On the 78th anniversary of Hiroshima… an urgent call for peace action from the Canadian Peace Congress Seventy-eight
The following text was distributed in leaflet form to the over 3,000 delegates attending the Canadian Labour Congress
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Goa, India 26-28 November 2014
The Executive Committee of the WPC took place in the Indian city of Goa from 26-28 November 2014. The meeting, hosted by the All India Peace and Solidarity Organisation (AIPSO), concluded after discussions on the threats to peace in different parts of the world with the following statement:
The World Peace Council, in its 65th year of struggle, salutes the peace loving forces of the world and calls upon them to fight together with the WPC and its member organizations, against imperialism and its brutal wars, for Peace.
The WPC identifies today the enemy of peace in the world to be imperialism in all its forms of expression, ideologically, politically, militarily and economically. Despite the economic crisis the military expenditure last year (2013), according to SIPRI, has reached worldwide in 2013 the $1,474 trillion, which constitute the 2,4 % of the global GDP. We underline that 37 % of this sum is spent by the USA alone and that altogether the military spending of the USA, NATO and its allies constitute the vast majority of world spending. The WPC demands the drastic cuts in the military budgets and the respective dedication to social welfare.
We Must Still Work “To End All War”
A Peoples’ Response to the Centenary of the First World War
The year 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War. It was one of the deadliest conflicts in human history, a tragedy that killed 17 million people, including 67,000 Canadians. It was described as “the war to end all war.”
A century later, the peace and progressive movements in Canada mark this anniversary by reminding ourselves that the “Great War” did not end all war. Today, the military potential to destroy lives and a liveable environment is at a terrifying level and continues to rise.
Everyday, all over the world, people suffer from armed conflict, military build-up, occupation, acts of intimidation and aggression, proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, and countless acts of violence in communities and homes.
We declare that the end of all war will be achieved by the elimination of policies of military supremacy, first use of nuclear weapons, preemptive war and permanent war – the doctrines of imperialism. The end of war will be achieved by comprehensive and mutual disarmament. Peace cannot be achieved through provocation and aggression.
The Executive Committee (EC) of the World Peace Council held successfully from November 23-25, 2013 in Caracas its first meeting after the Assembly of Kathmandu (July 2012). The meeting was hosted in excellent conditions by the Committee of International Solidarity (COSI), the WPC member in Venezuela.
We recall very well the holding of our World Peace Assembly in 2008, where we declared Caracas as the “World Capital of Peace and Anti-imperialist struggle”. Our Assembly then was held under the auspices of the late President, Commander Hugo Chavez, to whom we paid our deepest respect for his huge contribution and successful leadership in the Bolivarian revolution, as a genuine leader of his people with broad recognition worldwide.
The WPC salutes the people of Venezuela which is struggling and defending its achievements, trying to open ways for the deepening of the Bolivarian process, against the subversive actions and the economic war carried out by the local oligarchy and imperialist forces, especially this period. We defend the sovereign right of the Venezuelan people to decide upon its future and wealth, for its empowerment in order to become the true master of its destiny.
The EC of the WPC met in a period of increasing aggressiveness of imperialism in all corners of the world, all fields and aspects of human life.
Sixty-eight years ago, on August 6th and 9th, 1945, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing more than 200,000 innocent civilians. The devastating consequences of this heinous act remain to this day. Almost seven decades later, the U.S. government still refuses to acknowledge the criminal nature of this act and to compensate its victims.
This massive crime against humanity, which has been left unpunished until today, was justified by the U.S. government as a “military necessity,” aimed at bringing about an “early end” to the war. But it is a wellknown and documented fact now that this was not an act in response to “military necessity,” but a wellcalculated move to establish U.S. imperialism’s military supremacy over the rest of the world. Humanity is still threatened by the use weapons of mass destruction, namely of nuclear weapons.
Dave McKee, President of the Canadian Peace Congress and a member of the Executive Committee of the World Peace Council, is currently on tour in Ontario. He is meeting with people across the province, to discuss the impact that NATO membership has on Canada’s foreign and domestic policies. Dave presents the case that Canada needs to withdraw from NATO, in order to develop an independent foreign policy that is based on peace, international cooperation and solidarity.
