Continental Congress of Culture

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Continental Congress of Culture was an international communist project. In the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) created magazine, "Masses and Mainstream", issue of May 1953, there was a section entitled "To the Continental Congress of Culture", a far-left, if not Soviet front, had the following:

"The following message of greetings was sent to the Continental Congress of Culture, which met in Santiago, Chile, from April 26 to May 2:" {KW: The complete text of this greeting is reproduced here]

"We - The undersigned North American writers, scientists, artists, and professionals - heartily endorse the objectives of the Continental Congress of Culture. We do so out of our belief in a fundamental truth expressed in the call to this Congress, namely, that: "The anxieties and anguish of universal conscience, as well as the problems affecting the American Continent, are urging men of good faith to join their effort for a life together based on understanding and trust."

The peoples of the world need many things: bread, shelter, medical case, education, and the peaceful construction that alone can guarantee human advancement. They need also mutual understanding, a knowledge of one another's cultures, traditions, problems and aspirations.

We, who work in the arts, sciences and intellectual professions, know that no problems exist in our fields that cannot be met, dealt with, and advanced, by friendly discussion carried on with mutual respect. There is no problem in painting, in biology, in psychology, in sociology, that will not yield ultimately to study, discussion or scientific test - or that need to be settled by dictate, inquisition or force of arms. Indeed, the latter means are always the instruments of those who stand both for cultural reaction and for the retardation of scientific thought.

As North Americans we are particularly conscious of our need to understand better the culture and life of Latin America. Any school boy in the United States knows that he drinks the coffee of Mexico and Brazil, eats the bananas of Guatemala, rides in an automobile that contains the copper of Chile and is powered by the oil of Venezuela. This, however, is scarcely that sum of true cultural understanding; indeed, knowing no more than this about one's neighbors most often results in an arrogance that is only the intellectual counterpart of commercial exploitation and dollar imperialism.

What of the rich history of the nations of Latin America? Of its poets and liberators, its social struggles and needs and aspirations, its literature, philosophy and scientific contribution to world advancement? Of these, not only are the school boys of North America largely ignore - but so are most intellectuals. Imperialism feeds on ignorance and indifference.

We say this in honesty and in humility. We say it further out of an earnest desire to bridge this appalling and unnecessary separation. If there are any who might profit from this Congress, and from future Congresses like it, it is ourselves.

Unfortunately, we who need cultural exchange the most of all are now the least able to enjoy it. At this time in the history of our nation, our own government does not look with favor upon the free exchange of ideas. Many cultural workers have been prevented from attending international congresses such as yours by the government's refusal to grant them passports because they disagreed, or were charged with present or past association with persons or organizations that disagreed, with United States foreign policy.

For this reason many who would wish deeply the be present at the Continental Congress will not be present in person. Most certainly, however, we will be present in spirit, intellectual collaboration, in our approval of your aims.

With hearty greetings, [organizational identifications provided by KW from public sources, esp. CPUSA publications and congressional hearings)

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