Macedonian Patriotic Organization

From the Beginning
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Having been forced out of their motherland Macedonia by the exceedingly harsh new political, cultural, religious and national enslavement initiated by the 1913 Treaty of Bucharest, the freedom fighters of the 1903 Ilinden insurrection turned their sight on the new land of political freedom, of economic opportunity and of basic human rights, which beckoned to them from across the wide expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. They came by the thousands to establish their new homes in either the United States of America or in Canada.

Once they had found the security promised them by these two young, vibrant nations, the freedom fighters looked back on the tragedy of their native Macedonia and decided that it was their inherent duty to keep alive the torch of freedom that they had lighted in the valiant days of Ilinden 1903.

So, in 1922, their delegates met in Fort Wayne, Ind., and charted a framework within which to build the firm structure of the new organization. At the first Convention considerable attention was given to find an appropriate name for the newly formed organization. The proposal for Macedonian Patriotic Organizations was rejected because after the defeat of the Central Powers in the World War I, the word "patriot" had assumed a repulsive meaning. The convention settled for the name of Macedonian Political Organizations, which, happily, in 1956 was changed to the original proposal - Macedonian Patriotic Organizations.

To regulate this structure, guidelines and rules were necessary. These were carefully considered and adopted at this Constituent Convention of the MPO of the United States of America and Canada. Throughout the next several conventions, the delegates diligently worked on improvements and additions to the original bylaws. The final form was adopted at the fifth session of the Sixth Regular MPO Annual Convention of the USA and Canada, which met in Akron, Ohio, in 1927. The first copy was printed by the Macedonian Tribune office in 1928.

The extensive time and consideration the MPO founders devoted to developing the bylaws resulted in a masterpiece of good statesmanship and political vision. The unchanged fundamentals of this document are still guiding the MPO into the third millennium.

The first article of the MPO bylaws states: "The Macedonian Immigrants of the United States and Canada, as well as their descendants, regardless of nationality, religion, sex or convictions, realizing the necessity of joint organized activity for the liberation of Macedonia, formed the Macedonian Patriotic Organization with the slogan 'Macedonia for the Macedonians.'"

The bylaws specify in Article 6. eligibility for MPO membership. "A regular member of these organizations can be any person over 18 years of age, born in Macedonia or of Macedonian descent, who accepts and maintains the aim of these by-laws and pledges himself to fulfill its regulations." A note to this article defines a single exception: "Members of the organizations, women's and youth's sections can also be persons of non-Macedonian descent, married to persons answering the stipulations of Article 6."

The aim of the MPO, as defined in Article 2. of the bylaws, is: "To work for strengthening the feelings of loyalty and patriotism among the immigrants and their descendants toward the respective countries where they live - The United States and Canada;" and "To strive in a legal manner for the establishment of Macedonia as an independent state unit within her historic and geographic boundaries, which should constitutionally guarantee the ethnic, religious, cultural and political rights and liberties of all citizens."

For the accomplishment of the above purposes, the MPO founders defined in Article 4. of the bylaws very specific means for the Organization: "It publishes newspapers, books and brochures to disseminate the truth regarding the just cause of Macedonia and informs the public opinion on the correct solution of the Macedonian problem." and "It presents the Macedonian cause before foreign nations, legislative bodies, international institutes and societies through memorandums, petitions, statements, protests, resolutions, etc."

To fulfill the stipulations of the MPO bylaws the delegates to the Fourth annual MPO Convention, which met in Indianapolis, in 1925 decided to establish a newspaper, an official organ of the MPO, and to name it MACEDONIAN TRIBUNE. Under the guidance and leadership of the MPO Central Committee Secretary Jordan Tchkatroff the MACEDONIAN TRIBUNE was founded and began publication on February 10, 1927.

And the rest is history - documented in the most authentic way, as a vivid testimony of lives, ideals, desires and struggles of Macedonians in North America. Over the next eight decades the MPO became the only free consciousness of enslaved Macedonia. With its firm and uncompromising stand for a free, independent and united Macedonian state the MPO became a Macedonian legend, second only to IMRO, and the highest symbol of the legal struggle of the Macedonian Liberation movement throughout the world.

MPO approaches the third millennium with even greater enthusiasm than its founders had at the beginning of this century. The century-old struggle has been rewarded with the existence of a free and independent Macedonian state. While the fundamental goals of the Organization, as stated in its bylaws, remain the same, its contemporary purpose is best summarized in the Mission statement developed in 1996 by the MPO Central Committee:

The mission of the Macedonian Patriotic Organization is to:

• Continue to work for human, civil and economic rights for all Macedonians of the world
• Promote and preserve the ethnic traditions, customs and history of our people
• Promote and develop the cultural and social growth of our youth - Promote and strengthen our Organization.

The MACEDONIAN TRIBUNE is our primary voice in achieving this mission.