Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Archibald Fenner Brockway
After leaving school he worked as a journalist for a variety of papers and journals including The Quiver and the Daily News and the Christian Commonwealth . It was while working at this last paper that he had the opportunity to meet and interview many of the radical left-wing thinkers of his time. Among others, he interviewed such notables as H. G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw.
He was appointed editor of the Labour Elector (the newspaper of the ILP) and was, by 1913 a committed pacifist. He opposed British involvement in the First World War and was outspoken in his views about the conflict through his position as editor of the Labour Elector. The offices of the Labour Elector were raided in August 1915 and Brockway was charged with publishing seditious material. He pleaded not guilty to this charge and won his case in court.
In 1916 Brockway was again arrested, this time for distributing anti-conscription leaflets. Brockway was fined for this, and after refusing to pay the fine, was sent to Pentonville Prison for two months.
Shortly after his release Brockway was arrested for a third time for his refusal to be conscripted. Considered a traitor under the Military Services Act Brockway was imprisoned in the Tower of London, in a dungeon under Chester Castle and finally in Walton Prison, Liverpool.
Following his release from prison in 1919 Brockway became an active member of the India League which advocated Indian independence.
In 1929 Brockway successfully stood for the House of Commons seat of East Leyton as a British Labour Party candidate. He polled 11,111 votes, and immediately after the election, the Liberal candidate announced that Brockway had converted him to socialism. In 1931 Brockway lost his seat and the following year he disaffiliated from the British Labour Party along with the rest of the ILP.
With the rise of Fascism in mainland Europe Brockway began to believe that it may be necessary to fight in order to preserve the peace in the long run. Despite his strong pacifist beliefs he began assisting with the recruitment of British volunteers to go to fight Franco in Spain through the ILP. Among those who went to Spain to fight fascism was Eric Blair (better known as George Orwell) and it is known that Brockway wrote a letter of recommendation for Eric Blair to present to the ILP representatives in Barcelona, Spain.
Following the Spanish Civil War Brockway advocated public understanding of the conflict. He wrote a number of articles about the conflict and was influential in getting George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia published.
Brockway lost his seat in the House of Commons at the 1964 election, possibly because his strongly left-wing views upset many of his constituents. Brockway subsequently accepted a life peerage and took up a seat in the House of Lords.
Brockway continued to campaign for world peace and was for several years the chairman of the Movement for Colonial Freedom. Other important posts held by Brockway include the Presidency of the British Council for Peace in Vietnam and the chairmanship of the World Disarmament Campaign.
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