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Encyclopedia > Nicolas Walter

Nicolas Hardy Walter (November 22, 1934March 7, 2000) was a British anarchist and atheist writer, speaker and activist. November 22 is the 326th day (327th on leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1934 was a common year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ... March 7 is the 66th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (67th in Leap years). ... This article is about the year 2000. ... Anarchism is a political view derived from the Greek αναρχία (without archons (rulers)). Thus anarchism, in its most general meaning, is opposing to rulers. ... Atheism is the state either of being without theistic beliefs, or of actively believing in the non-existence of deities. ...

Contents


Career Overview

Walter was born in London; his father was the neurophysiologist and pioneer of cybernetics, Walter Grey Walter. After serving his National Service in the RAF (where he learned Russian), Walter studied history at Exeter College, Oxford from 1954-1957, afterwards becoming a journalist. He was deputy editor of Which? (1963-1965); press officer for the British Standards Institution (1965-1967); and chief sub-editor of the Times Literary Supplement (1968-1974). He was also a staff writer for the Good Food Guide. St. ... // His life W. Grey Walter February 19, 1910 - May 6, 1977 was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1910. ... National Service was the name given to the system of military conscription employed in the United Kingdom (although excluding Northern Ireland) between 1949 and 1960. ... RAF is an abbreviation for: Royal Air Force -- the Air Force of the United Kingdom (see also Air Ministry) Red Army Fraction (Rote Armee Fraktion) -- a German terror organisation Rigas Autobusu Fabrika -- a factory making buses in Riga, Latvia Rapid Action Force in India Rachunarski Fakultet RAF is also an... Exeter College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. ... 1954 was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... 1957 was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Consumers Association, also known by the name of its principal publication Which?, is a consumer rights organisation in the UK, founded in 1957 by Michael Young. ... 1963 was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1965 was a common year starting on Friday (link goes to calendar). ... British Standards is the new name of the British Standards Institute and is part of BSI Group which also includes a testing organisation. ... 1965 was a common year starting on Friday (link goes to calendar). ... 1967 was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Times Literary Supplement (or TLS) is a weekly literary review published in London by News International, a subsidiary of News Corporation. ... 1968 was a leap year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1968 calendar). ... 1974 is a common year starting on Tuesday (click on link for calendar). ... The Good Food Guide is a guidebook to the best restaurants in Britain. ...


Walter was editor of New Humanist, published by the Rationalist Press Association, for a decade, and he was to continue to work in the humanist, rationalist and secularist movement until his retirement from it in 1999. The Rationalist Press Association is an organisation of the United Kingdom, founded on 26 May 1899 to promote freedom of thought and inquiry and the principles of rationalism, defined as the mental attitude which unreservedly accepts the supremacy of reason and aims at establishing a system of philosophy and ethics... Humanism is a system of thought that defines a socio-political doctrine (-ism) whose bounds exceed those of locally developed cultures, to include all of humanity and all issues common to human beings. ... This article is not about continental rationalism. ... This article concerns secularism, the exclusion of religion and supernatural beliefs. ... 1999 is a common year starting on Friday of the Common Era, and was designated the International Year of Older Persons by the United Nations. ...


In 1973, Walter was diagnosed with testicular cancer. As a result of the consequent treatment Walter had eventually to use a wheelchair. The cancer was found to have returned shortly after Walter's retirement, and he died very soon afterwards. Testicular cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the testicles, a part of the male reproductive system. ...


Walter was a notoriously prolific letter writer to newspapers and magazines, estimating towards the end of his life that he had had over 2000 published under his own name as well as under pseudonyms such as 'Jean Raison', 'Arthur Freeman' and 'Mary Lewis'.


Walter was a regular user of the British Library, and was not only the first person through the doors of the British Library's Euston Road site when it was opened in 1997, but also the first person to complain about it. British Library Ossulston St entrance, with distinctive red logo. ... Euston Road is an important thoroughfare in central London. ... 1997 is a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Walter also had a reputation for pedantry, and when Charles Moore stepped down as editor of The Spectator, he described Walter as one of the bores he wouldn't miss. But Walter rejected the accusation in a column in New Humanist (Vol 112 (4) Dec 1997 p20): Charles Moore (born October 31, 1956) is a former editor of the Daily Telegraph (1995-2003). ... The Spectator is a conservative British political magazine, established 1828, published weekly. ...

I sometimes feel that I have become the Gradgrind of the Humanist movement. 'Now, what I want is Facts', says Mr Gradgrind at the beginning of Charles Dickens' novel Hard Times. 'Facts alone are wanted in life.' As a matter of fact, I don't think facts alone are wanted, but I do think they are a good start to any discussion. Charles Dickens used his rich imagination, sense of humour and detailed memories, particularly of his childhood, to enliven his fiction. ...

