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Sun Nov 11, 2012, 10:08 PM

12 November 1924: The Death of ED Morel

... Morel armed himself with a camera, and brought back graphic images of mutilated children and piles of bodies that countered the official propaganda of the time. He wrote a book, “Red Rubber”, and also founded a newspaper, The West African Mail, which served as vehicles to expose and publicise what was happening. Most significantly, he set up the Congo Reform Association – the first mass human rights campaign. Other high profile people supported the campaign, notably Irish revolutionary and diplomat, Roger Casement, and authors Joseph Conrad and Mark Twain. The tide of public opinion eventually forced other Western governments to bring pressure on Belgium, and in 1908 Leopold sold his stake to the Belgian state at great personal profit. Reform was promised, but the atrocities continued. Morel and his Congo Reform Association continued to agitate for change for another four years ...

As the Congo campaign ended, clouds were gathering over Europe. Morel returned to England and was selected as a Liberal Party candidate for the Birkenhead constituency. Concerned about how behind-the-scenes diplomacy was only making matters worse, he formed the Union of Democratic Control. This organisation became the biggest and most effective anti-war movement of the first world war.

Morel was hated by the jingoistic press who did everything they could to smear him. And smear him they did. UDC meetings were frequently disrupted, Morel was physically attacked several times, he was deselected as a parliamentary candidate by his own party, and, finally, arrested on order of the Home Secretary – despite the police being unable to find any evidence of criminality. Morel spent 6 months in Pentonville prison under such harsh conditions that he would never fully recovered from his ordeal.

After the war, Morel was an outspoken critic of the Treaty of Versailles, prophetically warning that its humiliating and restricting terms would lead to another war. He left the Liberal Party and joined the newly formed Independent Labour Party. Selected as a candidate for Dundee, he defeated Winston Churchill to win a seat in the first ever Labour Government ...


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Reply 12 November 1924: The Death of ED Morel (Original post)
struggle4progress Nov 2012 OP
struggle4progress Nov 2012 #1
struggle4progress Nov 2012 #2

Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 10:10 PM

1. King Leopold and the Congo Free State

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Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 10:21 PM

2. ... On the outbreak of the First World War, three senior members of the government,

Charles Trevelyan, John Burns, and John Morley resigned. Trevelyan began contacting friends about a new political organisation he intended to form to oppose the war. This included Morel, Norman Angell and Ramsay MacDonald. A meeting was held and after considering names such as the Peoples' Emancipation Committee and the Peoples' Freedom League, they selected the Union of Democratic Control(UDC) ...

Over the next four years the Union of Democratic Control became the most important of all the anti-war organizations in Britain. E. D. Morel, as secretary and treasurer, emerged as the dominant figure in the organisation. In August 1915, the UDC decided to pay Morel for his secretarial duties. Morel also wrote most of the UDC pamphlets published during the war. Herbert Asquith and his Liberal Government were furious with Morel's actions and he was removed as the Liberal parliamentary candidate for Birkenhead ...

Although the UDC complained to the Home Secretary about what it called "an incitement to violence" by the Daily Express, he refused to take any action. Over the next few months the police refuse to protect UDC speakers and they were often attacked by angry crowds. After one particularly violent event on 29th November, 1915, the Daily Express proudly reported the "utter rout of the pro-Germans" ...

Despite Thompson's failure to find any evidence of criminal activity, the Home Secretary gave instructions for Morel's arrest. On the 22nd August, 1917 Morel's house was searched and evidence was discovered that he had sent a UDC pamphlet to a friend living in Switzerland. This was a technical violation of the the Defence of the Realm Act and Morel was sentenced to six months in prison. Morel, whose health was already poor, never fully recovered from the harsh conditions of Pentonville Prison. On his release from prison E. H. Morel finally left the Liberal Party and like his colleagues at the UDC, Charles Trevelyan and Arthur Ponsonby, joined the Independent Labour Party ...


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