This tour is part of a larger Canadian Peace Congress Campaign Against NATO, and is a continuation of a very successful tour of Western Canada last year.
The Canadian government is called upon to act for peace, not promote war
The Canadian Peace Congress condemns the ongoing foreign intervention in Syria and the escalating drive to war against Iran, and calls for the immediate withdrawal of all Canadian, NATO and foreign mercenary forces from the region. We further call upon the Conservative government of Stephen Harper to restore and normalize its diplomatic relations with Syria and Iran, and to re-orient Canadian foreign policy toward peace, international cooperation and solidarity.
Dear sisters, brothers, comrades and friends,
It is my pleasure to bring you solidarity greetings from the Canadian Peace Congress. We want to thank and congratulate our host, the Nepal Peace and Solidarity Council, for preparing this Assembly and allowing all of the peace and anti-imperialist forces of the world to gather for this important meeting. We also salute the people of Nepal, whose continued progressive struggle has brought about the change from a monarchy to the Federal Democratic Republic, along with many other important social and political developments in recent years.
As well, we want to thank the General Secretary and President of the WPC, for their committed and excellent leadership over the past 4 years since our last assembly in Caracas, and the Greek Peace Committee for continuing to provide the Executive Secretariat and headquarters.
This Assembly of the World Peace Council convenes at a critical moment for peace and progressive forces worldwide. Since our last Assembly in 2008, the global capitalist crisis has continued and deepened, and competition for resources, markets, influence and profits has grown much more fierce and desperate. In an effort to overcome the crisis and avoid economic collapse, capitalist countries are attacking the social, economic and political gains won by the working class over many decades of struggle.
Fighter Jet Program Also Used For Nuclear Weapons Development
Opposition to the Harper government’s proposal to purchase 65 F-35 fighter jets has been consistent and growing. Most of it is focused on the related issues of costs and corruption that are associated with the procurement. This is critically important – military spending should always be conducted in an open and transparent manner, and it must be justified in the context of broader public spending. In an era of high unemployment, deep cuts to social programs and harsh austerity programs that target working people, Harper’s intention of spending billions of dollars on fighter jets is thoroughly offensive, and it needs to be confronted and opposed by the largest possible mobilization of people.
The F-35 program is driven by the United States military and its NATO allies. In 1997, Canada signed onto the Joint Strike Fighter program, which was developed as a vehicle for the United States to capture international funding for a replacement jet fighter. Canada’s initial investment in 1997 was $10 million. In 2001 the JSF contract was awarded to Lockheed Martin, who developed what is now known as the F-35. By 2010, the international procurement process was underway and Stephen Harper announced that Canada would purchase 65 fighter jets, through an untendered purchase.
Main Political Report
Dear Sisters, Brothers and Friends,
This meeting of the Canadian Peace Congress convenes at a critical moment for peace and progressive forces worldwide. As the global, systemic economic crisis continues and deepens, competition for resources, markets, influence and profits has grown much more fierce and desperate. Capitalist governments have moved quickly to attack social and labour rights and impose severe austerity measures that will impoverish and marginalize masses of working people, at the same time that they are prosecuting wars and increasing military budgets. In response, popular resistance to these reactionary policies is building and spreading – from the progressive uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East, to the anti-austerity movements in Greece and throughout Europe, to the “Occupy” protests in North America.
Alongside this resistance, imperialism has become much more aggressive, as witnessed by NATO’s violent regime change in Libya. While expansion and violence are constant features of imperialism, the current sharpening economic crisis has compelled capitalists to increasingly pursue military-based solutions. In part, this is related to the massive profits that can be quickly derived from a military economy. Beyond that, this increased aggressiveness also has the aim of co-opting and coercing popular movements, establishing new intelligence bases in strategic regions of the world, facilitating blockades and direct military involvement in foreign countries, and seeking out new pretexts for interference and war.