Tag: <span>USSR</span>

Henry Usborne Rapprochement of Cultures.

Henry Usborne. World Citizen Activist.

Featured Image:  Big Ben, London, United Kingdom Photo by Adi Ulici on Unsplash.

Henry Usborne (16 Jan. 1909 -16 March 1996).
By Rene Wadlow.

Henry Usborne was a British Member of Parliament (M.P.); elected in the Labour Party landslide in 1945. He was re-elected in 1950.

He was an engineer and Burmingham businessman yet a socialist. Born in India; he always had a broad view of world politics.

He was concerned that the United Nations;  whose Charter had been signed in June 1945 before the use of the atomic bombs had the same weaknesses as the League of Nations. Soon after his election; he spoke in Parliament for the U.N. to have the authority to enforce its decisions; an authority which the League of Nations lacked. He spoke out for a code of human rights and for an active world bank.

League of Nations Association.

The early years of the United Nations were colored by the growing tensions between the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R.  The start of the Cold War. There were deep disagreements over the future of Germany. Non-official contacts between English and Soviets became more difficult. Proposals for international control of atomic energy were refused or not acted upon within the U.N.

Thus Usborne; while still favorable to the efforts of the U.N. felt that more popular support for a stronger U.N. was needed. He was influenced by the experience of the 1934 Peace Ballot;  which had been organized by the U.K. League of Nations Association. Voters in this non-official vote were asked if they were in support of Britain remaining in the League of Nations. Over 11 million votes were cast with some 10 million in favor of remaining in the League.

It is likely that those who wanted out did not bother to vote. Nevertheless; the 1934 Peace Ballot showed strong popular support for the League.

Usborne played a key role in 1946 in the creation by world citizens and world federalists from Western Europe and the U.S.A;  in the creation in a meeting in Luxembourg of the Movement for a World Federal Government. With these new contacts;  he envisaged a vote in the U.S.A; and much of Western Europe to elect delegates to a Peoples’ World Convention;  which would write a constitution for a stronger world institution.

The U.S. Constitutional Convention.

He proposed that there be one delegate per million population of each State participating. He did not envisage that the U.S.S.R. and its allies would participate;  but he hoped that India would as Jawaharlal Nehru had played a key role in developing support for the United Nations. (1)

In October 1947; he went on a speaking tour of the United States. His ideas were widely understood as they followed somewhat the pattern of the U.S. Constitutional Convention. The delegates; had originally been chosen to develop amendments to the existing Articles of Confederation. They set aside their mandate to draft a totally other basis of union among the states; which became the U.S. Constitution. Understanding did not necessarily mean support; yet a fairly large number of organizations were willing to consider the idea.

Jawaharlal Nehru

Jawaharlal Nehru, the main campaigner of the Indian National Congress, 1951-52 elections. The poster reads ‘for a stable, secular, progressive state; VOTE CONGRESS’. By Indian National Congress, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Third World War.

However;  in June 1950, war was started in Korea. Usborne and many others were worried that this was the start of the Third World War. Usborne as many other world citizens turned their activities toward the need for a settlement with the U.S.S.R; and forms of arms control if there was no possibility for disarmament. The idea of the creation of an alternative world institution; stronger than the U.N. was largely set aside. The focus became on strengthening the U.N. by finding programs; in which the U.S.S.R. and the U.S.A. could participate;  such as some of the early proposals for U.N. technical assistance programs. (2)

Usborne;  as other world citizens,  put an emphasis on developing a sense of world citizenship and a loyalty to all of humanity;  without spelling out the institutional structures; such world citizenship should take. At the end of his second term in Parliament; he left party politics; but remained an active world citizen always willing to share his convictions.

Notes.

(1) See Manu Bhagavan. The Peacemakers. India and the Quest For One World (New Delhi: HarperCollins India, 2012).
(2) See Stringfellow Barr. Citizens of the World (New York:Doubleday and Company, 1952).

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

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Jayaprakash Narayan Rapprochement of Cultures.

Jayaprakash Narayan: Advocate of the Nonviolent Total Revolution.

Featured Image: Jayaprakash Narayan during his visit in Germany, 1959. By Ullstein bild, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Jayaprakash Narayan (1902-1979) whose birth anniversary we mark on 11 October, was an Indian social reformer in the struggle for Indian independence led by Mahatma Gandhi and a social reformer after the independence of India.  J.P. as he was usually called, had followed the advice given by Gandhi to refuse schooling financed by the British colonial authorities.  Thus in 1922, he left India to go to the USA.  With part-time jobs, he financed  his education at different U.S. universities until 1929 when he received a Master’s degree in sociology from the University of Ohio and  then returned to India.

