World Union met in Offenbach am Main

On May 17, 2023, the Executive Office and the International Council of the World Union of Freethinkers met in Offenbach am Main. In addition to organizational issues, the program included final preparations for the conference the following day.

The committees received the application for membership from the Freethinkers’ Group of Hungary, which had submitted its statutes. This is in accordance with the principles of the World Union, after which the Bureau recommended admission, which was then unanimously decided by the International Council.

Since the number of members of the Executive Office is currently below the statutory norm, the International Council unanimously elected Fabienne Cartreaux from the German Freethinkers Association as a new office member.

The new election of the entire office will take place in connection with the 2024 Congress, which will deal thematically with the 25th anniversary of the NATO aggression against Yugoslavia.

50th WUF Congress in Frankfurt: Free Thinking and the New Multipolar World Order

On the occasion of the 50th Congress of the World Union of Freethinkers, more than 100 people gathered in the Saalbau Bornheim in Frankfurt on 18 May to follow the panel on the topic “Free Thinking and the Multipolar World Order”. Speakers illuminated the topic from various aspects. The many requests to speak from the audience showed that the event had touched on a topic that was burning under the nails.

Ernesto Schwarz

Die Sänger Ernesto Schwarz und …

Guy Dawson

… Guy Dawson (All photos: K.-R. Landau)

The cultural contributions, which livened up the event, also attracted a lot of attention: Ernesto Schwarz with his songs against war and state of emergency accompanied by guitar, Ekaterina Frank on the piano with Russian classical music and folklore, and Guy Dawson spread a combative mood with his international peace and freedom songs.

Klaus Hartmann: “Turn of the times” between war and peace. The “turn of the times” proclaimed by the German Chancellor Scholz was the starting point of the presentation by Klaus Hartmann, President of the World Union of Freethinkers. The term marked the transition of the decades-long policy of encircling and surrounding Russia by NATO into direct war. In view of the exclusion and defamation of all those who do not follow the NATO line, the Freethinkers have an urgent task: enlightenment, enlightenment, enlightenment: “Let’s approach the people!” → to the presentation by Klaus Hartmann

Vladimir Kršljanin: From the 1999 NATO aggression against Yugoslavia to the war against Russia. We must organise, fight and welcome the new world – a just, multipolar and multilateral world based on international law, equality, cooperation, social justice and true democracy, as the community of destiny of humanity. → to the speech by Vladimir Kršljanin

Jean-Marie Jacoby: The world situation is changing. The EU member states are driving the economy to the wall with anti-Russian sanctions. There is a threat of loss of competitiveness and deindustrialisation. This can only be changed with ‘Yank go home and take your NATO with you’ as the basis for peace and friendship between nations. → to the report on the presentation by Jean-Marie Jacoby

Ekaterina Frank

Ekaterina Frank set the mood with Russian classical music and folk songs.

Dr. Corinna Oesch: 1848/2023 – on the historical and contemporary democracy movement. The role of women in the ’48 revolution remains underexposed to this day. All the delegates in the Paulskirche were men; the “ladies’ gallery” had to be expanded for the interested women. On the streets, however, large numbers of women campaigned for democracy. → Report on the presentation by Dr. Corinna Oesch

Peter Berger: Neutrality and multipolar world order. The status of neutrality is currently the subject of controversial debate in both Switzerland and Austria. How credible is the neutrality of the two countries against the background of their history and their actions in the current crisis? What perspectives arise for neutral states from the emergence of a multipolar world order? → to the presentation by Peter Berger

Sebastian Bahlo: The current tasks of the freethinker movement At the end of the conference, the chairman of the German Freethinkers’ Association stated that the historical goal of overcoming the self-alienation of human beings caused by class society remained, subordinated to which were sub-goals such as the propagation of enlightenment, criticism of religion and the fight against the social power of the churches, as well as the fight against economic exploitation and for political freedom. → to the presentation by Sebastian Bahlo.

→ Programme of the event

Media reports:

“Turning point” between war and peace

Klaus Hartmann

Klaus Hartmann, president of the World Union of Freethinkers

by Klaus Hartmann

If we are to believe the political announcers, we are constantly living in times of change, from one turning point to the next, so to speak. When the GDR came to an end in 1989, and with it the first German peace state, it was glossed over as a “turning point”. In the 1980 Bundestag election campaign, Helmut Kohl, who later became Chancellor of Germany, promised a “spiritual and moral turnaround”, and this came with the reduction of social benefits, which was supposed to strengthen “individual responsibility”, everyone was supposed to be the “architect of his own fortune”, pupils and students were no longer to be politicised but were to prepare their careers, and on top of everything, the hymn of individualism was sung.

