By: Iraklis Tsavdaridis *
The global movement for peace has to join forces against the united effort of capital and monopolies expressed for example by the G8. Imperialism is not all-powerful and is certainly not invincible.
Dear friends and comrades:
Let me thank the U.S. Peace Council for the invitation to be here with you in Chicago, which marked the history of the labor movement. We welcome the millions of people who love peace in the U.S., workers and all the poor and oppressed in this center of imperialism.
At the NATO Summit in Chicago, the CMP would like to denounce once again the largest war machine in human history, responsible for crimes against humanity since its founding in 1949 until today.
NATO has never been a defensive structure, it was not in 1952 when Greece and Turkey joined the "alliance" at the same time, and it was not for the life of the Warsaw Pact, established later than NATO and dissolved in 1991.
NATO was in friendly relations with all bloody and reactionary regimes and movements, all counter-revolutionaries of the world, their governments and leaders, extending the red carpet to Pinochet and the leaders of apartheid, and standing behind the coups and military dictatorships in Latin America and Europe.
In particular, since 1991, the world's people now face the increased aggressiveness of imperialism and NATO with its military interventions in the former Yugoslavia, which culminated in 78 days of bombing in 1999. It was the first time that NATO openly despised not only the UN and international law, but their own statutes, establishing a new doctrine that was adopted at the summit in Washington which celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Amid the global economic crisis of capitalism, when millions more people are impoverished, even in the U.S., the profits of war industries are large. Last year, total military spending reached a maximum of 1.54 million dollars, half of which is spent by the U.S. alone. Whatever the military budget adjustments are in some member states of NATO, they have to do with the economic crisis and the better coordination of their expenses, and have nothing to do with a more peaceful position of their governments. It is a question of seeking a better "cost / benefit" relation, so the war machine is more efficient in their persuasion of "intelligent defense."
All governments of the member states share responsibility in NATO, despite the role of the U.S. government. The differences of perspective on some issues reflect viewpoints and rivalries, but always lead to the common aggressive confrontation with the people. Unfortunately, there were also illusions about the current U.S. administration over the previous one.
Life has shown that the Obama administration has not changed policy or their imperialist attitude, nor with respect to capital and American monopolies and their desire for more profits, or in relation to their people and the peoples of the world. The aggression of the U.S., France, UK and NATO against Libya in 2011, this bloody massacre of the Libyan people to secure oil reserves and its violent change of regime is fully comparable with what the previous administrations did in Yugoslavia (Clinton) Afghanistan and Iraq (G.W. Bush).
It is obvious that nothing has changed. On the contrary, the U.S. government is conducting, along with other powerful imperialist powers of Europe, plans for a "Greater Middle East," with Syria as the target today and Iran tomorrow.
The CMP seeks the complete and unconditional withdrawal of all U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan, Iraq and the Serbian province of Kosovo. "Peace and prosperity" cannot be guaranteed through protectorates and the limitation of the sovereignty of the people, especially under occupation. We ask that an end be put to any kind of outside interference in the internal affairs of Syria and, we denounce the hypocritical concern of imperialists with the Syrian people.
The CMP expresses its support for the genuine aspirations of the people for social democracy and economic changes in Syria, and their desire for peace and stability. The will and aspirations of the Syrian people have nothing to do with mercenary armed groups, promoted, trained and educated in Turkey, by Qatar and Saudi Arabia, who are pushing Syria to a civil war. At the same time, more and more sanctions are being imposed on Syria to bring suffering to its people. We have seen the situation on the ground during our recent visit to Syria.
The people in Syria can be critical of many things, and certainly have socio-economic grievances and demands, but by no means do they accept foreign interference or a military invasion of their country. The Syrian people do not want another Libya, where after the massacre by NATO last year, the country was divided into pieces and tribes that kill each other. And indeed who has the moral courage and to teach and export democracy? The monarchies of the Gulf?
Why didn't NATO speak during the time of the Saudi invasion of Bahrain? Who can teach the Arab people how to build democratic states? Will it be the Greek governments that participated in all previous aggressions with U.S. and NATO, with military bases on Greek soil, while the Greek people are impoverished and under the joint attack all of the dominant forces, capital, the EU and IMF?