While at the University of Wisconsin, through some professors and a few students, he discovered the writings of Karl Marx and ever after considered himself a Marxist.  As he wrote:

Marxism provided a beacon of light for me: equality and brotherhood.  Freedom was not enough. It must mean freedom for all – even the lowliest – and this freedom must include freedom from exploitation, from hunger and poverty.”

On his return to India, he went to stay at the rural center where Mahatma Gandhi lived and where he had left his wife.  J.P. had married Prabhavat, whose father was a prominent co-worker of Gandhi.  She was 14 years old at the time and Gandhi and his wife had accepted her  as an adopted daughter when J.P. left for the U.S.  While he was away, she took the vow for a life-long abstinence from sexual relations which Gandhi encouraged  his followers to take. Thus, she and J.P. had no children.  She was highly devoted to him and an active support during the many years that he spent in jail for his political activities.  Her death in 1973 was a hard blow to him, especially as his health was then declining.

Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi. By Elliott & Fry (see [1]), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

As Bimal Prasad writes in his analysis of the leadership qualities of Jayaprakash Narayan.

While Gandhi led India to freedom and Nehru laid the foundations of a modern, democratic state, it was left to J.P. to go on struggling for the establishment of a social order in India, of which both Gandhi and Nehru had dreamt.  The dominant feature of his political life extending over half a century was a quest for a revolution which would usher in a just social order, enshrining equality as well as freedom.”

In the years prior to Independence, he moved around the country, helping to set up an underground network of activists.  He was first put in jail in 1932 by the British; again in 1940 for 9 months and then moved into a prison camp where he fasted for nearly one month demanding the release of other prisoners.  He escaped from the camp but was re-arrested in 1943 and released only in April 1946 when negotiations between the Indian Congress leaders, especially Nehru  and the British were well under way. 

Jayaprakash Narayan had always stressed that independence could not be granted by England.  Independence could come only by a seizure of power, led especially by peasants. J.P. opposed the idea of dividing British India into India and Pakistan, but his release from prison was too late for him to have any influence on the negotiations.

Democratic Socialism.

When not in prison, he had organized a Marxist current within the Congress Movement, called the Socialist Congress Party.  Jayaprakash Narayan  had already in the mid 1930s become highly critical of the Stalinist government of the USSR, its emphasis on State-ownership of heavy industry, its collectivization of agriculture, the “Moscow trials” of former party leaders, and the efforts of Stalin to control all Marxist movements abroad.  Thus J.P. put his emphasis on what he called “Democratic Socialism” and stopped calling himself a Marxist.

J.P. by temperament was not attracted to parliamentary life with its maneuvering for power and position.  He did not stand for elections and refused an offer by Nehru to enter the government as a minister.  He was always an advocate of decentralization and the idea of local leadership in the form of “village republics”.  Thus, when a close co-workers  with Gandhi, Vinoba Bhave, began the Bhoodan (land gift) movement in 1951 he joined the effort to have land owners give some of their land to the landless.  

He left the re-named Socialist Party, which in any case by 1955 had disintegrated into factions and had largely disappeared from the political scene.  J.P. also was out of sight of those interested in politics until 1974.  Then in 1974, dismayed by what he said was:

dishonesty, corruption, manipulation of the masses, naked struggle for personal power and personal gain”.

he decided to act politically.  He added:

The permissible limits have already been crossed in this country.” 

 

He called upon students to push for the dissolution of the Bihar Assembly (his home state) the Vidhan Sabhap.  He created what he called the Sampona Kranti, the Total Revolution Movement.  The movement started spreading, and the Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, Nehru’s daughter, declared an Emergency, allowing for strong restrictions on civil liberty. Although J.P. had been close to Nehru and looked upon Indira Gandhi as his niece, he was critical of her way of functioning.  J.P. was arrested but then released because of his ill health.  The Emergency lasted from June 1975 until January 1977.

J.P.’s last years until his 1979 death were those of ill health and sadness.  There had not been a Total Revolution nor had village republics been created.

However, his goal lives on.

The problem is to put man in touch with man, so that they may live together in meaningful, understandable, controllable relationships. In short, the problem is to recreate the human community.”

