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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 14, No. 7. June 25, 1951

The Peace Movement II— — World Peace Council seen as Alternative

page 4

The Peace Movement II

World Peace Council seen as Alternative

In the first article on the Peace Movement the organisation was dealt with, particularly up to the time of the Stockholm Appeal to Ban the Atom Bomb. The war in Korea brought new activities in the Peace Movement, and this article, besides detailing Who's Who and What's What, deals with more recent developments up to the New Zealand Peace Congress held in Auckland in May.

It has been shown previously that the Peace Movement is plainly linked to current Soviet foreign policy, and that the Atom Bomb Appeal was designed in such a way that it helped in the softening of Western resistance to the Soviet.

The early association of Victoria with WFDY and IUS has been mentioned but it so happened that VUCSA and NZUSA broke with these bodies before the latest and most energetic efforts of the Peace Movement, particularly over Korea.

In the past year the Stockholm Appeal has spread the world over, there has been the Warsaw (ex Sheffield) Peace Congress, and the February meeting in Berlin of the World Peace Council, attended by Dean Chandler of Hamilton.

We now see the World Peace Council not only as a rival to the United Nations, but as Dean Chandler put it at Victoria, attempting to "bring UN back to its first principles."

Who then arc the people who run this astonishing instrument of Soviet foreign policy? Why should we accuse the organisers of the Peace Movement of bad faith and say that their expressed desire for peace is not as genuine as our claims in the United Nations?

We have as a beginning this statement of Lenin's which is quoted by Stalin in "Problems of Leninism."

Lenin Said

"We are living not merely in a State, but in a system of States, and the existence of the Soviet Republic side by side with imperialist States for a long time is unthinkable. One or the other must triumph in the end. And before that end supervenes a series of frightful collisions between the Soviet Republic and the bourgeois States will be inevitable. This means that, if the ruling class, the proletariat, wants to hold sway, it must prove its capacity to do so by its military organisation . . .

Lenin also told Communists how to behave in their preparation for this struggle:

"We must be able to resort to all sorts of stratagems, manoeuvres, illegal methods, to evasions and subterfuges, only so as to get into the Trade Unions, to remain in them and to carry on Communist work within them at all costs."

One must always remember that the Communist who denies that his actions are governed by this statement of Lenin's may be doing so as part of the declared policy of "subterfuge ... at all costs." Thus we are led inevitably to conclude that any activity initiated or supported by the Soviet is designed to improve its position in foreign relations.

Furthermore, we cannot judge on its intrinsic importance any local or particular manifestation of the activities of international organisations which may be used by the Soviet. We must rather assess it in the light of the large design of which it forms a part, however Innocent or insignificant in itself.

There arc numerous national Peace Committees, the best known Englishspeaking workers being those in Great Britain-John [unclear: Patts] Mills (Rhodes Scholar from Victoria), Professor Bernal. D. N. Pritt, and the Dean of Canterbury. The exact membership is not published.

Crowther in Moscow

Probably the most distinguished utterance of the British Peace Committee is that of its chairman, J. G. Crowther who, on October 18, 1950, in a broadcast speech in Moscow (where he went as guest of the Russian Peace Committee) said:—

"Today we see how the peoples of Malaya, Vietnam and Korea are fighting for peace. Tomorrow we shall witness a moving event. The British people will start fighting for their own independence against the domination of the United States bankers and militarists. Today we hear the call "Malaya for the Malayans," "Korea for the Koreans," and tomorrow we shall hear the call "Britain for the British."


The work of the Peace Movement was greatly intensified on the outbreak of the Korean war—this was when the Peace Movement became "Militant." A Cominform directive dated September 22, 1950, stated that "open American aggression" put new' tasks before the Peace Movement. The armaments drive was to be hindered, and the Stockholm Appeal had therefore been supplemented by a demand for the general reduction of armaments. There were to be working class rallies in the limited States and Britain, "direct action" of the working class in France, Italy, Belgium, and Holland, while the youth of the United States, Britain. France, Belgium and Yugoslavia were urged to avoid military service.