Dear friends, fellow fighters for peace:
Two years ago, in November 2010, NATO adopted its new military doctrine in Lisbon, making the military wing of imperialism more "efficient" in dealing with new plans and so-called asymmetric threats. What they meant was energy security (which means how to get cheap oil and gas and the control of its conduct), or piracy (how to ensure global capitalist trade and transport of oil and gas), and of course the threats to democracy and stability in societies (which means creating authoritarian mechanisms of suppression of popular uprisings and protests).
Hand in hand with the U.S., NATO developed its policies for conducting the war we had last year and the general expression of military operations and the NATO bombing of Libya. NATO expands more and more its range of operations, has many forms of bilateral and multilateral cooperation, and is gradually involving partners in these plans.
The G8 safeguards the interests of big business and monopolies in their countries. There are, of course, contradictions and fierce competition.
They unfold in the economy and politics throughout the year for the division of the cake that they will all receive. But when it comes to the annual summit, the G8 have a common ground which is surely against the interests of people, workers and peasants, or the vast majority of our societies. Decisions about what the IMF and World Bank will do are under discussion in the G8, the balance between different and powerful imperialist forces are being addressed in the G8.
All states of the G8, except Russia and Japan, are in NATO. Japan had troops in Iraq and is participating in U.S. military plans in Far East Asia. And Russia did not raise any veto last year in the UN Security Council when the bombing began against Libya.
Two years ago, the CMP organized a conference with its partners in Lisbon like the one here today (Yes to Peace - No to NATO), with a large rally and demonstration of more than 30,000 people in the streets of Lisbon. Our slogan was: "NATO is the enemy of peace and peoples - It must be dissolved!"
We are here in Chicago to participate in a continuation of the popular anti-NATO summit in Lisbon, taking our solidarity and appreciation for the U.S. peace movement, struggling in difficult conditions against the same enemy. The $41 million that are being spent by the city of Chicago and the U.S. government for the NATO summit are taken directly from social services to the American people.
NATO meets on these days with its allies, and more than 60 heads of state and government will be here in Chicago, turning this city into a fortress. NATO will discuss and implement the doctrine laid down in Lisbon, and already tested in Libya, to meet its "new challenges." They speak of "asymmetric threats" and the establishment of the flexible NATO Response Force (NRF), which will quickly intervene at any point where the interests of capital and monopolies are concerned.
NATO is going ahead with its missile defense shield, while not giving up the the first strike option. NATO prepares and trains for possible interventions within its member states, since the discontent and anger of the people are growing, especially as a result of the capitalist crisis. When NATO talks about the safeguarding of peace and security, what it really means is preparing new attacks and wars against peoples and nations.
NATO prepares new reactionary plans, hand in hand with the U.S., which created the European Army and their battle groups. All actions are well coordinated in order to suppress protests and the people in order to protect the flow of oil and the profits of multinational corporations. They talk about new threats and dangers, non-military such as climate change, the "war in cyberspace," energy security, demarcating the entire planet as its area of vital action.
This includes Afghanistan, Somalia, Kosovo, the southern sea of China or Australia and New Zealand. Also included are the Middle-East, where large scale plans are developed. The aim of NATO is to become "more flexible, effective and efficient," which means more killing. The title of the NATO Summit in Chicago "Peace and Stability in the Euro-Atlantic" is hypocritical, given that NATO has already acted as sheriff and worldwide police for many years.
NATO prepares its new system of Alliance Ground Surveillance - AGS, unmanned aircraft with highly sophisticated surveillance of the Mediterranean Sea, which proves that preparations are underway for new aggressions. Under the title "Intelligent Defense," NATO is trying to unify the military command structure of the member states to establish common priorities, resources and costs. NATO requires its members to unify the infrastructure and the sharing of responsibilities in multinational operations. All this takes place also in the light of the budgetary problems facing governments in the capitalist economic crisis.
There can be no peace and justice as imperialism dominates over the world. We call upon the peoples of the world to strengthen the fight against imperialism in each country, to unite our voices and efforts for the dissolution of NATO and the exit of our countries that are members. The global movement for peace has to join forces in a united effort against capital and monopolies expressed by the example of the G8. Imperialism is not all-powerful and it is certainly not invincible.
* Iraklis Tsavdaridis is executive secretary of the World Peace Council
Source: Portal Cebrapaz
Translated from the Portuguese version by: