Esch-sur-Alzette was the venue for the 2019 Congress of the World Union of Free Thinkers on 13 and 14 September. The second largest city in the Grand Duchy, a centre of iron ore mining for decades, is also the centre of the Luxembourg labour movement. For more than a century, the wealth of the city, which today has 35,000 inhabitants, has been based on the hard work of the miners (a mural in the centre of Esch next door). During the Nazi occupation from 1940 to 1944, Esch was one of the centres of anti-fascist resistance, as evidenced by the Musée nationale de la résistance in the city centre.
The two days focused on a colloquium on the theme of “Migration and Laicity”. Several speeches dealt with the topic. Rüdiger Pauls, Trier, criticized left-wing refugee policy. The only credible policy is to point out the real causes of the refugee crisis: the imperialist policy of the West. The West’s imperialist policy is to make the population pay twice, first by housing the people forced to flee and then by the immense costs of the wars. The consequence of this is the lack of necessary improvements in schools, infrastructure, culture and so on. There, the billions spent on wars were missing. The 2 % target for armament expenditure is being maintained unflinchingly, but there is no money for enough crèches. These contradictions should be brought openly into the debate. Klaus Hartmann, President of the Deutscher Freidenker-Bund (German Freethinkers’ Association), stated on the subject that for the world’s population not migration, as some would have us believe, is the norm, but settledness. The greetings of the Luxembourg freethinkers were delivered by their president Edouard Kutten. He pointed out the inconsistency of politics when even in officially secular states secularism is sacrificed to opportunism. The detailed presentations will soon be available here.
During the two days, the Office and the International Council discussed WUF’s day-to-day business.
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