The Watersiders' Friend:

Direct action was principally to be carried out by the World Federation of Trade Unions, to which the deregistered New Zealand Waterside Workers' Union was affiliated. WFTU's General Secretary, Louis Saillant, said at Stockholm in March, 1950:—

"We find ourselves in a period in which propaganda and direct action can no longer be separated. It even seems that now is the time for direct action by the masses against the preparation of a new world war.

We should state that one of the essential duties of the Defenders of Peace is the refusal to work on and produce war material in all capitalist countries. The working class is in the forefront of this activity."

Remember Wfdy?

The activities of other units of the Peace Movement, like WFDY and IUS have been covered at Victoria on many previous occasions, and no separate notes Appear necessary at this time. One observation does seem warranted, however; that Victoria must have been rather out of place in WFDY in any case. Nearly all its literature seems directed at colonial peoples, as in this excerpt from "Youth Fights Colonialism" (whose cover shows a top-hatted Uncle Sam-cum John Bull, cigar, moneybag and knife as well, about to be trampled on by youth):

"Are not the murderers of the Korean people—the profit-mad United States banker militarists, and their partners in crime, the ruling cliques in Britain, France, Holland. Belgium—also the ruthless oppressors of the youth and their families in the vast territories they hold in colonial domination?

To fight for peace in Korea is to help deliver a fatal blow to the worldwide imperialist system. Trying to prop up their tottering colonial empire, the gold-hungry USA monopolists. ..."

From the beginnings of emotional appeal to those who feared the atom bomb, the Peace Movement has clarified its purpose as a cover group for industrial unrest and sabotage undertaken by the WFTU. Nevertheless, WFDY and IUS are doubtless intended to have a detrimental effect on the armed forces of the West by working on young people of conscription age.

It is this side which we have seen at Victoria.

Peace Comes to Vuc

The campaign for signatures for the Stockholm Appeal began early. (It was presented to VUC at a Special General Meeting early in 1950 when no one knew quite what to make of it. It was passed in a much amended form.) Of the 400,000,000 signatures claimed by September, 1950, the vast majority came from the East. It is claimed that the entire adult population of the USSR. Poland, Roumania, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and Albania have signed. Signatures from the West are proportionate to the local strength of the Communists, consequently with a poor response in Britain, Scandinavia, and New Zealand (20,000). It seems fair to say that nearly all the Western signatories had no idea that they were signing a piece of Soviet propaganda against their own countries.

Whatever the nature of the signatures, (the Soviet can claim a solid mass of support for Soviet policies. It is not clear what will be done with the petition, but an obvious use is in support of the contention that the people of the West (as distinct from their Governments) sympathise with the policies of the Soviet.

A next stage which might be envisaged would be the claim that the majority of the people of the world support Soviet policies as expressed by the World Peace Council, a stage at which Soviet disowning of the United Nations foreshadowed by Stalin's statement in February to "Pravda" could be completed.

Sheffield to Warsaw

A second World Peace Congress was held in Warsaw late last year. It was first planned for Genoa, then Warsaw, then Sheffield. The United Kingdom refused to admit a large number of delegates—a decision which was considerably questioned by British people of all political opinions—and Warsaw became the final venue. The controversy over Sheffield seemed to awaken New Zealand newspaper editors to the existence of the Peace Movement; before that it was scarcely mentioned.

Appeal to Un

The congress issued an "Appeal to the United Nations" of which the main points were:—
1.An early meeting of France. United Kingdom, USA. USSR and the Chinese Peoples Republic;
2.A cease-fire in Korea, withdrawal of foreign troops and hands off Formosa and Indochina;
3.Opposition to re-armament of Germany and Japan;
4.Condemnation of "colonial oppression";
5.Definition of "aggression" to exclude "internal conflict" as an excuse for armed intervention; and
6.The banning of all weapons of mass extermination and a progressive reduction of armed forces ranging from one-third to one-half.

