March 26, 2009
CPS – Regina Club

The World Peace Council, in 2009 celebrates 60 years as an anti-imperialist, democratic, independent and non-aligned international movement of mass action. Through 60 years of struggle to prevent war and to preserve peace, to promote national independence, and to secure justice, the World Peace Council has become the world’s largest international peace organization, with affiliates in more than 100 countries around the world.
In 1945 the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki initiated the atomic age, and the threat of nuclear war. In August 1948 the first World Congress of Intellectuals for Peace met in Poland, and made an appeal for a struggle for peace the world over to be organized. The following April, the first World Congress of Defenders of Peace convened simultaneously in Paris and Prague with delegates from 72 countries, and the World Peace Council was born
At that conference Frederic Joliot-Curie, renowned scientist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and first president of the World Peace Council, declared:
"Peace is henceforth the concern of all the peoples. No one man, no country by itself, but all united together can defend peace and prevent war. Peace is everyone’s business."
For 60 years Joliot-Curie’s words have been the watchword of the World Peace Council. For the same founding conference Picasso drew his peace dove and it would become a universal symbol of the peace movement.. For 60 years the World Peace Council has worked for peace, disarmament and global security; for national independence, economic and social justice and development, protection of the environment, human rights and cultural heritage, and against imperialism.
The first undertaking of the World Peace Council was the historic Stockholm Appeal, which would be signed by more than 500 million people the world over. It called for "an absolute ban on atomic weapons and weapons capable of mass destruction." It is credited, even by such a personage as Henry Kissinger, with helping prevent U.S. use of atomic weapons in the Korean war.
A second world-wide petition was launched in 1975 - the New Stockholm Appeal, signed by over 700 million and presented to the United Nations General Assembly on Disarmament in 1978. It called for an end to the arms race, a ban on all nuclear weapons, and for general and complete disarmament.
Other campaigns have been against the neutron bomb; to defend detente; against the U.S. involvement in Vietnam; for independence of Angola, Mozambique and Ethiopia, against U.S. interventions in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Colombia, and the invasions of Grenada and Panama, and against both Gulf wars and the war on Afghanistan. The World Peace Council is against the blockade of Cuba, and against racism. The Council is for human rights, and for the dismantling of military bases and withdrawal of foreign troops.
The World Peace Council had its headquarters in Helsinki, Finland until the 1990's, when it moved to Greece. For a number of years Orlando Fundora Lopez of Cuba was president, and last year Socorro Gomez of Brazil was named to the post. Athanasios Pafilis of Greece is the General Secretary.
By 1984, its 35th anniversary the World Peace Council included close to 3,000 representatives from 140 countries. The People’s Republic of China resigned from the council in 1966 as a result of the Sino-Soviet split. Then, with the dismantling of the Soviet Union, a strong supporter of the World Peace Council, its activity and membership decreased, but is currently growing once more.
Its most recent assembly took place in Caracas, Venezuela, in April, 2008, attended by 265 delegates plus 285 participants from 124 organizations from 76 countries around the world. This included a delegation from the Canadian Peace Congress. In the four years leading up to this assembly 30 new organizations had affiliated with the World Peace Council.
The final declaration adopted by the Assembly notes that "International relations are becoming more and more militarized," that the peoples of the world "are still faced with the threat of nuclear war, represented by the US policy of pre-emptive nuclear attack," and that NATO is one of the greatest threats for the people of the world, but that at the same time, imperialism faces "increasing political isolation deriving from its arbitrary and unilateral acts of violation of human and peoples’ rights." The declaration adopted by the Assembly calls for "equitable political relationships among nations, free of military threats and imperialist domination, and for a world order of peace and justice based on the peaceful principles of the UN Charter."
The success of theCaracas Assembly indicates that the World Peace Council is needed more than ever in the struggle for world peace, and that in the face of the current challenge the Council will grow stronger than ever and will continue to carry out the precept put forward by Joliot-Curie, its first president, 60 years ago.