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Der Welten Lage ändert sich

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Jean-Marie Jacoby

Jean-Marie Jacoby, Generalsekretär der Weltunion der Freidenker

Der Generalsekretär der Weltunion, Jean-Marie Jacoby aus Luxemburg, führte in seinem Vortrag „Der Welten Lage ändert sich“ aus: „Die Weltherrschaft der USA geht zu Ende. Der Hegemon fällt und ein Riese der fällt, kann Schaden anrichten beim Aufprall. Fix aber ist, daß nur mehr 35 Länder dem Hegemon gehorchen – das ist die Zahl der Länder, die bereit waren, sich selbst wirtschaftlich zu schädigen mit antirussischen Sanktionen.

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What are the current tasks of the freethought movement?

Sebastian Bahlo

Sebastian Bahlo, Chairman of the German Freethinkers’ Association.

The question implies that the tasks of the freethought movement have changed over time. What has not changed are the general goals of the freethinkers – and I always understand the word synonymously with socialist freethinkers, because with the bourgeois atheists and critics of religion there can be no lasting common theoretical and strategic basis beyond selective cooperation – the supreme goal was and is the overcoming of man’s self-alienation caused by class society, Underneath this are the sub-goals of propagating the Enlightenment, criticising religion, fighting against the social power of the churches, fighting against economic exploitation, for political freedom, cultivating an association life that fulfils the members spiritually and culturally and offers them friendship and sociability.

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1848/2023 – zur historischen und gegenwärtigen Demokratiebewegung

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Corinna Oesch

Dr. Corinna Oesch, Wien, Historikerin mit Fokus auf Frauen- und Geschlechter­geschichte

Dr. Corinna Oesch aus Wien erinnerte an die historische Situation, in der es zu den demokratischen Revolutionen in Europa und der Revolution 1848/49 in Deutschland gekommen ist. Ausgehend von der Französischen Revolution und einer Abfolge von Reaktion und neuerlichem Aufbegehren kulminierte die Demokratiebewegung letztlich in der Deutschen Nationalversammlung, die am 18. Mai 1848, also genau vor 175 Jahren, in der Frankfurter Paulskirche eröffnet wurde.

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Neutralität und multipolare Weltordnung

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Peter Berger

Peter Berger, Trésorier der Weltunion der Freidenker

Der Neutralitäts-Status wird derzeit sowohl in der Schweiz wie in Österreich kontrovers diskutiert. Wie stehen dabei die Fronten? Wie glaubwürdig ist die Neutralität der beiden Länder vor dem Hintergrund ihrer Geschichte und ihrem Handeln in der gegewärtigen Krise? Ergeben sich aus dem Entstehen einer multipolaren Weltordnung neue Perspektiven für neutrale Staaten?

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From NATO aggression in 1999 against Yugoslavia to war against Russia

Vladimir Kršljanin

Vladimir Kršljanin, Belgrade, spoke at the WUF congress via video link.

by Vladimir Kršljanin

Distinguished comrades and friends,

Today we are all, willingly or unwillingly, part of the decisive battle of the World history – battle for the New World.

The question is whether the human civilization can survive (and win) or the mankind will disappear under the burden of criminal oligarchic dictatorship. For all of us, only the first answer is possible.

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WUF Executive Bureau met in Luxembourg

At its meeting on 26 November 2022 in Luxembourg, the Executive Bureau of the World Union of Freethinkers mainly dealt with the planning of the 2023 Congress. In terms of content, it will deal with perspectives of the transition to a new world order after the emerging decline of imperialism. How can the transition succeed without being dragged into an apocalypse by the hegemon? What is to be made of Europe’s highly developed nation states surrendering their sovereignty while their former colonies and other emerging economies of the BRICS+ develop a rising self-confidence by virtue of new partnerships? And where do the free thinkers stand in this upheaval?

At the meeting, the long-time treasurer of the WUF Klaus von Raussendorff was bid farewell. Central President Klaus Hartmann paid tribute to the reliable work he had done for the World Union since 2008 and expressed his thanks. Peter Berger (CH) was elected as the new Treasurer. Next, a replacement had to be elected for the General Secretary Jean-François Maréchal, who resigned during his term of office. Jean-Marie Jacoby (LU) was elected as the new Secretary General.

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