Intervention of the Canadian Peace Congress, presented by its president Miguel Figueroa
Dear comrades, friends and fighters for Peace,
Our meeting takes place in unprecedented times, marked by circumstances we could hardly have foreseen when we last met in Moca in September, 2018. Our hemisphere and our world are mired in several distinct but interrelated crises that, taken together, constitute the most serious threat ever to world peace, to the struggle for democratic advance and social progress, and to the very future of humanity.
These crises include:
- A public health crisis resulting from the spread of COVID-19, resulting in over one million deaths globally to date (over 600,000 in this hemisphere alone), massive social and economic dislocations, and exposing the utter failure of under-funded and privatized, for-profit healthcare services;
- A global economic crisis which, while triggered by the pandemic, is the result of sharpening contradictions within the failed system of global capitalism itself; a crisis which will be more widespread and protracted than any other since the Great Depression of the 1930s, one which falls most heavily on working people, the unemployed and vulnerable sections of the people, especially in the Global South, but also on the exploited and oppressed in the so-called ‘advanced’ countries of the North, including Canada;
- An ever-worsening environmental crisis marked by global warming, desertification and loss of bio-diversity, with all of the economic and social costs this entails;
- A socio-political crisis characterized by the rise of narrow nationalism, racism and discrimination, and the spread of ultra-right and neo-Nazi movements and ideology; together with an increasing assault of the labour and democratic rights of the people by authoritarian and repressive states and governments; and not least,
- A dangerous deterioration – indeed, wholesale breakdown – in international relations, reflected in the systematic undercutting of the authority and standing of the United Nations and its bodies, of international agreements (especially those relating to arms limitations and control), and of respect for international covenants, the UN Charter and the principles of international law; and their replacement with the “law of the jungle”, of unilateralism, of coercive economic measures (sanctions), political interference and subversion, of “regime-change” and “hybrid warfare” waged against Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia in this hemisphere, and against China, Russia, Iran, Syria, the DPRK, the Palestinian peoples and other countries internationally – in other words, a rising wave of militarization, aggression and war by US imperialism and its allies (including Canada) in a desperate attempt to reverse its declining power and global hegemony.
The maturing of each one of these crises, taken separately, is ominous enough. Taken together, they constitute a toxic, explosive mix – a ‘Molotov cocktail’ of global proportions, one which threatens the very survival of humanity and our planet. This is the scope and breadth of the challenge which lies before us all.
For its part, the Trudeau government and the Canadian State has oriented its policies in lock-step with Washington and the imperialist camp. It plans to increase military spending by over 73% over the next 10 years, and is purchasing a whole new fleet of fighter jets, naval vessels, and attack drones as part of its heightened commitment to NATO. It continues to play a leading role, under US supervision, in the so-called “Lima Group” targeting Venezuela and the progressive forces across Latin America in general. And it is playing an active role in the hybrid war against China, having detained Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou for almost two years, and threatens to extradite her at Washington’s behest.
In the face of these disturbing developments, the Canadian Peace Congress has been stepping up our campaigns to demand Canada’s withdrawal from NATO; to cut the arms budget, diverting these funds to social needs; and to oppose the rearmament program for the Canadian military.
Over the coming months, our Congress will be issuing a comprehensive “Peace Alternative” which will outline a whole new direction for a truly independent, made-in-Canada foreign/defence policy based on peace, cooperation and respect for international law, not on aggression and imperialist war. And we will soon be launching a special campaign to counter the growing anti-China narrative in the mainstream corporate press, framed around the slogan: “No Cold War against China!”
In terms of strategy and tactics, we are pursuing a two pronged approach: firstly, to build up the influence and reach of the anti-imperialist current within the broad peace movement, starting with the growth of our own Peace Congress; and secondly, to support efforts to strengthen unity-in-action of the broader peace movement, despite its clear limitations and current weaknesses. It is our fervent view that both tasks are required at this critical moment in order to revitalize the peace forces in our country.
Finally, our Congress would like to thank compañero Silvio Platero and MOVPAZ for convening this meeting and discussion, and we extend our warmest solidarity greetings to comrades Socorro and Iraklis of the leadership of the World Peace Council, and to all of our sister organizations and participants here today. At this crucial moment, it is more urgent and necessary than ever that we strengthen our coordination and collaboration. Despite the many difficulties which confront us, we remain confident in the victory of our common goal!