To the President, Prolocutor and Members of the General Synod of the Church of England in Canada,
The danger of another World War is evident. Tension in Europe and in the Far East grows daily. This tension, which is at once the legacy of the past conflict and the result of intense economic stress, is being adroitly fostered by those interests, the armament makers, whose profits are made out of the suffering of the nations. Further, other interests would profit by a war in some other country than their own: apart from those who supply raw materials to the makers of armaments, there are those to whom foreign aggression appears to offer future markets. These interests exert such pressure upon the governments of the nations that it is almost inevitable that policies will be pursued whose end will be open conflict, unless public opinion is aroused in time to avert the danger.
Standing beside the spectre of war we young people see another horror: oppression. The two dangers are intimately connected. A militant movement is spreading which, under the guise of conserving order, concentrates power in the hands of a military and political oligarchy under which the civil and religious liberties for which our forefathers made such sacrifices are rigorously suppressed. The nation is militarised and the sentiment of patriotism distorted into national hysteria. War is glorified as the "noblest human enterprise." All opinion which conceives of higher loyalties than those accorded the State is persecuted without mercy.
This movement is now in power in Italy, Germany, Japan and many other countries and is spreading to the democratic countries of the West in the form of militant movements in some cases supported by governments of "national concentration." It is responsible for the aggressions of Japan upon the Asiatic mainland; for persecution of the Church in Central Europe and elsewhere; and for much of the insecurity on that continent.
To those who believe in peace and freedom there is the danger that restrictions of the right of expression may be used to suppress all pacific and anti-war opinion if the governments, acting under the influence of vested interests, should adopt an aggressive policy to further these interests. Only this year a bill was placed before the British Parliament designed to prevent the spreading of pacifist views. On account of the strong opposition of the Churches, the Society of Friends and other pacifist groups, the bill could not be proceeded with in its original form. But that such a bill should be introduced at all as a government measure indicates how close is the danger.
We of the younger generation are most directly concerned. With a view to combatting the twin dangers of War and Oppression which threaten our generation, we have formed an Organization whose aim is to oppose all policies, governmental or private, of which war is the outcome. We call ourselves the Canadian League of Youth against War and Fascism. The term "Fascism" is used to denote all the phases of this new movement of oppression, from its Italian origin, for while many of these national movements are mutually antagonistic, their bases are identical. This organization represents all shades of religious and political opinion, its platform being to awaken the public to the dangers which lie ahead.
We present this Petition in order respectfully to request your co-operation in enlisting the young people of the Church of England in Canada in a united effort to preserve peace and freedom.
For the National Executive of the Canadian League of Youth against War and Fascism: Stanley B.E. Ryerson, Vice-Chairman, National Executive; S. Ryerson, Chairman, Montreal League.
Text of motion
That the Petition of the Canadian League of Youth read to the Synod, be referred to the Council for Social Service for study and report to the Executive Council. CARRIED in both Houses.