“what should we do now?” asked the secretary of a live Lancashire group of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
“We’ve held a public meeting. We’ve been to see our M.P. We addressed five trade union branches. Now we feel at a loss to know what to do next.”
To which my reply was—and is: “Keep on as you are doing. You are succeeding far better than you realise.”
It is less than two years since the CND held its first public meeting in Central London on a cold February night in 1958. Yet look at the movement today, with its 350 active groups. Think of the two Aldermaston marches, the greatest demonstrations in Britain since the Hunger Marches.
Then there is the tremendous impact on the Labour movement, the majority vote at the T.U.C. for ending U.S. missile bases in Britain and the huge minority vote for stopping H-bomb manufacture unilaterally, and the 137 resolutions on the agenda of the postponed Labour Party conference urging unilateral action.
Remember, too, that what we are seeking is no small thing. To ask that a nation should give up the most powerful weapon in its arsenal is almost a revolutionary demand. Frankly, I believe that the CND has made astonishing progress—far greater than I ever expected in so short a time.
I hope that no New Left Review readers will be misled by the reopening of the Geneva talks on stopping tests or by the prospect of a Summit conference, into thinking that the campaign is now less urgent. Naturally there are few things I’d rather see than the success of these conferences. But I am pessimistic.