NICOLAS HARDY WALTER (22 November 1934 – 7 March 2000) was a British anarchist and atheist writer, speaker and activist. He was a member of the Committee of 100 and Spies for Peace , and wrote on topics of anarchism and humanism .
* 1 Walter in the peace movement * 2 Walter the anarchist * 3 Walter the rationalist, humanist and secularist * 4 Publications * 5 References * 6 Further reading * 7 External links
WALTER IN THE PEACE MOVEMENT
Walter was heavily involved in the peace movement, being a founder member of the Committee of 100 .
Walter was a member of Spies for Peace , the only member to be publicly identified, only after his death. In March 1963, it broke into Regional Seat of Government No. 6 (RSG-6), copied documents relating to the Government's plans in the event of nuclear war and distributed 3,000 leaflets revealing their contents.
In 1966 Walter was imprisoned for two months under the Ecclesiastical
Jurisdiction Act 1860, after a protest against British support for the
Vietnam War . As Prime Minister
Harold Wilson read the lesson (on the
subject of beating swords into ploughshares) at a Labour Party service
In 1987,Walter played a controversial role in the identification of Michael Randle and Pat Pottle as the people who helped George Blake to escape from Wormwood Scrubs in 1966, five years into a 42-year sentence. Walter had told the story of how the escape was organised by Committee of 100 activists to the former MI6 officer H. Montgomery Hyde , an honorary associate of the Rationalist Press Association, who was writing a biography of Blake. Walter asked Hyde not to reveal the identities of those involved, but The Sunday Times worked it out from clues in Hyde's book and revealed the names. Randle and Pottle eventually wrote their own book, The Blake Escape: How We Freed George Blake and Why (1989). They were subsequently arrested and tried in 1991, after 110 MPs signed a motion calling for their prosecution and the right-wing The Freedom Association threatened to bring a private prosecution. Although Randle and Pottle's guilt was not in doubt, the jury acquitted them. Even though Walter himself had not revealed their names, critics regarded his actions as unacceptable. Albert Meltzer later commented: "on the whole it was safer to be Walter's enemy than his friend."
WALTER THE ANARCHIST
Walter's book About Anarchism was first published in 1969. It went through many editions and has been translated into many languages. A revised edition was published in 2002, with a foreword by his daughter, the journalist and feminist writer Natasha Walter .
Walter had a long association with Freedom Press and was a regular contributor to Freedom among other publications. The last writing he did appeared in Freedom.
A collection of his writings from Freedom and elsewhere was published in 2007 as The Anarchist Past and other essays, edited by David Goodway .
WALTER THE RATIONALIST, HUMANIST AND SECULARIST
Walter was appointed Managing Editor of the Rationalist Press Association in 1975, but his progressive disability and the fact he was not, as Bill Cooke puts it, "a born administrator" led to difficulties.
He was a prominent member of the
South Place Ethical Society