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Posts Tagged ‘pacifism’

Isabella Fyvie Mayo was born in London in 1843. Her family were originally from Aberdeen, and after being widowed, in 1878, she moved to Aberdeen, staying there until her death in 1914. She was first and foremost a published novelist writing under the pen-name Edward Garrett, yet she was also an activist involved in numerous causes.

She was founder member of the Aberdeen branch of the Anti-Vivisection League (1906), starting and editing an Aberdeen (later Scottish) newsletter called ‘Our Fellow Mortals’. In 1893 she co-founded an anti-racism organisation called the (later ‘International’) Society for the Recognition of the Brotherhood of Man (1893 – 1897). This Society was inaugurated in Aberdeen with meetings addressed by African-American Ida B. Wells on the lynching of blacks in America. Mayo was President and contributed to the management of the society’s organ ‘Fraternity’. The Aberdeen branch was very active and other individuals invited to Aberdeen included West Indian proto-anti-imperialist Celestine Edwards, African American ex-Senator J. Green and future pan-Africanist J.E. Casely-Hayford. She was also temporary Secretary of the Aberdeen Ladies’ Educational Association.

She spoke at meetings of the Aberdeen EIS, Aberdeen Trades Union Council, at a Stop-the-War meeting in 1900 and at Women’s Social and Political Union Suffrage meetings in 1907. She often took to the platform recruiting members to join unions, talking on socialism and anti-imperialism, and on one occasion chaired a concert in aid of striking operative engineers. She moved in political circles, being friends with William Diack of the Social Democratic Federation and various Aberdeen trades council members. In 1894 she was the first woman elected to the Aberdeen School Board and did so supported by the male working class Aberdeen Trades Union Council.

From the 1890s she promoted Leo Tolstoy who had begun to write on religious, ethical and political themes and she considered herself a Tolstoyan anarchist – seeking to promote social revolution through the peaceful process of personal reformation.

References:  ‘A notable personality’: Isabella Fyvie Mayo in the public and private sphere of Aberdeen (Lindy Moore, Women’s History Review, 2013) and Recollections of What I Saw, What I Lived Through, and What I Learned, during more than Fifty Years of Social and Literary Experience (Isabella Fyvie Mayo, London, 1910).

Sources: unknown

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CND was founded nationally in 1957 with Scottish CND founded in 1958. CND has always drawn on a varied membership ranging from Christian pacifists, moderate Labour through to the Communist Party and more radical groups such as anarchists.

There was a University of Aberdeen Society, active by 1959, and in the early days travelled to demos in Aldermaston, Glasgow and Holy Loch. It would appear that the University society was also dormant for parts of the 1970s (between c.1970 and 1978).

There was also an Aberdeen Branch active at the very beginning and there was also a youth wing (YCND) which formed about 1963. There were also at certain periods a number of local branches across the north east.

Related entries: Aberdeen Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

References: University Freshers’ magazines.

Sources: unknown. A couple of items as part of Mary Esslemont’s (physician and local member of Aberdeen CND) papers (1960 – 1979) are held at University of Aberdeen Library. The national CND records are held across the British Library of Political and Economic Science and the Modern Records Centre at Warwick University. Some Scottish material is held at Glasgow Mitchell Library.

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A University of Aberdeen society which advertised in the 1952 and 1953 Freshers’ magazines.

References: University Freshers’ magazines.

Sources: unknown.

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The British Withdrawal from Northern Ireland Campaign (BWNIC) was a national campaign formed in 1973, that sprang from the peace movement, centred around Peace News and mostly being members of the Peace Pledge Union. The group circulated a leaflet ‘Some Information for Discontented Soldiers’, which led to a notable court case. There was a BWNIC Defence Group in Aberdeen, who circulated leaflets and collected money in order to fight the court case. The contact group was like for many local groups, Aberdeen People’s Press.

References: Aberdeen People’s Press.

Sources: there are copies of some printed material as part of Aberdeen Peoples Press archive at University of Aberdeen Library.

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A University of Aberdeen Society which appears in the 1987 Freshers’ magazine. The Society aimed to highlight repression in Ireland and campaigned on plastic bullets, strip searching and sectarian discrimination in housing and employment. The Society saw the main cause of the repression was the British military and political presence there.

References: University Freshers’ magazines.

Sources: unknown.

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The group organised a mass march in March 2003, just prior to the start of the invasion of Iraq, and reported that some 2500 people attended, including a large number of school, college and university students as well as pensioners and trade unionists. Following this there were numerous other protests including outside the army recruiting centre in Belmont Street.

There was a national organisation as well, the Scottish Coalition for Justice Not War, 2001 – c.2006, established by a broad range of organisations including religious, peace, environmental, union and political organisations.

References: article on Indymedia website.

Sources: unknown.

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The Troops Out Society was a University of Aberdeen student society which was formed in 1984 and campaigned for the withdrawal of British soldiers from Northern Ireland.

It is presumed that the society was modelled on the national Troops Out Movement campaign group which was formed in 1973 and is still active today.

References: University Freshers’ magazines.

Sources: unknown.

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