Objections to British rearmament from a pacifists British Trade Union movement in the thirties.

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Joined: 3-03-18
Mar 4 2018 14:40
Objections to British rearmament from a pacifists British Trade Union movement in the thirties.

I’m an elderly student of politics and a member of the Labour Party who is attempting to discover the level of pacifism within the British Trade Union movement in the 1930s.
I believe that it is self evident that the horrors of the First World War lead to a high degree of pacifism in Britain overall which influenced the failure of British Governments to rearm in the 1930s.
The Labour Party and Trade Unions played a part in this decision making. However, search as hard as I can I have been unable to find any publications that actually discusses the strength of Pacifism within the TUC, the official Trade Unions and organised workers generally prior to the Second World War. Could anyone point me towards anything?

Joined: 20-04-08
Mar 4 2018 19:10

Try contacting the SPGB. They hold a valuable archive including non-party material and will be happy to rummage around in it for appropriate stuff, if you politely and comradely request assistance. Meantime here is a few related links



I came across this quote which i paraphrase
"There's no point in being a pacifist in peace-time; pacifism counts only in a war or when war is threatened."

Mike Harman
Joined: 7-02-06
Mar 7 2018 11:44

When I can't find what I'm looking for, I try to read around it (either chronologically or sideways), and sometimes you can find more that way.

Worth taking a look at Class War on the Home Front about the Anti-Parliamentary Communist Federation https://libcom.org/library/apcf-class-war-home-front - this was a political group but it was active in opposition to the Second World War and had links to organised workers.

Red Clydeside immediately after the end of the First World War if you don't mind going back a decade from the '30s. https://libcom.org/tags/red-clydeside

And this history of the 1925 Seaman's strike where sailors took on the Liberal politician and union leader Havelock Wilson: https://libcom.org/library/strike-across-empire-baruch-hirson-lorraine-vivian

The resistance to Mosley's BUF: https://libcom.org/tags/british-union-fascists

And the programme of forced labour camps in the UK for unemployed people in the '30s: https://libcom.org/library/concentration-camps-in-england-1929-39