Vinoba Bhave Jawaharlal Nehru with Vinoba Bhave at the Paunar Ashram. By Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Note:

(1) Bimal Prasad. Gandhi, Nehru, and J.P. Studies in Leadership.
(
Delhi: Chanakya Publications, 1985)

 

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

 

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

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Nuclear Weapons Appeals

UN-led International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear…

Featued Image: A U.S. Air Force McDonnell F-4C-22-MC Phantom II aircraft (s/n 64-0727) releasing a B83 nucelar bomb at Edwards Air Force Base during the last flight of the B83 project. Armed, the B83 has a maximum yield of 1.2 megatons. By Zapka, USAF, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

By Rene Wadlow.

“The struggle against the nuclear weapon cult and threats it poses to the international peace,
security and development, like all struggles against belief systems which have outlived their times,
is going to be long and arduous.”
K. Subrahmanyam. Nuclear Proliferation and International Security.

The United Nations General Assembly has designated 26 September as the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, being celebrated this year for the third time;

“to enhance public awareness and education about the threat posed to humanity by nuclear weapons and the necessity for their total elimination in order to mobilize international efforts toward achieving the common goal of a nuclear-weapon free world.”

Achieving global nuclear disarmament − or at least forms of nuclear arms control − is one of the oldest goals of the UN. Nuclear weapon control was the subject of the first resolution of the UN General Assembly and it is the heart of Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

“Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.” A Review Conference on the Treaty is held at the United Nations once every five years since 1975, and the representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have constantly reminded governments of their lack of “good faith”.

I chaired the NGO representatives at the 1975 and 1980 Review Conferences, and while our views were listened to with some interest, the Review Conferences have been a reflection of the status of world politics at the time not a momentum for change, as the 2015 Review showed.

There are still some 16,000 nuclear weapons in the world, largely in the hands of the USA and the Russian Federation, some on “ready alert”. There are plans to “modernize” nuclear weapons, and there are at least seven other States with nuclear weapons: North Korea, Pakistan, India and China in Asia, Israel in the Middle East and France and the UK in Europe. The instability and tensions of current world politics merit that we look at the ways in which governments and NGOs have tried to deal with the existence of nuclear weapons, their control and their possible abolition.

There have been four avenues proposed in the decades since 1945: presented, dropped, re-presented, combined with other proposals for political settlements, linked to proposals for general disarmament or focused on nuclear issues alone.

  1.  The first avenue proposed was the Baruch Plan, named after Bernard Baruch, a financier, often advisors to US Presidents going back to Woodrow Wilson and the First World War. He had been named a US delegate to the UN in charge of atomic issues. At the time, the USA had a monopoly of the scientific knowledge and technology needed to produce the A-Bomb, but the scientists who were advisors to Baruch knew that it was only a matter of time before other States, in particular the USSR, would also have the knowledge and technology.
  • Therefore it seemed that the best hope of avoiding an arms race with nuclear weapons was to bring all the atomic energy industry under international UN control. The Baruch Plan proposed the creation of all International Atomic Development Agency which would have a monopoly of all activities connected with atomic research and development such as mining, ownership and management of refineries, and the construction of atomic reactors. The Agency staff would be internationally recruited and would be free from interference from national governments.

However, the Baruch Plan was proposed as the Cold War (1945-1990) was starting to heat up and become more structured. In 1949, the US nuclear monopoly was broken by the explosion of the first Soviet bomb, and then in 1950, war started in Korea.

Bernard Baruch

 BARUCH, BERNARD. By Library of Congress, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Korean War led to the next stage, the second and third avenues in nuclear arms policy, someone contradictory but proposed at the same time, and in the light of the Korean War experience.

  • 2.  Avenue two proposed that limited war could be carried out but with nuclear weapons that were smaller than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima and that would not necessary lead to an all-out war between the USA and the USSR. This avenue is most closely associated with Henry Kissinger and his book Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy. (1) The 1950-1953 Korean War showed that war was a real possibility, due perhaps to political miscalculations, erroneous intelligence, and failure to see how a local situation could have a much broader impact.

Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State and national security advisor for Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. By  LBJ Library, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
  • The Korean War stopped without a victor, leaving a divided Korea, a situation which has gone on until today. The Korean experience augmented by the French-Vietnamese War which ended in 1954 led strategic thinkers to reflect on the nature of limited war. At the same time that Henry Kissinger was writing his book, reflecting largely in similar ways, Robert Osgood of the University of Chicago was teaching a seminar on limited war in which I was one of his students. The seminar led to the widely-read book: Limited War: The Challenge to American Strategy. (2)
  • 3. It was in Europe where the opposing NATOWarsaw Pact forces faced each other most closely, that the third avenue was proposed: nuclear-weapon free zones. In October 1957, the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Adam Rapacki, put forward a plan for creating a nuclear-weapon free and neutral zone in central Europe, usually known as the “Rapacki Plan“. The first stage would be the ‘freezing’ of nuclear armaments in Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the two German States. The second stage would consist of a reduction of conventional armaments and complete de-nuclearization of the four States.

