Leaflet published by the Merseyside Federal Union Society, 1939
(read it in the original format here rightsofman)
THE RIGHTS OF MAN …..
THIS is what we are at war to defend. Essentially, we fight, not for Poland, nor Czechoslovakia, nor even for the British Empire, but for a world in which every man, whatever his class or race or country, can be sure of the political, social and economic rights which for centuries his forbears have struggled to establish.
The right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” So the American Declaration of Independance summed it up over a hundred and fifty years ago. To-day, more than ever before in history, man everywhere needs to re-define that which is his by right. Otherwise, he will be fighting blindfold.
Your newspapers will tell you how many prominent men and women in this country are already preparing the way for the new Declaration of the Rights of Man which is so urgently needed.
BUT TO DECLARE THESE RIGHTS WILL NOT ALONE BE ENOUGH: WE MUST ALSO DECLARE, NOW, HOW THEY ARE TO BE SECURED IN THE TIME AFTER THE WAR.
This is one of the primary purposes of the rapidly growing movement known as FEDERAL UNION.
Federal Union asks this question : Can the fundamental rights of man be assured if international rivalry in trade, armaments and diplomacy are allowed to continue after the peace ? . . . . For Federal Union believes that if these things continue there can be no enduring peace : , and that, without enduring peace, ” life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness ” are a vain hope.
Federal Union does not ask any man to cease to hold his country dear : but it does ask that unreasonable nationalism shall never again be allowed to hold civilisation in check. To this end it strives to prepare now for the establishment after the war of a democratically elected supra-national federal government, which will decide thenceforward those matters which are the concern of all nations alike, while leaving to national governments the unfettered control of purely national affairs.
Think this over, and you will realize that it may not be the hopeless idealism it seems at first sight. It may be simple commonsense. Whatever your political creed – unless you are hostile to democracy – there is room for you in Federal Union. The cause of Federal Union is not that of worker or capitalist, company-director or clerk. It is the cause of man.