On the 21 April, the World Peace Council celebrates its 70th anniversary. It has always struggled against wars, denounced the imperialist system, cultivated solidarity among peoples and united with democratic and peace-loving forces. The WPC, its member organizations and friendly entities prioritize the strengthening of unity and the breadth of its action to face the growing threats in our struggle for peace.
By Socorro Gomes*
As it celebrates its seventieth anniversary, the WPC performs not only celebratory actions. In the good fight, it honors its course, developing the priority actions of its agenda of struggles against wars, aggressions, oppression, colonialism and the militarization of the planet.
The founding of the World Peace Council has its origins in the conferences held by intellectuals and workers in 1948, 1949 and 1950. In August 1948, in the devastated Polish city of Wroclaw, peace-loving men and women gathered at the World Congress of Intellectuals and issued a firm appeal to all mankind. The response was a meeting of delegates from 72 countries to the First World Congress of Defenders of Peace held simultaneously in Paris and Prague in April 1949. In his opening address, the first president of the organization, Frédéric Joliot-Currie, the renowned and distinguished scientist, said: "Peace is henceforth a concern of all peoples. No man alone, no country alone, but only all, together, can defend peace and prevent war."
Thus, these brave men and women, many already engaged in anti-fascist resistance, organized a large and active international movement to defend a new world after the catastrophe of World War II. This is the commitment we strengthen today, given the serious threats of the new situation.
The WPC has always been on the peoples’ side and has mobilized with friendly entities such as the World Federation of Democratic Youth, the Women's International Democratic Federation and the World Federation of Trade Unions, among others, expanding the struggle for peace, the emancipation of peoples and friendship, for social progress. Of this primordial objective depends the anti-imperialist resistance, the defense of democracy, the peoples’ independence and self-determination and the validity of institutions able to build a new relationship between the peoples.
It is not by chance that imperialist policies lead to a systematic violation of the principles of the United Nations Charter adopted in 1945 - such as noninterference in internal affairs and equality among nations, foundations for the construction of world peace.
From early on US imperialism is the main antagonist of these principles. Following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the US led the creation of the largest imperialist war machine on the planet, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949; it went to war on the Korean Peninsula in 1950-1953; engendered bloody military coups to establish subservient regimes in Latin America from the 1950s until the present, although today it does so with new tactics; and led the horrendous war against Vietnam, committing crimes against humanity for which it continues unaccountable, such as the use of Agent Orange against the population, with catastrophic and long-lasting consequences.
The WPC strongly opposed each of these US-sponsored wars and coups and supported, without hesitation, the peoples struggling for national liberation against colonialism and occupations in Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East. It has recently opposed the US and NATO wars against the former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, which continue to face the consequences of imperialist aggression.
On one of the most important fronts of action, the WPC fights the destabilizing maneuvers of US imperialism in alliance with coup and reactionary forces in Latin America and the Caribbean. These forces’ contempt for democracy and dialogue is evident in the aggressiveness of their media, political and economic warfare against sovereign countries and their national institutions, in order to impose subaltern governments faithful to their vile goals.
That is why this April we visited the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, in solidarity with its people, together with our sister the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY). In that country we saw the vigor of the people's resistance and that of their legitimate leadership, the government of President Nicolás Maduro, reelected and countersigned in the polls and on the streets. The WPC rejects outside interference, threats of military aggression and the illegal recognition of a self-proclaimed putschist president, who enjoys no popular backing. The WPC reaffirmed its support for the Venezuelan people in defense of their right to live in peace.
Also with the WFDY, in October 2018, we visited Syria to express our support for this heroic people, who since 2011 have been facing the armed and terrorist groups that the US-led powers and their allies are using to destroy the Syrian nation. It is already nine years of a bloody war that provoked great destruction, but it did not destroy the popular will to defend the nation.
In resolute support for those who resist and fight, we also mobilize in solidarity with the peoples of Palestine and Western Sahara for the end of the military occupation and colonization of their territories, for national liberation and peace; with revolutionary and humanist Cuba, who has been facing the criminal blockade of the United States for six decades and is an example of solidarity and friendship; with the Korean people for the rapprochement between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea for peace, denuclearization, stability and the end of US military threats; with the people of Puerto Rico for their independence from the United States; with the Argentinean people for the recovery of the Malvinas usurped by the United Kingdom; with the Yemenite people victim of the catastrophe caused by the Saudi-led war of aggression, backed by the imperialist powers; with the Iranian people facing the repeated threat of US and Israeli war under the pretext of its nuclear program, already subject to the diplomatic agreement that the Trump government denounced unilaterally, among others.
We have fought and rejected the accelerated militarization of the planet and the arms race that threatens the humankind’s very existence.
In this context, we reinforce and expand initiatives for the abolition of nuclear weapons, always inspired by the example of the Stockholm Appeal, the inaugural document of the WPC, launched in 1950 and signed by hundreds of millions of people; for the dissolution of NATO; and the international campaign for the abolition of foreign military bases, with actions such as the International Seminar already in its sixth edition, which will be held on May 4 and 5 in Guantánamo, from where we have launched our vehement declaration of direct opposition to the odious and permanent violation of sovereignty of the brave Caribbean nation; and the global campaign we joined, with a first world conference held in Dublin in 2018.
Our challenges are immense. We face obscurantist forces that seek to impose their dictates to the peoples, with the objective of guaranteeing the looting of their resources and the control of strategic routes, backing servile regimes or promoting destabilization and coups to establish submissive forces in the countries where patriotic and popular governments are in place. Where there is resistance, as we see in Syria and Venezuela, the tactic of imperialism consists in the military, economic and political siege, in the threats and aggressions, of which the greatest consequence is the suffering of the peoples.
The forces of peace unite in the face of the gravity of the historical crossroads in which humankind lives. We resist wars and aggressions and the civilizational retrogression that is heralded by the rise of undemocratic and obscurantist forces that attack nations and peoples, endangering the future of humanity, while the powers coalesced in NATO, with the United States at the forefront, declare war to any and all government that resists its dictates, under the most spurious pretexts.
People raise the voice that resounds throughout the world, the voice of the struggle for liberation and peace. Amplified by unity among all forces opposing war, in solidarity and fraternity, our struggle will be able to stop the catastrophic march of imperialism to defeat it and finally build a world of friendship and respect among the nations.
Long live solidarity among the peoples!
For a world of Peace!
Long live the World Peace Council!
*President of the World Peace Council