The ARF-Dashnaktsutyun, Western U.S.A. Central Committee hosted a two-day conference on October 9-10, 2021 at the Montebello Armenian Center, with more than 150 members in attendance. The participants represented all chapters of the region, as well as members who have held leadership roles in the organization and the community during past few decades. After meticulously discussing and assessing the current crisis and challenges facing our homeland following the 44-Day War, as well as internal organizational challenges, the conference issued the following announcement:
Today Armenians are living through a national crisis not seen in decades, having to confront unprecedented challenges that threaten our homeland, our resources and the unity of our people.
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation, too, is experiencing its own internal fissures at this critical moment, having lost its political clout and prestige. The organization’s political posturing during the past few decades of aligning itself with the criminal-oligarchic authorities of Armenia has put the ARF at risk of losing its ideological and political identity. Founded to serve the people, the ARF has alienated the citizenry of Armenia, which has lost its confidence in the organization, bringing its popularity to an all time low. Given the ARF’s 130-year-old record of service and dedication to the Armenian people, this reality is unfair to the memory of those who made so many sacrifices under its banner.
The stifling atmosphere resulting from the ARF’s forsaking of its ideology, naturally has adversely affected organizational life. Meetings have become ceremonial, gradually losing their mandate for seeking accountability. Those in the leadership act according to their personal and political whims, and by violating the organizational rules enshrined by the principles of its by-laws, they arbitrarily undermine our organizational unity. By the same token, they have become intolerant of political discourse or disagreement, with attempts to neutralize the ARF’s traditional way of critical thinking through challenges and to deprive the ARF press from its ideological mandate.
At this consequential time in history, the ARF-Dashnaktsutyun, Western U.S.A. Conference rejects any attempt—whether external or internal—to divert the organization from its mission or sow disunity among its ranks and affirms that as a national, socialist, and above all democratic organization, it will continue to operate with full commitment to its own ideology and values consistent with applicable law which assures that its mission will not be compromised by any other entity.
Today, more than ever, it is imperative that the ARF return to its most basic values in the most healthy, revitalized and decisive manner possible.
There is no alternative to the complete liberation of the Armenian Nation, both by fighting against external enemies and by rejecting those who seek to exploit us internally. It is unacceptable for the ARF—led by its credo to free our people from internal threats and to ensure social justice—to align itself with forces that are contrary to its ideology and national aspirations. It is especially unacceptable to collaborate with political forces that call into question the essential sovereignty of our independent state.
The difficult path our homeland has traversed in the last 30 years, especially in light of the bitter realities of last year’s catastrophic war, has demonstrated that the establishment of democracy within our homeland as the only guarantee for the survival of an independent and sovereign state is an absolute imperative.
While stifling the healthy political debate which is vital especially in this post-war chaotic environment, and by trying to take advantage of the lack of a mature electoral alternative, the regime which is currently in power in Armenia must recognize that simply garnering an electoral majority is a weak foundation and only temporary guarantee of its ability to remain in control or to secure future successes. Both in the homeland and in the diaspora, the Armenian people witnessed with grave concern and deep consternation how the 44-day war was conducted. Now, in the post-war environment, the Armenian people have developed a deep skepticism and lack of trust in the spineless and uncertain political maneuvers of the current regime, especially with respect to the realities unfolding at our national borders. Whether the explanation for all this is inexperience in governing, political ineptitude, or a gross failure of intentions, the outcome is absolutely unacceptable and utterly condemnable. If the Armenian authorities do not immediately sober up and demonstrate more determination toward the games being played by the enemy and the great powers, we, as a Nation, will pay a price even higher than the loss of our occupied land and the lives of thousands of soldiers.
The full potential of the Armenian nation must be expended to strengthen state institutions and the armed forces, to reform the justice system and to establish rule of law. The current Armenian authorities must understand that they have an absolute responsibility to cooperate with all national factions, especially the Diaspora, whose immense potential must be leveraged for the strengthening of Armenia’s statehood. Today, more than ever, it is necessary to put aside self-serving interests and unite our nation in the name of our statehood. We will never be able to regain our rights as a nation if we have not strengthened the foundations of our sovereignty and sacred values. During the past several decades, our collective national failures became one of the main reasons for our defeat.
We affirm and with complete confidence declare that the ARF will return to its ideological roots and will reclaim its mantle. With its formidable ideological principles ingrained in its Program and a renewed and unwavering commitment, the ARF, once again, will use its potential to strengthen Armenia and Artsakh, and, if needed, by opening alternative paths, will rededicate itself to secure the return of all lands belonging to the Armenian people to its rightful owners—the Armenian nation.
Alas, it is this vision and approach that the ARF-Dashnaktsutyun, Western U.S.A., its executive bodies and members across the region present to the Armenian people, and especially to members and supporters of the ARF around the world. We urge our ARF members to stay away from taking absurd and inappropriate steps that endanger our unity.
We call on all ARF bodies and members around the world to support this ARF-Dashnaktsutyun, Western U.S.A. family and vision in order to regain and restore the ARF’s ideological mantle.