The WPC at its 22nd Assembly in Vietnam, 73 years after its establishment
"We strengthen the Anti-Imperialist Struggle and Solidarity for a World of Peace and Social Justice"
The XXII Assembly of the World Peace Council (WPC) was held successfully in the capital of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Hanoi, from November 21 to 26, 2022 with the participation of more than 100 representatives from 57 national and international anti-imperialist movements from around the world.
The Assembly took place in an iconic country whose people fought and defeated like only few other peoples, all-powerful adversaries such as the Japanese empire as an invader, the French colonialists who occupied Indochina and the American imperialists who slaughtered the country with over 3 million victims and with consequences to this day .
After the meeting of the outgoing Executive Committee on November 21, which reviewed the work done by the EC in the last years and the preparations for the Assembly to start, all international delegates paid homage to the historical revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh at the Mausoleum and visited the premises where he lived and worked. On the same day, 22nd November, a briefing session about Vietnam was held in which the President of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga, made a presentation of the achievements, progress and challenges Vietnam is facing today, on national and international level. Many questions were answered along with short interventions by guests were made.
The session of the Assembly began on 22nd November with the welcome speech of the Vietnam Peace Committee by its President Uong Chu Luu, former vice-Speaker of the National Assembly of Vietnam, who saluted all participants on behalf of the host organisation, stating the historical importance of the XXII Assembly of the WPC for the first time on Vietnamese soil, wishing success and fruitful outcome to its deliberations. Thus, the VPC President declared the opening of the WPC assembly.
The Assembly continued with the speech of the outgoing President of the WPC, Socorro Gomes who underlined: “It is a great honor to return to this country, where its heroic people uphold a fruitful work in search of economic prosperity and social development, the consolidation of their independence, opening new pages of progress, performing a sovereign role in the world. We reiterate our full solidarity with their constructive efforts and, once more, condemn those who caused the colonialist war that left tragic and indelible consequences. Here, criminally, weapons of mass destruction were used, like Agent Orange, which caused prolonged and damaging consequences for the country. But the Vietnamese people were able to achieve their liberation and rebuild their nation, which demonstrates their revolutionary character. Socorro Gomes stated in her speech furthermore: Humanity lives a troubled time, marked by chronic economic and social crises for which it finds no solutions, surrounded in contradictions and political and military conflicts, militarist escalation, wars that are spreading and intensifying the threat of a nuclear hecatomb. This conjuncture brings complex challenges to the organizations that struggle for world peace, social justice, the peoples’ rights, and equality between the nations”. Socorro Gomes concluded her speech by stating: “Facing this complex and challenging scenario, the World Peace Council is called upon to play a uniting, organizing and mobilizing role to confront the militarist forces causing wars, interventions and coups, and to move forward, in the struggle for peace and the peoples’ emancipation This struggle will require from us ever greater clarity of purpose, spirit of unity, initiative, and militancy, to open a clear path in this historical crossroads where humanity finds itself.”
During the presentation of the Report of the outgoing General Secretary, Thanassis Pafilis, who, thanked the Vietnam Peace Committee on behalf of the WPC and expressed the undivided solidarity of the WPC to the heroic people of Vietnam, he noted: "In the years that have passed since the 21st Assembly of the WPC in Sao Luis, the WPC developed multifaceted action in conditions of tension of imperialist aggression, heightened rivalries between monopolies and states that give rise to wars, in conditions of the intensity of capital's attack against the working class, the peoples, the youth, in conditions of a capitalist crisis that worsens the lives of the people for the profits of the few, of those who steal wealth from the many who produce it". He highlighted the rich actions of the WPC against the imperialist plans of the USA - NATO - EU, the solidarity actions for the people of Palestine, Western Sahara, Cuba, Venezuela, but also for the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Libya that were the victims of the long-standing imperialist wars of interventions by the US, NATO, the EU and their allies.
Referring to recent developments, after condemning the imperialist war in Ukraine, he noted: "The recent NATO Summit in Madrid in June 2022 reviewed, renewed and accelerated a series of decisions from previous years. This war machine is increasing its aggression even more through the NATO 2030 strategy and the New Strategic Concept that it is preparing for the next year. Old and new pretexts, such as hybrid threats, cyber security and the so-called climate crisis, the energy crisis, etc. are mobilized to pave the way for new interventions. The WPC participated in the mass demonstration of June 26 in Madrid, with its own distinct presence. (....) The NATO 2030 Strategy foresees the strengthening of the military means of the alliance, but also its technological modernization, its planned expansion around the world, its enlargement with new members, but also the development of partnerships with dozens of states, the formation of ready combat units, the integration of Sweden and Finland, the sending of troops to Eastern Europe, around Ukraine. This is what the creation of 30 infantry units, 30 naval units and 30 aviation units aims at, which, being fully equipped, have the ability to intervene within 30 days on any front chosen by NATO. NATO forces are spread across the globe, from Afghanistan and the NATO protectorate of Kosovo to the Baltic, the Caucasus, the Mediterranean, the Black Sea and Africa."
