The U.S. Peace Council (USPC) describes itself as a “multi-racial, pro-working class, anti-imperialist organization committed to peace, economic and social justice, and … international solidarity with the peoples of the world.” The organization was launched as the official American section of the World Peace Council (WPC), a known Soviet front, at a November 12-13, 1979 conference at the University of Pennsylvania.
That same month, the Communist Party USA (CPUSA), in its newspaper Daily World, credited three of its own veteran operatives—Pauline Royce Rosen of the National Center to Slash Military Spending, Sylvia Kushner of the Chicago Peace Council, and Elsie Monjar of the Los Angeles Peace Council—for having methodically laid USPC’s organizational foundation over a period of years. Moreover, former USPC executive director Michael Myerson was a longtime functionary of the New York State Communist Party.
Assisting the aforementioned individuals in establishing USPC were some 100+ founding sponsors, including John Conyers (who twice addressed the November 1979 founding conference), David Cortright, Angela Davis, and Mike Farrell.
In 1980, David McReynolds of the War Resisters League affirmed that USPC was “effectively dominated by the Communist Party” and “substantially aligned with the Soviet Bloc.” Because of that alliance, the Council consistently sided with the United States’ Communist adversaries throughout the Cold War era. In January 1980, for instance, USPC characterized America’s objections to the recent Soviet invasion of Afghanistan as a contrived “frenzied cry” against a nonexistent “Russian expansionist threat,” all for the purpose of “conceal[ing] shameless U.S. interventionism in behalf of the oil monopolies.” Further, the Council publicly derided the “ignorance” of those American pacifists (such as singer Joan Baez) who had begun to criticize the atrocities of the Communists who had recently overrun South Vietnam.
Among USPC’s noteworthy officers and executive board members during the early to mid-1980s were Barbara Lee and Alice Palmer. Throughout the eighties, the Council called for the United States to dramatically slash its defense spending and to redirect those funds toward social-welfare and government-job programs.
In November 1989, USPC held its Tenth Anniversary National Conference in Boston, where the featured speakers included such notables as John Conyers, Manning Marable, Bernie Sanders, Dessima Williams, and Leslie Cagan. Cagan, for her part, went on to serve as the Council’s official coordinator in the early 1990s.
In an effort to rein in America’s supposedly deep-seated militaristic impulses, USPC today condemns “the doctrine of preemptive strikes by the United States, as these policies express the U.S. drive for imperialist domination of nations and resources.” Further, the Council demands that America abandon its development of “space-based weapons of mass destruction intended to dominate the peoples of the earth”; close all of its foreign military bases; drastically reduce its military budget and transfer those funds to “providing jobs and fulfilling social needs”; normalize its relations with Communist Cuba; and “stop its attempts to overthrow the legitimate government of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and Evo Morales in Bolivia.”
USPC’s additional guiding principles and chief concerns are:
USPC has circulated a petition aimed at persuading President Barack Obama to “Free the Cuban Five”—a reference to five individuals convicted in 2001 by a U.S. jury for their participation in a brutal Castro spy ring and now serving time in American prisons. By USPC’s telling, the defendants’ trial was “bias-marred,” and their sentences were excessively “long” and “cruel.”
Moreover, USPC demands an end to the U.S. government’s “inhumane treatment” (i.e., solitary confinement and sleep deprivation) of Bradley Manning, an Army intelligence analyst who illegally procured sensitive data and passed it along to Julian Assange, who in turn published it on WikiLeaks in 2010.
For additional information on the U.S. Peace Council, click here.