The international democratic press carried many articles, commentaries and reports on the work of the World Congress of Culture in Defence of Peace, convened in Worclaw (Poland) on August 25-28 (1948.mn)
It would have been simple for delegates to succumb to the temptation of reaching formal unanimity, avoiding differences and making general declarations about peace and culture, which all of them could have signed readily, even those who are preparing for a new war.
As a matter of fact, one of the speakers, the British delegate Olaf Stapledon, fell into this temptation. In an endeavour to formulate a common united programme of intellectuals in defence of peace, Stapledon proposed in his report an impracticable plan of reconciling the different ideologies instead of a plan for definite action against the warmongers.
Had the Congress taken this path, it inevitably would have become entangled in abstract pacifist phraseology which would have been very much to the taste of the warmongers, those experts in the art of camouflage.
It was clear from the reports of Fadeyev (Soviet Union) and Prenant (France), and later from Amado (Brazil) and Donini (Italy) when they took part in discussion, that the Congress intended primarily to define clearly who were the warmongers, the enemies of peace and culture. The cardinal task of the Congress was not to elaborate general resolutions about “inter-penetration of Western and Eastern cultures” but to show what popular and national forces were in fact opposing the forces of imperialism in the battle for peace or war.
It was important not only to make speeches against imperialism in general but to name the imperialist circles which today, as Hitler did yesterday, brazenly declare their aim of world domination, come forward as the instigators of a new war and threaten the peace and independence of the peoples. To have concealed from the Congress this main problem of determining who are the warmongers, to have lulled it with eloquent speeches, slurring over or avoiding all sharp issues, would have meant that the Congress had attained not real results.
In his report, Fadeyev, with great force and conviction, posed the problem of exposing the warmongers as the central issue in the discussion. Certain delegates, such as professor Taylor (Great Britain) tried to make light of the responsibility of the United States imperialists and their stooges, but the concrete proof offered by speakers from Italy, France, Latin America, Africa, Asia and even from the United States itself convincingly corroborated the indictment against the instigators of war, against Franco’s accomplices, against the executioners of the Greek people, all of whom are threatening the national culture and independence of Brazil, France, Italy and many other countries harnessed to the yoke of the dollar.
The most substantial result of the Wroclaw Congress is that this Congress, in the name of the representatives of world culture, clearly defined the enemies of peace and culture in the person of the Wall Street war instigators and their accomplices in the other capitalist countries. This was the finest contribution of the progressive intelligentsia to the struggle for peace.
The Congress Manifesto leaves no possibility of misinterpretation. It lays bare also the responsibility of those reactionary forces in the different countries of Europe, which have become the accomplices of U.S. imperialist circles in their policy of war and enslavement of peoples.
However, in the struggle for a united front of the intelligentsia in defence of peace and progressive culture it is not enough merely to expose the war-makers. The progressive intelligentsia must clearly recognise that today the struggle for peace in each country takes on the concrete form of consistent defence of national culture and independence against the threat of new imperialist domination.
They declared that a world culture could only be built through its own free development and mutual enrichment—not on the ruins of a suppressed national cultural.
Here, too, some delegates tried to divert the congress along channels of a colourless cosmopolitanism, with the aid of which certain groups servilely camouflage American imperialism’s fantastic plans for world domination.
In the course of discussion this cosmopolitanism, which is a negation of the sovereignty and national independence of peoples, was denounced as one of the main weapons used by the ruling imperialist clique to lull the vigilance of the peoples, and to win over to their side a large section of the intelligentsia who in this way become accomplices of the imperialists in their schemes for world domination.
The Congress counterposed to the imperialist plans for a “world government”, “super-national sovereignty” and the “negation of national sovereignty”, a concrete policy of peace and defence of the national independence, sovereignty and culture of all peoples. And once again the Soviet delegation demonstrated by its speeches, and by its multi-national composition that the free development of culture, the strengthening of national independence and sovereignty are today the best guarantee of the peaceful co-existence of nations.
The unbreakable ties between the struggle for peace and the struggle for national independence and culture became even more evident after many speakers—among them Ehrenburg and Cesaire and the delegates from Poland and Latin-America —pointed out that there is a new content in the struggle for national independence and culture now that the working people are taking over the leadership of the struggle.
Lenin wrote that every national culture has its latent elements of democratic and socialist culture, for in every nation there are working and exploited masses whose living conditions inevitably give birth to a democratic and socialist ideology.
Since Lenin wrote this, we have seen the victory of Socialism in the Soviet Union, the beginning of a new culture in the new democracies, the workers and the mass of the people taking the decisive role in the struggle against fascism in all countries at a time when the bourgeoisie and its ideologists have betrayed the national independence in their countries. These factors have enabled the democratic and socialist principles in the national culture of all countries to develop rapidly. The Soviet Union— where flourishes cultures, national in form and socialist incontent—is showing the way to peace and culture for allpeoples, thus helping the struggle of the masses in different countries for their progressive culture.
The discussion showed that the new relations between the intelligentsia and the people and the new tasks of the intelligentsia in the struggle for peace, correspond to this new content in the struggle for peace, for national independence and for culture.
Certain delegates tried to maintain that intellectuals should remain aloof from the struggle. But the Congress expressed itself uncompromisingly in favour of a culture connected with the people and in the service of the people, for a culture which takes part with all its forces to play its part in the day-to-day struggle of the people. The delegates saw in the Soviet Union an example of the invincibility of this culture and that is why, at the congress, they realised the leading role of the Soviet people and of their culture in the struggle for peace.
The Wroclaw Congress also demonstrated that among men of culture also the forces of peace, democracy and socialism are growing, organising and coming out against the forces of war, imperialism and oppression. The ice has been broken, the path charted and the first battle in defence of peace and culture won.
In our day, when all roads lead to Communism, the Communist intellectuals have proved, and demonstrate by new deeds, that they are at their posts in the front ranks of the battle for peace.
For a Lasting Peace, for a People’s Democracy!
No. 18 (21) Wednesday, September 15, 1948