With reference to the role of the European Union, Thanassis Pafilis highlighted its further militarization in order to more effectively serve the needs of European monopolies, through its Global Strategy, but also its "Strategic Concept", so that it can operate both autonomously and in addition to NATO ,a fact recorded, among others, by the establishment of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), the European Initiative for Interventions, etc., within the framework of the Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP).
Concluding, he noted "Despite the negative correlation of forces and the militarization of international relations, we are optimistic that the anti-imperialist peace movement is gaining strength and our Assembly is such proof that we are holding high the flag of anti-imperialist struggle and solidarity."
The opening ceremony of the XXII assembly of the WPC was also attended by Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga, President of the Vietnam Union for Friendship Organisations (VUFO), which contributed decisively to the success of the Assembly. The special chief guest of the opening was Tran Thanh Man Standing Vice-Chairman of the National Assembly (Parliament) of Vietnam and member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam, who welcomed warmly all delegates to Vietnam and to the Assembly. As per decision of the President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, the Supreme Order of Friendship was awarded to the World Peace Council and separately to Socorro Gomes, Thanassis Pafilis and Iraklis Tsavdaridis, for their contribution to the anti-war, anti-imperialist, peace movement. The order was awarded by Tran Thanh Man in a very emotional fraternal ceremony.
During the rich and diverse program of the 22nd WPC Assembly, the international delegates were received by the President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, the local authorities of Hanoi, the Chairman of the Central Committee of the Fatherland Front of Vietnam Do Van Chien, as well as by officials of the Vietnam Peace Committee and the Vietnamese Union for the Friendship of Peoples (VUFO), who were the hosts of the events. The international delegates had also the opportunity to visit the Quang Ninh province where one of the most emblematic sites is situated, the Halong Bay whereas all international guests enjoyed the marvelous environment and local hospitality.
During the Assembly and after the presentation of the five regional reports, a rich discussion took part in which more than 50 delegates and guests took part. The greetings speeches of five International Organisations and structures were conveyed by their representatives such as Rafael Cardino, member of the Presidential Council of the World Federation of Trade Union (WFTU), Aritz Rodriguez, President of the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY), Annie Raja, Vice-President of the Women International Democratic Federation (WIDF), Jun Sasamoto, Member of the Bureau of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) and Corazon Valdez from the Asia-Europe Peoples’ Forum (AEPF).
After the organizational and financial reports, the 22nd Assembly of the WPC elected its new Executive Committee (EC) consisting of 40 organizations. At its first meeting, the new Executive Committee elected a 13-member Secretariat, consisting of movements from the following : All India Peace& Solidarity Organisation (India), Greek Committee for International Détente &Peace (Greece), Portuguese Council for Peace & Cooperation (Portugal), U.S. Peace Council (USA), South African Peace Initiative (South Africa), Palestinian Committee for Peace &Solidarity (Palestine), Cuban Institute for the Friendship of the Peoples(Cuba), Cyprus Peace Council (Cyprus), Syrian National Peace Council (Syria), Sudan Peace& Solidarity Council (Sudan), Brazilian center for the solidarity of the peoples and struggle for Peace ( Brazil), Nepal Peace &Solidarity Council (Nepal) and Japan Peace Committee (Japan).
During the first session of the new EC, Pallab Sengupta on behalf of the All India Peace and Solidarity Organization (AIPSO) was elected unanimously as the new President of WPC, while Thanassis Pafilis and Iraklis Tsavdaridis were re-elected unanimously to the posts of General and Executive Secretary respectively, representing the Greek Peace Committee (EEDYE). Words of thanks and appreciation were expressed by Iraklis Tsavdaridis and Thanassis Pafilis about Socorro Gomes for the 14 years of contribution and service to the WPC as its President.
The Executive Committee appointed also five Vice-Presidents from respective number of regions, namely: Elisa Salvador, President of the Angolan League for the Friendship and Solidarity of the Peoples (LAASP), Alfred Marder, President of Honor of the U.S. Peace Council (USPC), Uong Chu Luu, President of the Vietnam Peace Committee (VPC), Milan Krajca, Chairman of the Czech Peace Movement (CMH), Jamshid Ahmadi, Coordinator of the Association for the Defense of Peace, Solidarity and Democracy, Iran (ADPSD).
During the meetings of the Executive Committee of 21st and 24th November the following five (5) new Member Organisations were affiliated to the World Peace Council:
• Tunisian Council for Peace and Solidarity
• Kuwaiti Peace and Solidarity Committee
• Network of Struggle for Peace & International Solidarity, SOLI Puerto Rico
• Western Sahara Peace Council
• Solidarwerkstatt Austria
The Assembly of the WPC discussed and unanimously approved a political declaration.
-Political Declaration of the XXII WPC Assembly
-New Elected Executive Committee, Secretariat with Coordinators and Vice-Presidents