The Armenian Revolutionary Federation Western U.S. Central Committee was surprised to see the ARF Bureau’s unprecedented public announcement disseminating blatant falsehoods about our internal organizational matters. Given the existential challenges facing our Nation, we had anticipated that the ARF Bureau would mobilize our worldwide structures to address the needs of our Homeland. But instead it has chosen to create internal fissures that have destabilized our party.
Successive efforts to exploit our internal organizational differences, no matter how incomprehensible and unacceptable, are part of a campaign waged during recent years to suppress the free expression of ARF members in the Western U.S. and to punish this region for those positions, even though they have always been aimed at preserving the ARF as an independent force with its own national-ideological character insulated from external influences.
The latest blow to our region in this ongoing destructive campaign came when the ARF Western U.S. was preparing to regularly convene its 55th Regional Convention, which in addition to discussing other issues, was also going to elect a Central Committee to lead the organization pursuant to our organizational norms and By-Laws.
In a move which for us is incomprehensible and falls outside our norms and By-Laws, the ARF Bureau unilaterally canceled the Regional Convention and appointed a Central Committee, thereby disenfranchising its members’ right to elect its own leadership and trampling on the fundamental democratic principles, whose torchbearer has been and must continue to be the ARF. For this very reason, despite the Bureau’s efforts to prohibit the Convention, the elected delegates from local chapters stayed true to our decentralized organizational structure, asserted their rights, proceeded to convene a Regional Convention in accordance with organizational rules, and elected a Central Committee. This effort has seen broad support from the ARF rank and file, not just in the Western U.S., but in other organizational regions where, during the past several years, similar authoritarian tactics had been employed.
The ARF Western U.S. has been one of the most active and vital regions of the ARF family through its unwavering adherence to national values and its service to the community and the nation as witnessed by all, especially a wide spectrum of our community. In its public announcement, the Bureau derogatorily mischaracterizes leaders who have devoted decades in service to the community and the nation as a mere “grouping,” and through cheap shots insults our region’s rank and file and supporters who have trusted and respected those very members whose names and reputations it has shamefully tarnished.
The ARF Bureau has opted to use unacceptable disciplinary methods, which have been rejected by us, to try to ensure that members fall in line with its decisions. In short, the current leadership has chosen intimidation and coercion over dialogue and discourse.
Despite all this, the duly-elected Central Committee has repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to cooperate in order to find a way out of this damaging situation; but sadly, this willingness was met with an escalation of the divisiveness created by the Bureau’s surprising announcement.
We feel obliged to affirm that the duly elected ARF Western U.S. Central Committee remains the sole guardian of its assets pursuant to relevant local, state and federal laws and regulations governing organizational continuity, and continues to support all non-profit community organizations which serve the needs of our region and our Homeland.
On this basis, we strongly condemn the Bureau’s absurd, destructive, defamatory and false allegations that assets and accounts have been “seized.” All organizational operations are fully compliant with state and federal laws governing non-profit entities in the U.S. The organization’s finances are managed by outside accounting firms, which not only perform periodic audits but also report all revenues and expenses to the Internal Revenue Service as mandated by law. This makes it virtually impossible for any one individual or group to “seize” any asset or institution. While the Bureau’s announcement makes these false allegations of “seizure” or “embezzlement” against our organizational leaders who continue to comply with relevant laws and statutes, we expect but have not seen the same transparency being implemented in all other regions of the party.
At this critical juncture in the history of the ARF Western U.S., we find it imperative to once again assess and reinforce the organizational and moral character of the ARF. During its 130-year history, the ARF, through its natural evolution, has adopted a decentralized mode of operation, which goes hand in hand with its ideological principles—democracy, socialism, revolution and nationalism—which have given the ARF its unique character and distinction. Thus the adherence to that principle has become the basic foundation of our structure and operations. The parallel importance of organizational decentralization and ideological-moral centralization are engrained within the very first pages of the ARF By-Laws. They have been and continue to remain the basic principles of our organizational structure and mode of operations and must be protected and implemented to continue on the most constructive path forward.
The Central Committee calls on all its members, all ARF members worldwide and all our dedicated compatriots to work hand-in-hand to uphold the ARF’s moral values, its organizational character, as well as the ARF’s unique role, which it has had and will continue to have in the name of our homeland and Nation.
ARF Western U.S. Central Committee