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Eight Years of CND

For CND the great days are over. Nowadays, almost the only sign that it ever existed is the annual Easter demonstration. And yet, in its day the campaign made a terrific impact on the British political scene. Its slogan and adopted symbol were universally recognised; it was half of an argument which split the mighty Labour Party from top to bottom and which consistently hogged the headlines and correspondence columns of the National Press.

CND was the marvel of a time notorious for its political apathy, but the wonder is not that it happened at all, rather why it took so long to materialise. From the moment Rutherford split the atom it became simply a question of time before the warlike, capitalist society would utilise this new source of energy for its own destructive ends.

Man Should Matter Most

The recent years have been times of vigorous protest. The Bomb and World Poverty have been two issues which have sparked off great indignation and organisations such as CND and Oxfam. However, the ability of CND to sustain its enthusiasm has undoubtedly waned. CND has been an organisation built up around what seemed to be a simple answer to a clear-cut problem. On analysis, however, CND undoubtedly asked more questions that it could itself answer. Involvement in its activities was its own invitation to doubt and further criticism. CNDers became embarrassed by the irrelevance of their narrow protest, the Bomb, to the problem of war in general. Other questions they began to ask were—should they act politically, what form of political group or party should their protest take?

Why I Left CND

I was one of the enthusiastic teenage supporters of CND who took part in the 1964 Easter March. That was the last year I marched, because by Easter 1965 I had ceased supporting CND and had become a member of the Socialist Party of Great Britain.

It is difficult to recall when I first became attracted to the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. I think I was automatically thrown into sympathy with it by the foolish outlook of many of its fiercest opponents. 1 was visiting London one Easter, saw the March pass through Trafalgar Square and was surprised by the huge number of marchers. Later I bought CND pamphlets from a “Communist” bookshop. One in particular impressed me—Win We Must by Bertrand Russell. This decided me to join my local CND group.

CND - Out of Touch With Reality

When India's Prime Minister Mr. Nehru decided to prepare by all possible means for what he said might be a war against China lasting for years, he admitted that under pressure of events he and the Indian government had abandoned their long-held policy. He said that for years they had been “out of touch with reality,” and the Chinese invasion had shocked them all out of “the artificial atmosphere of our creation.” For years Nehru had been chiding other governments for their reliance on arms and the waging of war—now he was calling on the Indian workers to emulate the action of the British Government in 1940 of building up armaments after the evacuation of Dunkirk. He appealed to the American and British governments, hitherto the objects of his rebukes, to supply arms to India.

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