Walter joined the Labour Party at University, but had abandoned it for anarchism and peace activism by 1959. The name Labour Party or Labor Party is used by several political parties around the world. ... Anarchism is a political view derived from the Greek αναρχία (without archons (rulers)). Thus anarchism, in its most general meaning, is opposing to rulers. ... 1959 was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Walter in the Peace Movement

Walter was heavily involved in the peace movement, being a founder member of the Committee of 100. The Committee of 100 is a non-partisan group of prominent Americans of Chinese descent with the mission to pool their strengths and experience to address important issues concerning the Chinese-American community, as well as issues affecting U.S.-China relations. ...


Walter was part of Spies for Peace (the only member to be publically identified, and only after his death), who in March 1963 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 subsequently distributed 3000 leaflets revealing their contents. The impact was enormous. 1963 was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ...


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 Harold Wilson read the lesson (on the subject of beating swords into ploughshares) at a Labour Party church service in Brighton, Walter and a friend interrupted by shouting "Hypocrite!" 1966 was a common year starting on Saturday (link goes to calendar) // Events January January 1 - In a coup, Colonel Jean-Bédel Bokassa ousts president David Dacko and takes over the Central African Republic. ... The Vietnam War or Second Indochina War (Vietnamese Chiến Tranh Chống Mỹ Cứu Nước, War Against the Americans to Save the Nation) was a conflict between the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRVN, or North Vietnam), allied with the National Liberation Front (NLF, or Viet Cong) against... This article is about the British politician. ... The name Labour Party or Labor Party is used by several political parties around the world. ... Brighton on the southern Sussex coast is one of the largest and most famous seaside resorts in England. ...


Walter played a controversial role in the 1987 identification of Michael Randle and Pat Pottle as the people who helped George Blake escape from Wormwood Scrubs in 1966, five years into a 43 year sentence. Walter had told the story of how the escape was organised by CND and Committee of 100 activists to former MI6 officer H. Montgomery Hyde, an honorary associate of the Rationalist Press Association, who was writing a biography of Blake. Walter had 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 Freedom Association threatened to bring a private prosectution. Famously, although Randle and Pottle's guilt was not in doubt, the jury - "perversely", according to the authorities, but entirely within their rights - acquitted them. Nonetheless, critics regarded Walter's actions as unacceptable, and Albert Meltzer later commented: "on the whole it was safer to be Walter's enemy than his friend" [1]. George Blake (born Georg Behar, November 11, 1922) is a former British spy who was actually a double agent for the Soviets. ... Wormwood Scrubs is a British prison built in the 1880s. ... 1966 was a common year starting on Saturday (link goes to calendar) // Events January January 1 - In a coup, Colonel Jean-Bédel Bokassa ousts president David Dacko and takes over the Central African Republic. ... The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), more commonly known as MI6 (originally Military Intelligence Section 6), or the Secret Service, is the United Kingdom external security agency. ... The Sunday Times is the name of several Sunday newspapers. ... The Freedom Association is a right-wing British pressure group. ... Albert Meltzer (born January 7, 1920 _ died May 7, 1996) was an anarchist activist and writer. ...


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. 1969 was a common year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1969 calendar). ... 2002 is a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Walter had a long association with Freedom Press and was a regular contributor to Freedom newspaper among other publications. The last writing he did appeared in Freedom. The Freedom Press premises in Angel Alley, Whitechapel, east London Freedom Press is the oldest surviving anarchist publishing house in the English speaking world and the largest in Britain. ... Cover of Freedom, dated 13th September 2003, showing the new cover design by Clifford Harper. ...


Walter the Rationalist, Humanist and Secularist

In Britain, Walter's humanism is perhaps better known than his anarchism. Humanism is a term assigned different and contradictory meanings by different authors at different times. ... Anarchism is a political view derived from the Greek αναρχία (without archons (rulers)). Thus anarchism, in its most general meaning, is opposing to rulers. ...


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" (Cooke, 2003. p177) did lead to difficulties. The Rationalist Press Association is an organisation of the United Kingdom, founded on 26 May 1899 to promote freedom of thought and inquiry and the principles of rationalism, defined as the mental attitude which unreservedly accepts the supremacy of reason and aims at establishing a system of philosophy and ethics... 1975 was a common year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1975 calendar). ...


Walter was editor of New Humanist magazine from February 1975 until July 1984, when Jim Herrick took over. Jim Herrick (1944 - ) is a humanist and secularist of the United Kingdom. ...


