Book: Swimming Against the Tide
SWIMMING AGAINST THE TIDE
The Peace Pledge Union Story 1934 - 2014
Peace Pledge Union
The Peace Pledge Union has campaigned against war for 80 years. Founded in the shadow of World War One with the threat of World War Two already looming, its basis has always been that each person has a choice: whether to accept war and war preparations as a fact of 'normal' life or to renounce war and actively work for peace. Swimming Against the Tide is the story of a group of people who challenge the belief that organised killing of fellow human beings is a just and moral project.
It is hardly surprising that such a revolutionary challenge has caused questions to be asked in Parliament and led people to the dock and even prison, simply for trying to build a world without weapons and military force. But this is also a story of compassion, of people whose answer to the Spanish Civil War was to provide a home for Basque refugee children, who helped those fleeing Germany before the mass exterminations began, who pioneered a new from of social work for the most disadvantaged amidst the chaos of evacuation and bombing at home, who organised food for the starving of occupied Europe even while the war was going on and who worked for the rebuilding of life in a Europe shattered by war. It is also a story of a group whose early campaigning on the nuclear threat paved the way for the CND and who were at Aldermaston before the famous marchers.
Here is the story of the Peace Pledge Union's continuing concern with white poppies and alternative Remembrance from the 1930s onwards, with conscientious objection - from early members who had been sentenced to death but then reprieved as WWI objectors to the current right of soldiers to claim conscientious discharge - and with education, helping young people to understand and resist pressures to accept war as a routine answer to conflict.
Militarism is once again on the march and the Peace Pledge Union still works, as it has since 1934, to bring to a wider audience the key signposts to a less warlike world. This is its story.