CND hosts an international conference from the ‘No to War – No to NATO’ colition:
The New World Disorder
This counter summit to the NATO meeting on Tuesday featured speeches from international guests and delegates and some important workshops on NATO and the new Cold War; NATO and nukes; NATO, oil and the Middle East; NATO goes global; Emerging Warfare Technologies; Racism and the Far Right; Militarism and Climate Change and Militarisation of the EU. The final plenary session focused on strategies and alternatives. There was a good turnout, considering that there are other distractions at the moment, with a good representation from other countries including Belgium, France, Germany, USA, Sweden, Italy, Ireland and the Netherlands.
The message from the introductory session was that NATO is not needed and, since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, has been searching for a new role, increasing its member states to include ex-members of the Warsaw Pact. It is trying to justify its existence by claiming that Russia is on the verge of invading Europe.
Other issues covered were NATO’s push to member states to increase military spending to 2% of GDP. The UK has already done this, others are more hesitant. Also the US push for ‘interoperability’ which increases US arms sales of, for example, the F35 strike bomber (the UK is buying 138 at around $116 million each). It was also generally agreed that the anti-NATO campaign is somewhat isolated, gaining little attention even in the peace movement. We need raise the profile of the aggressive and dangerous policies of NATO (which now has a new strategy of taking war fighting into space) and making our message clearer and stronger. Up and coming events to focus on include an international day of action against US nukes in Europe sometime next year and opposition to the huge NATO exercise in Europe “Defender 2020” – the biggest for 25 years – between January and May next year. There will also be the annual peace camp and protest at the massive US military base at Ramstein in Germany from 5-12 July.
Europe can only be peaceful if we adopt a framework of common security, which must include disarmament.’ – Reiner Braun of IPB, Berlin
‘We used to be better at our global organising. We must regain the momentum to build global solidarity as we did in the early 2000s to confront the right-wing threats.’ – Medea Benjamin of Codepink in the US
A very good and informative conference that ended with a strong message on the importance of getting information out more about NATO activities and intentions and broadening the opposition. Very few political parties have an anti-NATO policy – in the UK only the Green Party has such a stance and even the Labour Party manifesto includes continuing membership of NATO (despite Jeremy Corbyn’s vews).
‘We need a world order based on peace, justice, equality and respect between nations and people – so why is there a conspiracy of silence about NATO, an integral part of the war machine?’ – Kate Hudson