British Labour Party and International Relations: Socialism by John Callaghan, Mark Phythian

By John Callaghan, Mark Phythian

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Purcell, Manchester organiser of the National Amalgamated Furnishing Trades Association, and a member of the BSP left wing; and the 21-year-old James Figgins, a critic of J. H. Thomas within the National Union of Railwaymen who went on to be elected its first left-wing leader in 1948; and the young Will Lawther of the miners, who was so opposed to the war that he even refused to subscribe to the Red Cross. Ernest Bevin, one of the dockers’ national organisers in 1914, was by contrast critical of both the super patriots as well as those who were strongly against the war.

36 A mutual guarantee against aggression among the Powers would be at the heart of it, guaranteeing the independence and territorial integrity of all of them. Theodore Roosevelt had championed this idea of the world order well before the war broke out. Hobson envisaged, as did the former President, an undertaking between the Powers to submit all differences between them to certain arbitration and conciliation procedures conducted by impartial tribunal. The tribunal would have the power to secure submission of all issues and acceptance of all awards.

He nevertheless began to emerge as the champion of a democratic peace settlement based on the absence of annexations and indemnities, control of the arms race and the armaments industries. The feeling was abroad that the future peace of nations depended on some sort of international body with the power to enforce international agreements and arbitrate disputes. 44 In these circles a programme for a constructive peace was developed in early 1915 and it bore a strong resemblance to the thinking of the UDC in Britain.

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