Direct antecedents

Nick Cohen's question "Who now knows or cares about the Committee of 100?" ("A jailbreak out of an Ealing comedy", 9 October) is a sad comment on our times. Everyone is aware of direct action and civil disobedience, as demonstrated recently in the fuel-price blockade and Belgrade. Does it not occur to people that this began in this country with the Direct Action Committee of 1958 and the Committee of 100, 1960-68? The sit-down, the blockade, the occupation, the DIY principle in politics owe their origins largely to Bertrand Russell and his 99 associates. It is an epic tale that, sadly, has never been told.

Peter Cadogan
Former Secretary, Committee of 100
London NW6

This article first appeared in the 23 October 2000 issue of the New Statesman, Why Brown should hold his nerve