Table of Contents

Lola Maverick Lloyd

By Robin Lloyd

My grandmother, Lola Maverick Lloyd, died in 1944 when I was six years old. I remember she had a comfortable lap and a love of gardens, and long gray hair that could look like a halo when back-lit by the setting sun. It took years of following my own life path for me to find myself back in my grandmother's garden, digging for seeds for the future.

Lola Maverick Lloyd struggled all her life to create a world without war. To her, it was obvious that the institutions set up by governments to keep the peace during this century--the League of Nations and the United Nations-- were doomed to failure because they were controlled by the very powers that caused war in the first place--the nation-state, fueled by patriotism, xenophobia, and racism.

In a document that she published along with comrade in arms Rosika Schwimmer, entitled Chaos, War or a New World Order, Lola drew up a blueprint for governmental or unofficial action to organize the world along peaceful lines. She wrote, "The Federation of Nations must be a democratic league controlled by direct representation of the peoples and not by governments and bureaucracies." The main lines of this blueprint were drawn up in 1924, revised and published in 1937 and again in mid-war, in 1942.

Lola was married for 13 years to William Bross Lloyd, son of wealthy muckraker and author Henry Demarest Lloyd. They had four children. She joined the Winnetka (Illinois) Women's Club and the Socialist Party. She became an activist in 1915 after meeting Rosika Schwimmer, a Hungarian feminist-pacifist who was touring the country urging nonviolent resolution of the war that was already convulsing Europe. Rosika convinced Henry Ford to charter a ship to go to Europe to promote mediation. Lola helped Rosika organize the Ford Peace Ship, and in the end, she brought three of her children on the expedition. Although the effort at mediation failed, the movement it started continued, and in 1919 the founding conference of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) took place in Geneva, Switzerland. Lola remained a member of WILPF for the rest of her life.

As Dr. Homer Jack pointed out in an homage to her on Mother's Day 1986, "Lola made at least three substantive contributions in her life to the great movements of history: she gave leadership to the peace movement before and during the First World War; she also helped fuse the feminist and peace movements; and she gave pioneer leadership to the movement for world government. Beyond these movements, she made a fourth: she transmitted, directly, to all her four children an active vision for peace. This was the most remarkable contribution of all. In most families, only one child, at most, follows in the footsteps of a strong parent. The others take the opposite path, deliberately distancing themselves to maintain individuality. This distancing is psychologically understandable. What is remarkable about Lola Lloyd is that she acted in such a way, as mother, that all four children followed in her footsteps and without --as far as I know--any coercion."

Norman Thomas, the socialist leader, said at Lola's memorial service: "It is worth reflecting what is success in life...there is a success in the devotion of children who carry on for the causes you have cherished."

Lola's son, my father, was the first director of Lola and Rosika's organization Campaign for World Government. He later went on to found the magazine Toward Freedom: A Newsletter on New Nations. Oldest daughter Jessie and her husband Harvey O'Connor worked for civil liberties and world peace. Mary worked for world government in Paris, by supporting the International Registry of World Citizens, founded by Garry Davis. And Georgia, the youngest, now a chipper 83, continues to run the Campaign for World Government.

Now that there is such widespread dismay at the inability of the United Nations to protect people from violence, perhaps it is time to rediscover some of the visions for world government and world law nurtured by feminists and pacifists from the early part of this century. I hope that, in time, there will be a chance for the seeds from my grandmother's garden to blossom.

Table of Contents