posters or signs of any kind. As it was a Sunday and we were headed by a minister of the church, had it not been for our posters any onlookers could only have assumed that it was a church procession.

We did not see the Newsletter marchers until we reached Mile End. I understand that they received similar treatment.

I notice that Gerry Ross writes on behalf of the Ex-Service Movement for Peace. Was it on behalf of this organisation that he acted in the way he did and called the police, or was it in his capacity as marshal of the Hackney contingent? If in the latter capacity, does the Campaign Committee approve of such methods?

If the Committee disapproved of organisations marching under their own banners, how was it that we saw in the square some trade union, Labour Party and other banners?

I agree in the main with the points made in the excellent letter by Austin Underwood and I wish it were true that the experiences of the Newsletter people had been merely an isolated incident. But the fact that we had the same experience shows that this is not so.

I read an article by AJP Taylor in the New Statesman, in which he deplores the fact that people between 25 and 50 are not being attracted to the campaign.

I don’t think they will be attracted by the distasteful mixture of Stalinist hooliganism and religious hypocrisy.

And until they are attracted in large numbers and the Campaign is firmly based on the trade union and labour movement it cannot be effective.

Doris Lerner

Rally for socialism slogan

As the editor of Rally I should like to clear up one or two points which appeared in Gerry Ross’s letter.

The banner “Rally for Socialism” is one which refers to our youth magazine and to our desire to win young people to the Labour Party and to a socialist programme.

Rally is a nationally read magazine of the Labour Party Youth Sections and has nothing to do with the Newsletter or with Mr Peter Fryer. However on this occasion we can only agree with their slogans calling for industrial action and the politicalisation of the campaign.

We, of Rally, were prominent in the last stages of the Hull to Liverpool march and distributed a leaflet calling on the Campaigners to turn their attention to the Labour Party and the trades unions as the only effective forces capable of doing anything about the bomb.

We believe, in common with all Socialists, that the causes of war are inherent in the chaotic capitalist system and to campaign against the bomb alone, without understanding this, is nothing more or less than shadow boxing.

A movement which does not link itself to the organised workers, and which relies on a platform of “Big Names” will not long hold the interest of the people. But one which appeals to the workers will find a tremendous access of strength.

Beryl Deane

From Tribune 18 July 1958

cnd policy

In this unhappy affair of Peter Fryer and the Newsletter contingent in the CND “March on London”, it seems to me, as a participant in the Northern Contingent who was able to shout, in company with many other marchers the Aldermaston slogan “No work on rocket bases; no work on H-bombs” without any untoward incidents that two policy question need to be given unequivocable answers.

a. Do the leaders of the CND give support to the idea that British workers and scientists should individually or in groups, refuse to work making H-bombs and rocket bases?

If so, how did it come about that an attempt (happily unsuccessful) was made with police assistance to exclude some people from the march for voicing CND policy?

b. The strange intervention of Mr Gerry Ross, Secretary of the Ex-Service Movement for Peace group, who was the Warden who tried to carry out this discrimination, certainly needs explanation.

As everyone knows, CND came into existence primarily to campaign for the idea that Britain should now, before Summit talks or after them, destroy all her stocks of H-bombs, stop making H-bombs, refuse to have American H-bobs located in Britain and, of course, stop testing H-weapons.

Does the Ex-Service Movement for Peace support this policy wholeheartedly and completely?

Knowing how closely this organisation works under the direct control of Communist Party bureaucrats and knowing the foxy, two-faced attitude of that party on “unilateralism” I suspect Mr Ross will duck this question with some wily, double meaning phrase — like the recent one “regretting” that the Hungarian government found it necessary to murder Nagy.

But if Mr Ross is not really a supporter of CND policy, how on earth was he ever appointed as a March-Warden with evidently, plenipotentiary powers over what policies marchers should advocate?

John Daniels, Editor Labour Review


As I was responsible for the organisation of the March on London, may I comment on the controversy which has arisen in your columns…

It has been made clear on many occasions that CND welcomes the participation of any group which supports the policy statement of the Campaign and that in particular we welcome the appearance of trade union representatives and banners in our demonstrations.

Throughout the country, the CND unites thousands of people in their fight against nuclear weapons. These supporters accept the CND programme, but obviously have their differing opinions about the value of other approaches. It is therefore, apparent that misunderstandings and difficulties are bound to arise if any individual or group insists on displaying banners or posters which advertise a sectional viewpoint — or periodical — within a procession or meeting organised by the CND.

Futile arguments and even ugly incidents can then occur because that sectional viewpoint advertised is not accepted — perhaps not understood by — the others present.

The same problems arise over the shouting of slogans. Like many others I have taken part in demonstrations — outside the Campaign — where the slogans shouted have produced more dissension in the ranks than dismay amongst the opposition.

The “silent march” technique of the Campaign has produced results which have been impressive by any standard, and has given encouragement to, and brought support from our friends in other countries.

It should be unnecessary to point out that the creation of these difficulties can only help those who work to destroy the unity of our struggle against the threat of nuclear warfare. That unity — forged at Hiroshima and Nagasaki — is our most vital possession.

If we differ — let us not divide. Instead, inside the growing Campaign, let us join to hammer out our differences into a pattern of activity which will change the direction of British policy.

Michael L Howard.

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