- This Course is based mainly on Professor Glenn D. Paige (University of Hawaiʻi) paper Ron Mallone and the Fellowship Party prepared for the First Global Nonkilling Leadership Forum, Mu Ryang Sa Buddhist Temple, Honolulu, Hawai‛i, November 1-4, 2007. The Course is part of the Program on Nonkilling Leadership Development at the School of Nonkilling Studies.
In the process of political evolution in which competition among electoral parties seeks to replace armed combat among contenders for power, the appearance of leaders to create a party dedicated to nonkilling principles and programs merits special attention. The experience of Christian pacifist socialist Ronald Stephen Mallone—co-founder on June 11, 1955 of the Fellowship Party, Britain’s only pacifist political party, offers lessons for future nonkilling political party leadership. Principal co-founders of the Fellowship Party with Ron Mallone were Eric Fenner (agnostic anti-war socialist), and John Loverseed (a veteran Battle of Britain fighter pilot who had earlier fought fascism in Spain and subse-quently became a pacifist Methodist). About 40-50 pacifists were present at the founding.
The immediate impetus for mobilizing peace activists to form the Fellowship Party in 1955 was opposition to NATO nuclear war-fighting policies that included deployment of nuclear missiles in Europe. Britain’s traditional parties—Conservative, Labour, and Liberal Democrat—had acquiesced in those policies. Prayers, petitions and protests had been in-effective in opposing them. Thus it was decided that a new party was needed to elect paci-fists to Parliament and other institutions of democratic decision-making power.
The Fellowship Party, whose title was later extended to add “Peacemaking, Social Justice, and Environmentalist,” proclaims “Eight Objects and Principles” to guide party work. They serve as the basis of annual policy-making conferences.
- Through direct constituency action to work for a government which will act on the principles of nonviolence and social justice.
- To place loyalty to moral standard above sectional and personal interest and to try to spread these standards everywhere.
- To work to abolish war by (a) renouncing armed force as an instrument of na-tional policy, (b) by refusing to make, possess or use all weapons of war, (c) re-fusing to let British territory be used by the armed forces of any country, (d) opposing military conscription, (e) refusing to take human life in war and other armed conflicts, and (f) educating our children for peace and against war.
- To try to persuade all religious organizations and governments to renounce war.
- To reunite people of all nations irrespective of race, colour, or creed in a nonviolent movement to end war and tyranny and to establish equal rights and opportunities for all beings.
- To replace power politics by a system of international cooperation based on negotiation, arbitration and conciliation.
- To work with other countries to end poverty, pollution, ignorance and dis-seases around the world.
- To remove barriers to freedom of travel and exchange of ideas among nations.
Ron’s long record of nonviolent leadership, continuing courageously at age 91 in 2007, offers lessons to inspire and instruct future nonkilling leaders. Five are noted here.
Lesson 1. The powerful inspiration of nonkilling faith
Ron Mallone became a pacifist at age 15 in 1931 after reading the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, 6, 7). Henceforth nonkilling Christian faith, inspired by the life and teachings of Jesus has consistently served as source and guide for all efforts to bring about a demilitarized, free, and economically just society in Britain and the world. Ron became a conscientious objector to conscription in WWII, and was deprived of teach-ing employment in public schools. He was a staunch campaigner for the Independence of India and supporter of the Gandhian movement.
Lesson 2. The importance of persistent effort
Since first standing for Parliament in 1959, Mallone as General Secretary of the Fellowship Party has campaigned “unsuccessfully” thirty times for parliamentary and local council seats in London, Woolwich, Kidbrooke, Blackheath, and Greenwich. His highest vote was 1,189 and lowest under 300. Yet he has continued to dialogue personally at 3,000, 30,000, and 60,000 doorsteps over three to six weeks until recently prevented by health limitations. For the long-term task of nonkilling social change, he provides an example of indispensable “at-tempted leadership” that will eventually bring “successful” occupation and “effective” per-formance of nonkilling transformational decision-making roles.
Lesson 3. The importance of communication skills
Ron Mallone demonstrates the importance of diverse communication skills from door-step dialogues, to lay sermons in pacifist-sympathetic churches, to letters to editors, and to producing Day By Day, the extraordinary voice of the Fellowship Party, published every month for 45 years. Written largely by Ron, Day By Day in about 20 stenciled pages presents a critique of selected stories from the British press and world events from the perspective of Fellowship Party principles and pacifist faith. It has a Review of the Arts (books, theater, films) and a Cricket section written by Ron, an avid erudite fan. The more than 500 issues of Day By Day constitute a treasure for nonkilling leader-ship research and training. Ron’s editorship of Day By Day may be compared with Gandhi’s editorship of Indian Opinion in South Africa and later publications in India such as Young India and Harijan (B. R. Nanda et al., The Editor Gandhi and Indian Opinion, Seminar Papers, New Delhi: National Gandhi Museum, 2007).
Lesson 4. The importance of a companion co-worker
Ron’s leadership would be impossible without the unfailing work of his wife Ursula Mal-lone who serves as National Agent of the Fellowship Party. She has accompanied him on every campaign. To produce Day By Day every month she has cranked the old cyclostyle machine some 70,000 times and has stapled and mailed typewritten copies to subscribers in the U.K. and abroad (the Mallones do not have a computer or copy machine). This sug-gests the importance of engaging companion co-workers in nonkilling leadership training.
Lesson 5. The importance of successor(s)
At the 51st annual conference of the Fellowship Party in 2005, nine men and three women were present, none younger than 52 years old. Thirty absentee messages were received. The WWII generation of veterans and pensioners is passing. At age 91 in 2007 there is no clear successor to Ron Mallone whose life and legacy of Day By Day continues to inspire faithful members and readers. This condition can be compared with other nonviolent leaders whose advanced thought and action amidst contrary violent conditions create a gap to be closed by nurturance or spontaneous emergence of youthful successors. Youthful po-tential successors should be engaged in education and training for nonkilling leadership.
There is yet no biography of Ron Mallone, a task to challenge writers especially in England where Day By Day is accessible. At the urging of readers, Ron began to write an intermittent series of autobiographical memoirs beginning in Vol. 37, No. 391 (October 31, 1999). There is an interview with Ron in the Archives of the Imperial War Museum in London in a series on WWII war resisters. In 1995, on the 50th an-niversary of the war, he was included among four pacifists featured in a BBC Two television program, “When Men Refuse to Fight.” A brief introduction is Glenn D. Paige, “Beyond Gandhi and Sharp: Ron Mallone and the Fellowship Party,” Ahimsa Nonviolence, Vol 1. No. 3 (May-June 2005), pp. 241-3.