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London: Commemoration of the centenary of John Burns' resignation

John Burns

Monday 4 August 8-10am
The Woolwich Ferry
London SE18 6DX

To commemorate the resignation of John Burns, who resigned from the government on the eve of the 1st World War in protest.

On 4 August 1914 Brit­ain declared war on Germ­any. The First World War had begun. On 4 August there will be official events throughout the day mark­ing the centenary. The government says that the mass slaugh­ter which follow­ed represents ‘a vital victory for us’.

Ahead of the declaration of war, John Burns, newly promoted to be Pre­s­ident of the Board of Trade in the gov­ern­ment, resigned from it saying he would have “nothing to do with such a crimin­al folly, the eff­ects of which will be app­all­ing to the wel­ter of nations who will be in­vol­ved. It must be averted by all the means in our pow­er ... It is my es­pecial duty to dis­sociate myself, and the princip­les I hold and the trustee­ship for the work­ing classes I carry, from such a universal crime as the con­tem­plat­ed war will be”.

One of London’s Woolwich ferries is named after John Burns. The backdrop is the River Thames, the Barrier, City Airport, the Dome and Canary Wharf. We will be at the ferries’ southern terminal from 8 to 10am on 4 August with banners and placards marking John Burns’ resignation. We will be leafleting ferry users and passers-by saying that, so far from the war being ‘a vital victory’, Burns was right: it should never have been fought. Join us.

Contact: Jim Brann on 07986 603 260