In the aftermath of the 1989 fatwa on Salman Rushdie and his book The Satanic Verses, Walter (along with William McIlroy reformed The Committee Against Blasphemy Law. It issued a Statement Against Blasphemy Law, signed by over 200 public figures. Walter and Barbara Smoker were attacked while counter-demonstrating during a Muslim protest against the book in May 1989. Walter's book "Blasphemy Ancient and Modern" put the Rushdie controversy into historical context. 1989 is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... A fatwa (Arabic: ) plural fatāwa (Arabic: ) , is a legal pronouncement in Islam, issued by a religious law specialist on a specific issue. ... Salman Rushdie Salman Rushdie (born Ahmed Salman Rushdie, June 19, 1947, in Bombay, India) is an Indian-born British essayist and author of fiction, most of which is set on the Indian subcontinent. ... The term Satanic Verses was coined by the historian Sir William Muir to refer to several verses alleged to have been part of an early version of the Quran and later expunged. ... Blasphemy is the defamation of the name of God or the gods, and by extension any display of gross irreverence towards any person or thing deemed worthy of exalted esteem. ... Barbara Smoker Barbara Smoker (born 1923) is a British humanist activist and freethought advocate. ...


Walter also served as company secretary of GW Foote & Co., publishers of The Freethinker, and was a vice-president of the National Secular Society. Freethought is the idea and practice of forming ones opinions independent of tradition, authority and established belief. ... The National Secular Society is an organisation of the United Kingdom which promotes secularism. ...


Walter occasionally wrote or spoke about how secular humanists might face death - he had done so himself. In a letter to The Guardian in 1993 (16 September, p.23), he explained: The Guardian is a British newspaper owned by the Guardian Media Group. ...

All of us will die, and most of us will suffer before we do so. "The last act is bloody, however fine the rest of the play may be", said Pascal. Raging against the dying of the light may be good art, but is bad advice. "Why me?" may be a natural question, but it prompts a natural answer: "Why not?" Religion may promise life everlasting, but we should grow up and accept that life has an end as well as a beginning.

Publications

  • Humanism: what's in the word (1997). London: Rationalist Press Association. ISBN 0301970017 (also published as Humanism: finding meaning in the word by Prometheus Books, 1998, ISBN 1573922099)
  • Blasphemy, ancient and modern (1990). London: Rationalist Press Association. ISBN 0301900019
  • About Anarchism (1969). London: Freedom Press. (Updated edition published by Freedom Press in 2002, ISBN 0900384905)
  • Nonviolent Resistance: Men Against War (1963).

1997 is a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... 1998 is a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year of the Ocean. ... 1990 is a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Freedom Press premises in Angel Alley, Whitechapel, east London Freedom Press is the oldest surviving anarchist publishing house in the English speaking world and the largest in Britain. ...

External links

  • Guardian obituary by Donald Rooum
  • 'How My Father Spied For Peace', Natasha Walter on her father's involvement in the exposure of the secret 'Regional Seats of Government'.
  • The Right to Be Wrong. Essay by Nicolas Walter. Libertarian Alliance Political Notes No. 43, 1989
  • Nicolas Walter: an appreciation of his contribution to secular humanism. Sheffield Humanist Society, 2000

Donald Rooum is an anarchist cartoonist. ... Libertarian Alliance, two British free market and civil liberties organisations with the same name, founded in 1982 after a split of the original Libertarian Alliance, founded in 1967. ...

References

Cooke, Bill (2003). The Blasphemy Depot: A Hundred Years of the Rationalist Press Association. London: Rationalist Press Association. ISBN 03010030025


  Results from FactBites:
 
Nicolas Walter - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1140 words)
Walter was born in London; his father was the neurophysiologist and pioneer of cybernetics, Walter Grey Walter.
Walter was editor of New Humanist, published by the Rationalist Press Association, for a decade, and he was to continue to work in the humanist, rationalist and secularist movement until his retirement from it in 1999.
Walter was heavily involved in the peace movement, being a founder member of the Committee of 100.
William Grey Walter - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (947 words)
According to his eldest son, Nicolas Walter, "he was politically on the left, a communist fellow-traveller before the Second World War and an anarchist sympathiser after it." Throughout his life he was a pioneer in the field of cybernetics.
Walter produced his own versions of Berger's machine with improved capabilities, which allowed it to detect a variety of brain wave types ranging from the high speed alpha waves to the slow delta waves observed during sleep.
Walter stressed the importance of using purely analogue electronics to simulate brain processes at a time when his contemporaries such as Alan Turing and John Von Neumann were all turning towards a view of mental processes in terms of digital computation.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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