Dear Friends and Comrades,
We are soon coming to the end of our international meeting.
We can say that it is a success as for the number as well as the quality of presentations and interventions which have been made today.
On this day of August 10, I remind a few facts that have occurred on that date:
August 10, 1792: the beginning of the insurrectionary Commune in Paris.
August 10, 1819: Simon Bolivar‘s triumphant entry in Bogota.
August 10, 1905: the first congress of Esperanto.
August 10, 1994: our friend Taslima Nasrin arrived in Sweden, after having been sentenced to
death for blasphemy in Bangladesh.
Now we can say that Free Thinkers and Atheists will have their own August 10, thanks to Oslo.
This World Congress of Free Thought is following g the same path as all the great congresses of the International Federation of Free Thought since the founding congress in Brussels in 1880:
Amsterdam 1883, Antwerp 1885, London1887, Paris 1889, Madrid 1892, Brussels 1895, Paris
1900, Geneva 1902, Rome 1904, Paris 1905, Buenos-Aires 1906, Prague 1907, Brussels 1910,
Munich 1912, Lisbon 1913, Prague 1920.
We shall keep the best gains of those events. We have also to draw the balance sheet of what has
happened to the Free Thinkers’ World Union.
In the aftermaths of the Second World War, the World Union was rather quickly rebuilt and it regained some strength. But quite soon the problems linked to the cold war ruined the expectations of an international union.
The refusal to condemn the Soviet invasions in Poland and Hungary in 1956, while the World Union denounced the Franco-British raid on Suez, led to the withdrawal of the North-American organisations. In the same way condemning the war in Vietnam while keeping quiet on the invasion of Czechoslovakia led to the withdrawal of the British NSS and many other organisations.
A small group remained in Western Europe. And progressively mistakes piled up on mistakes. When the French Federation, which amounted to 40% of the members seceded it was the last coup de grace.
The French Free Thought has never accepted the death of the International of Free Thought. In 1999, it considered that IHEU could be a meeting place for Free Thinkers and secular Humanists. It also considered that cooperation could be mutually beneficial even if and that is quite normal each of us has his / her own opinion and works according to his/ her own will.
That is why we suggest to move on with this direction of mutual cooperation. However, we believe that a new step forward can be made with the foundation of the International Association of the Free Thought. IAFT doesn’t compete with anyone or with any other international association. Free Thinkers have no opponents among Atheists, Humanists and Secularists.
Free Thinkers are the most enthusiastic advocates of the struggle for separation of Churches and State. They want absolute freedom of conscience for all to be proclaimed. They do not demand the same privileges as the Churches; they want to put an end to privileges for religions. .
The motto: Liberty –Equality-Fraternity is theirs.
We claim to follow the resolutions of the 1904 Congress in Rome which are part of the statutes we propose:
A strictly secular State is the genuine implementation of Free thought to the Society’s collective life. It consists in separating Churches and State, not in sharing attributions between two equal powers dealing on equal footing, but granting religious opinions the same freedom as all the opinions and at the same time denying Churches the right to interfere in public affairs.
As Free thought is complete only when it takes to achieve socially human ideal, it should try to establish a regime in which no human being is to be sacrificed or left behind by the society and consequently no one should be made or left unable, directly or indirectly, to use their human rights or fulfil their human duties.
Therefore Free thought logically generates a social science, social ethics and social aesthetics which, improving itself with the improvement of public conscience will establish a regime of justice: social justice is simply reason applied to its own government by Humankind.
In other words, Free thought is secular, democratic and social, i.e. in the name of human dignity it rejects this triple yoke: the excessive power of authority in religious matter, of privilege in political matter and Capital in economic matter.
That is why the International Freedom of Conscience Manifesto, which has been endorsed in large numbers on all the continents, proposes to campaign jointly and in all the countries on 3 international themes:
- The struggle on all the continents in the countries to achieve real Separation between Churches and States and defend Separation where it is threatened.
- An international commission of Inquiry on Churches and religions funding especially when it come to the use of public money. This is what our friend Max Wallace from Australia has called “Purple Economy”.
- To expose and denounce the crimes committed by priests against human beings and to demand justice for the victims of Religions, as our friend Keith Porteus Wood, representative of the NSS, has reminded.
We submit three proposals to decision:
First I propose to proclaim the International Association of Free Thought by acclamation.
Second the statutes that are in your files are inspired by the French law which is the most liberal law concerning associations. You have a juridical note as an explanation. I therefore propose to look into them, have a debate and adopt them. If you agree, we’ll register those statutes in France for practical reasons.
We propose to set up a provisional International Committee with the following members:
- Alves Ricardo (Portugal)
- Amorim Teresa (Portugal)
- Besson Philippe (France)
- Blondel Marc (France)
- Estrella Hugo (Argentina)
- Eyschen Christian (France)
- Desaï Babu (India)
- Godicheau Michel (France)
- Gozlan David (France)
- Igwe Léo (Nigéria)
- Kirkhart Bobbie (USA)
- Kuvakin Valerii (Russia)
- Lafouge Jacques (France)
- Laxalte Elbio (Uruguay)
- Lepeix Roger (France)
- Llobet Marcelo (Argentina)
- Mac Arthur Ed (U.K.)
- Mantello Maria (Italia)
- Masson Henri (Espéranto)
- Mbille Martin (Cameroun)
- Muller Volker (Germany)
- Nkunzimana Paul (Burundi)
- Rand David (Canada)
- Read Clive (South Africa)
- Riba Albert (Spain)
- Saad Georges (Lebanon)
- Sankari Nina (Poland)
- Silverman David (USA)
- Thain Richard (Canada)
- Tietze Ulrike (Germany)
- Vergara Antonio (Chile)
- Vijayan Goparaju (India)
- Wallace Max (Australia)
- Wallace Meg (Australia)
- Whitehead Fred (USA)
- Wood Keith Porteous (UK)
We also propose to appoint six spokespersons for one year :
- David Silverman (USA)
- Keith Porteous Wood (U.K.)
- Albert Riba (Spain)
- Christian Eyschen (France)
- Antonio Vergara (Chile)
- David Rand (Canada)
Thank you for your attention.
Our friend Roger Lepeix will now explain the content of the Agreement between IAFT and IHEU. Then the debate will be open between us.