Tuesday, March 17, 2009

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Orginally founded as the 'foreard base" of the American Empire against the Soviet Empire in Europe, the organization has served other functions for the imperium over the years, including participation in the Korean War. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and its empire, however, the alliance has been called increasingly into question, and despite participation in the American war in Afghanistan there is an underlying current of differing interests amongst the members.
On the 60th anniversary a summit is planned to be held jointly in the French city of Strasbourg and the German city of Kehl. Protests are being planned by a wide coalition of groups who feel that NATO should be abolished, that it existence does more harm than good in the modern world. Here is a statement from a coalition of anarchist communist groups about the upcoming summit. From the Anarkismo website...
Anarchist-communist appeal against NATO summit:
In the current context of economic crisis and rarefaction of natural resources, tensions increase between powerful countries fighting for control over the world. So western countries strengthen their device of domination, NATO, and use it in their aggressive and imperialistic politics (Afghanistan, Iraq, Georgia, Ukraine, and so on). Sixty-year-old NATO will celebrate its birthday at its yearly meeting this April the 3rd and 4th on the border between France and Germany (Strasbourg and Baden-Baden), claiming to be representative of liberty, peace and democracy.

NATO was founded in 1949 in order to unite North America and Western Europe against the Soviet Union. It had to find a new legitimacy in 1989 after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc. According to Sarkozy and Merkel it should take into account “in addition to military issues, (…) the global financial situation, the supply of energy or migratory issues” (1). Thus NATO becomes the device of global domination of Western capitalism.
While NATO troops embody an imperialistic attack on Afghanistan, like American troops in Iraq, people suffer from the oppression of both foreign troops and puppet governments aimed to ensure the plundering of resources by Western companies. NATO’s aims conflict with downtrodden people’s interests and their democratic rights; in those countries NATO opposes the possibility of people’s self-organization to fight oppression and manage resources democratically.
We fight the domination of international organizations (NATO, UN, IMF, G8, G20, WTO…) which are the devices of capitalism to reinforce the exploitation of workers and people.
We appeal to demonstrate against NATO everywhere in the world and to get involved in the counter-summit, within the alternative anti-NATO village, from April the 1st to April the 5th, in order to counteract warmongering and imperialistic politics with demonstrations, actions, meetings and debates.
Against capitalism, imperialism and authoritarianism!
Withdrawal of NATO troops everywhere in the world!
Solidarity with oppressed peoples!
Freedom of movement for people!
Common Cause (Ontario, Canada)
This appeal has been published io a number of different languages, including French, German, Italian, Greek, Spanish, Arabic and Chinese. Voice l'appel en français.
Appel communiste libertaire contre le sommet de l'OTAN:
Dans le contexte actuel de crise, de raréfaction des ressources naturelles et énergétiques, les tensions s'accroissent entre les grandes puissances pour le contrôle de la planète. Pour répondre à cette nécessité les pays occidentaux développent leur bras armé, l'OTAN, afin de mener leur politique agressive et impérialiste (Afghanistan, Irak, Géorgie, Ukraine, etc.). L'OTAN, qui fête ses soixante ans d’existence, organise son sommet annuel les 3 et 4 avril sur la frontière franco-allemande (Strasbourg et Baden-Baden) sous la bannière de la liberté, la paix et la démocratie.