Vuc to Wpc

A World Peace Council was elected to replace the old World Peace Committee. Members were much the same, with John Platts Mills, former VUC Rhodes Scholar and ex-British Labour M.P., as one of the United Kingdom members. Dean Chandler is the only New Zealand member; Sydney watersider James Healy is one of three Australians.

The Council met in Berlin in February, and Dean Chandler's impressions of it have been fully reported.

Echo . . . . . . . Echo

The broader scope of the Peace Movement was covered in the first article, but some recent developments, especially relating to Korea, are noteworthy.

Peculiarly, the March Stockholm Appeal was little recognised in the Soviet until the Korean war began in June, 1950, and four days after hostilities began the drive for signatures was commenced.

Who Said that?

Peace ! ! .!

"The struggle for a stable and lasting peace should now become the pivot of the entire activity of the Communist Parties and democratic organisations."—Cominform Resolution, 29/11/49.

Peace ? ?

"The British people will start fighting for their own independence against the domination of the United States banker and militarists."—J. G. Crowther in Moscow, 18/10/49.

Honest ! ! !

"A company of honest men."—Dean Chandler on the Peace Council.

Honest ? ?

"We must be able to resort to all sorts of stratagems, manoeuvres, illegal methods, to evasions and subterfuges . . . to carry on Communist work within them at all costs."—Lenin.

Stalin's Alternative

How, then, could peace be preserved if the United Nations was useless? Stalin said this could be done.

"... if the peoples take into their own hands the cause of the preservation of peace and defend it to the end. War may, become inevitable if the warmongers succeed in enmeshing the mass of the people in a net of lies. . . . This is the reason why the broad campaign for the preservation of peace . . . is now of paramount significance."

We do our Bit

A few days later the World Peace Council, with Dean Chandler there to help, decided to send a delegation to UN to "demand":—
1.That it consider the various points of the address of the Peace Congress and the various resolutions adopted at this session of the World Peace Council and express an opinion on each;
2.That it return to the role, assigned it by the Charter, namely, that it should serve as an area of agreement between Governments and not as an instrument of any dominant group."

No Future for Un

It is clear from these two statements that the Soviet has almost written off UN as a useful forum for propaganda. Whether or not the Soviet intends to leave UN in the near future, the vague generality of the Peace Council demands should warn us that the UN has no future for the Soviet.

Peace Movement Instead

Henceforth the importance of the Peace Movement as an instrument of Soviet foreign policy will be greatly increased; that is why we must grasp its true function.

From then on the Peace Movement traced the ups and downs of Korea. At Warsaw, in November when Home for Christmas' seemed feasible, the Congress called for a ceasefire. In February, when Communist China had rejected UN proposals for a cease-fire, the Berlin Peace Council did not repeat the Warsaw demand for a cease-fire.

Japan . . . . . . Germany

The Peace Movement also reflects Soviet tenderness about peace treaties and re-armament of Japan and Western Germany, subjects which have been covered by resolutions which condemn the strengthening of these countries. Needless to say, the rearmament of Eastern Germany is not mentioned.

UN . . . . . . . . . R.I.P.

In an interview with "Pravda" in February, Stalin made it clear that the Soviet regarded UN as having little further use. It was:

"Becoming an instrument of war . . . not so much a world organisation as an organisation catering to the [unclear: neta] of the American aggressors . . . burying its moral authority and doomed itself to disintegration."

It is impossible to put the whole case; space is limited. More, perhaps, should be said of the Communist attitude towards political activity to prove their complete rejection of any principle besides that of expediency, any aim but that of Communism.

Since we rely on the United Nations and because this is an article on the Peace Movement we have not attempted a solution or suggested any other Peace body.

More evidence could be provided; it only remains for those who are sincere to search for it themselves, compare the contradictions with the declared aims and decide in favour of rejection and opposition. A bad means does not become Justified by a good end even if there is a possibility of attaining that end. In any case let us prevent this [unclear: College] from [unclear: landing] its support to this instrument of Soviet foreign policy.

A. W. Cook,

D. E. Hurley.

M. F. McIntyre.