Adam Rapacki

Adam Rapacki (December 24, 1909–October 10, 1970) – a Polish politician and diplomat. By Official photo of members of Politbureau of PZPR after IV Congress. “Trybuna Ludu” 1964 Author:unknown. Wikimedia Commons.

Cuban Missiles Crisis.

Although there had been intense discussions within the Warsaw Pact States before the Rapacki proposal was made public, mutual mistrust and suspicion among NATO and Warsaw Pact countries was such that no negotiations were undertaken. The situation was made all the more complicated by the Western refusal to recognize the German Democratic Republic. However, Rapacki had given birth to the innovative idea of negotiated nuclear-weapon free zones coupled with confidence-building measures.

Nuclear-weapon free zones took shape after the 1962 Cuban missiles crisis. Even today, it is difficult to know how close to a war the 1962 nuclear missiles in Cuba brought the USA and the USSR. It was close enough that it worried leaders in Latin America. Led by the Ambassador of Mexico to the UN and later Nobel Laureate, Alfonso Garcia Robles, negotiations for a Latin American nuclear-weapon free zone were started, and in 1967, 21 Latin American States signed the Treaty of Tlatelolco. In Latin America, two of the largest countries, Argentina and Brazil have nuclear power industries and a potential capacity to develop nuclear weapons. Thus the Treaty provides a confidence-building framework between these two regional powers, although the two States have none of the tensions between them that colored Warsaw Pact-NATO relations.

 

the Cuban Missile Crisis

Hyde Park Protesters October 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis. By Don O’Brien, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

 

The Latin American nuclear-weapon free zone has led to other treaties creating nuclear-weapon free zones in the South Pacific, Africa and Central Asia.

  • 4.  The fourth avenue and the one most discussed at the UN these days is a convention to ban the possession and use of nuclear weapons on the lines of the conventions to ban chemical weapons, anti-personnel land mines and cluster munitions. These bans are based on the unacceptable humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons, the inability to distinguish between civilians and military and other violations of the principles of humanitarian law.

A Nuclear Weapons Convention has captured the imagination of many in the disarmament community, initially among NGOs but increasingly within the governments of non-nuclear weapon States and the diplomatic community. The Nuclear Weapons Convention is strongly modeled on the Chemical Weapons Convention. Having followed from the sidelines the decade-long negotiations in Geneva which led to the Chemical Weapons Convention, I see two major differences. First, there had not been the wide discussions of the strategic use of chemical weapons as there had been on the strategic use of nuclear weapons in limited war situations.

The second difference which had its impact is that the major chemical companies in Western Europe and the USA did not want to get involved in making chemical weapons. The costs for securing the manufacture of such weapons was greater than what they could charge governments for chemical weapons. Western governments were also reluctant to construct government-owned factories for making chemical weapons, all the more so that there existed a 1925 Geneva Protocol against their use. However, there is still money to be made in the nuclear weapons field.

Track II-NGO efforts.

My own view is that effective nuclear-weapon control will come from a combined regional conflict resolution and nuclear-weapon free zone approach that was first set out in the Rapacki proposals. I believe that the Korean Peninsula holds the most potential for a settlement within a nuclear-weapon free zone. There are proposals for re-starting six-power talks, and there are some Track II-NGO efforts along this line. A Middle East nuclear-weapon free zone coupled with conflict resolution and security provisions would be the most necessary given the current tensions and armed conflicts. The recent agreement with Iran may be a step in this direction. India-Pakistan tensions have gone on so long that both States may know how not to push too hard, but there are always dangers of events slipping out of control.

26 September serves as a reminder of the avenues proposed for nuclear disarmament, but disarmament diplomacy has stalled too often and inconsistent policies by governments have made the goal of complete elimination seem unreachable in the short term. Nevertheless we, as non-governmental peacebuilders, must continue to work creatively to generate the groundswell of opinion that will create a momentum of political will to move to a world without war and without nuclear weapons.

 

NOTES.

(1) KISSINGER. H. (1957) Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy. New York: Harper.

(2) OSGOOD. R. (1957) Limited War: The Challenge to American Strategy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

 

Rene Wadlow is President and Representative of the Association of World Citizens to the United Nations, Geneva.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

World Refugee Day.

June 20 is the United Nations (UN)-designated World Refugee Day;  marking the signing in 1951 of the Convention on Refugees. The condition of refugees and migrants has become a “hot”…

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