Abbeville, July 4, 2010

lundi 19 juillet 2010
popularité : 27%

Dear Friends, Fellow Citizens, Companions and Comrades,

It is my duty and my pleasure to address the fraternal greetings of the National Federation of the Free Thought and the International Liaison Committee of Atheists and Free Thinkers.

I would like to thank all the participants in today’s rally, who have come from all parts of France and abroad, such as our English friends from the NSS. I would like to send my fraternal greetings to Sonja who is the President of IHEU.

The Libre Pensée is pleased and proud of taking part in this rally and I have to remind that the initiative of this rally is more than a century old and, in spite of the torments of History, it has always been maintained successfully.

The memorial, which we honoured a few minutes ago, is not common. It is exceptional. And as I remain a union activist it is a heart-warming sight. A memorial “dedicated by the Proletariat to the complete Emancipation of Human Thought”, that’s a bit out of the ordinary and we should be aware of the meaning. It is the total fusion between social action, workers’ liberty and the absolute freedom of conscience.

Today, we are gathering at the crossroad of a series of anniversaries. In the first place, the anniversary of the beheading of Chevalier de la Barre, on the First of July, 1776, a victim of religious intolerance, then the anniversary of the independence of the British colonies in North America, on the Fourth of July, 1776, and the anniversary of the Federation Day, on July 14, 1790, which saw the Nation transformed into France which proclaimed Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.

All those historic events are marked with the seal of the struggle for freedom and in the first place for the absolute freedom of conscience. It is this struggle that Libre Pensée, together with other groups, was able to achieve on December 9, 1905, by the adoption of the Law separating the Churches and the State, which was the daughter of the French Revolution.

This concept of separation, of institutional secularism, was designed by the philosophers of the Enlightenment and cherished by the Greco-Latin civilisation and Renaissance. It came to birth in the United States of North America in 1791, in France in 1795, in Mexico in 1857, once again in France in 1905 with the abolition of the shameful Bonaparte Concordat, in Russia in 1918 and in Turkey in 1937.

This concept of secularism has taken hold of the world ever since, as Jean Jaurès put it, and more and more countries have been going down this road, from Nepal to Bolivia, recently.

Thus, it asserts its universal character.

Dear Friends, Fellow Citizens, Companions and Comrades,

Together with Free Thinkers across the world, we are thinking about setting up an International Association of the Free Thought, on the occasion of the Congress of IHEU and in full agreement with IHEU, at Oslo in August 2011.

If the secularist and Freethought struggle is national in its form, it is international in its content. That is why we need an International of the Free Thought to wage the fight everywhere for the separation of religions and the states.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution has concretely articulated the basic principles which have led Humankind out of the darkness of the old monarchist and clerical regimes. One again let’s have a look at the First Article of the Bill of Rights of December, 1791 : "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press ; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances ".

In a few words, the democratic programme was written. It would set ablaze the peoples and nations for the following centuries. It is neither American nor French ; it is the heritage of Humankind as a whole. Ever since, every uprising, every revolution, every de-colonisation would draw its theoretical weapons from this programme to go forward and advance on the road of complete emancipation.

We can see the political formulations of the First Amendment in the French Revolution, in the Constitution of 1793 and in the great liberation laws of the Third Republic. One after the other, the French people, calling the whole world to witness, would gain laws safeguarding the right to petition, the right to assemble, universal suffrage, freedom of the press, freedom to set up free political parties and the intangible right to organise independent trade unions in defence of workers rights.

Dear Friends, Fellow Citizens, Companions and Comrades,

We want to place our act of foundation at Oslo on the steps of the World Congress of 1904 at Rome. Let us remind our predecessors’ programme, those who open the road to us. Here are two important resolutions that were passed unanimously :
As it cannot be limited to this negative expression towards any dogmas or creed, Freethought requires that its members make every active effort in order to achieve the human ideal through human means.
Moreover, Freethought refuses to establish an absolute and unchangeable characteristic for its own conception of this ideal which is the wrong claim of religions, whereas it is neither the claim of science or human conscience because both are forced to move in relativity and are submitted to the rule of progress.
Far from yielding to the temptation to prematurely build a definitive system, Freethought proposes, as it is the nature of things, to Humankind to seek indefinitely truth through science, good through ethics, and beauty through art. And at every moment of its development, it is ready to review the actual results of its researches and it is also ready to complete and rectify, adding tomorrow’s discoveries to yesterday’s discoveries
. “
Two rules of Freethought in the practical and social filed.
1- Rule One : As Freethought is unable to content itself with purely speculative opinions which would only concern individual thinking ; it is up to Freethought to provide individuals as well as society with a lifestyle.
Applied to society, it is a method which consists in accepting to submit the social organization itself to the rules of reason.
As long as it is inspired by this method, any social organization has a prior duty to remove any religious characteristic from all its public services (administration, justice, education, welfare, etc.), as it is clearly understood that it should make public services not only neutral but also exclusive of and closed to any religious influence, absolutely excluding any dogmatism whether implicit or explicit.
Complete secularism of the State is the genuine implementation of Freethought to Society’s collective life. It consists in separating Religions and the State, not under the form of the sharing of attributions between two equal powers dealing on equal footing, but granting to religious opinions the same equal freedom as all the opinions and at the same time denying Religions the right to interfere in public affairs.
2- Rule Two : As Freethought is only complete when it starts achieving human ideal socially, it should try to establish a regime in which no human being is to be sacrificed or left behind by society and consequently no one should be made or left unable, directly or indirectly, to use their human rights or fulfill their human duties.
Therefore Freethought logically generates a social science, social ethics and social esthetics 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, Freethought is secular, democratic and social, i.e. in the name of human dignity it rejects this triple yoke : the excessive power of authority in matter of religion, privilege in matter of politics and Capital in matter of economy
”.

Dear Friends, Fellow Citizens, Companions and Comrades,

This is our programme for yesterday, today and tomorrow. This is what we are planning to implement at Oslo. And we want to do it in full co-operation, as the two international organisations do not have exactly the same nature.
IHEU proposes Humanism as a life-stance aims at making it possible everywhere and organising people in this prospect. Humanism is presented as a philosophy in competition with religions. In this respect, it is based on reason and scientific method. It demands its place in society and the right for this philosophy to be allowed to present and propose itself everywhere.

The Free Thought is a method which is applied to individuals as well as human society. In this respect, Free Thought is brought to fight against all dogmas which regiment society, and in the first place the influence of religions, sects and all the methods of submission. The Free Thought aims at transforming society, in order to introduce equality of rights by the separation of States and religions or ideologies.

Those different goals of the International Humanist and Ethical Union and the future International Association of the Free Thought are not contradictory, rather fully complementary. That is why the International of the Free Thought will be a section of IHEU, because we shall work jointly for secularism.

The National Federation of the Free Thought calls on all the Free Thinkers to mobilise everywhere to make a great success of the Oslo Congress which will be a landmark in History.

Thank you,

Neither God nor Master !
Down with the Clerics !
And long live the Socialist Revolution !

Marc Blondel,
President of the National Federation of the Free Thought Libre Pensée