Fondée en 1949 pour rassembler l'Amérique du Nord et l'Europe de l'Ouest face à l’Union soviétique, l'Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique Nord (OTAN) doit trouver une nouvelle légitimité, dès 1989, à la chute du bloc de l’Est. Selon Sarkozy et Merkel, elle doit prendre en compte « …outre les questions militaires, (…) la situation financière internationale, les approvisionnements énergétiques ou les questions migratoires » (1). L'OTAN devient l'instrument de domination globale du capitalisme occidental.
Alors que les troupes de l'OTAN incarnent une intervention impérialiste en Afghanistan, à l’instar de la coalition américaine en Irak, les peuples subissent la double oppression des troupes étrangères et des gouvernements fantoches mis en place pour garantir le pillage des ressources par les multinationales occidentales. Les visées de l’OTAN sont à l’opposé des intérêts des opprimé-e-s, de leurs droits démocratiques ; dans ces pays dominés l'OTAN contrecarre la possibilité de s'auto-organiser pour combattre les oppressions et gérer démocratiquement leurs ressources.
Nous combattons la domination des institutions internationales (OTAN, ONU, FMI, G8, G20, OMC...) qui sont les instruments du capitalisme pour renforcer l’exploitation des travailleuses, des travailleurs et des peuples.
Nous appelons à manifester contre l'OTAN partout dans le monde et à participer au contre-sommet, au sein du village alternatif anti-OTAN, du 1er au 5 avril afin de contrecarrer les politiques bellicistes et impérialistes, par des manifestations, des actions, des rencontres et des débats.
Contre le capitalisme, l’impérialisme et l'autoritarisme !
Retrait des troupes de l'OTAN partout dans le monde !
Solidarité avec les peuples opprimés !
Liberté de circulation des personnes !
Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici (Italie)
Common Cause (Ontario, Canada)
(1) Déclaration de Nicolas Sarkozy et Angela Merkel, 4 février 2009.
Et aussi, plus d'information de Alternative Libertaraire, une organisation platformiste français.
Mobilisation contre le sommet de l’OTAN
Un sommet de l’OTAN se tiendra à Strasbourg début avril 2009. Alternative libertaire participe aux mobilisations contre ce sommet.
**Communiqué d’Alternative Libertaire du 17/03/09 : L’OTAN n’aura pas la paix !
**Tract AL Alsace du 14/03/09 : Strasbourg occupée par l’OTAN
**le tract fédéral d’AL du 23/02/09 : Retour dans l’OTAN, La machine de guerre est prête !
**le bulletin de février d’AL Alsace : OTAN suspends ton vol
**Le tract de février de la coordination anti-OTAN : Retour dans l’OTAN… La France prépare de nouvelles guerres coloniales !
**commander des autocollants AL pour le retrait de l’OTAN d’Afghanistan
Finally, from the War Resisters International, one of the groups organizing against the summit, here is what this meeting means in terms of democracy and citizens' rights.
NATO summit 2009: A democracy free zone:
When the alliance of democracies meets, there is no space for democracy on the streets.

When NATO celebrates its 60th birthday in Baden-Baden, Kehl and Strasbourg on 3 and 4 April 2009, there will be a lot of nice speeches about the values of democracy, and the need to defend democracy against a multitude of threats. But while NATO might talk about democracy, democracy will be temporarily suspended in huge areas of Baden-Baden, Kehl and Strasbourg.
Security zones and “no-go areas”
The complete picture of “security zones” and controlled areas is not yet clear, but it is clear that the scale of this security operation and the restriction to freedom of movement, freedom of assembly and democratic protest will be unprecedented.

What is know so far is that in Strasbourg access to the old town will only be possible with special access passes. All street markets, schools, kindergardens, historic sights and more will be closed on 4 April. In addition, public transport will be severely effected, with trams not being able to enter the security zones, and the train line from Strasbourg to Germany will suspended from Friday afternoon until Saturday morning. Strasbourg's mayor Robert Herrmann did not rule out police searches of houses in the old city, and adviced tourists not to visit Strasbourg on 4 April.

In Kehl, 700 people who live near the Passerelle, a pedestrian bridge over the Rhine which will be the site of a symbolic handshake and photo opportunity for the heads of states and governments, will be severely effected. From Friday evening until Saturday morning (when all is over) they will not be able to leave their houses without prior consent from the police, and only accompanied by police. In addition, access to the Europa bridge, the main road connection over the Rhine, will be closed for several hours, and even traffic on the Rhine will be halted.

A similar concept will be in force in Baden-Baden, where German chancellor Angela Merkel will receive the heads of states and governments on 3 April at 17.30hrs, before they dine at the Kurhaus Casino in Baden-Baden. Details for Baden-Baden are not yet known, but it is expected that in Baden-Baden too there will be no-go areas.
Democracy suspended
All this security leaves little room for democratic protest. At the time of going to press, the authorities of Strasbourg halted the negotiations with the International Coordination Committee No-to-NATO 2009 about the route for the international demonstration, planned for 4 April 2009. While the organisers of the demonstration want a route which will bring the protest close to the summit itself, the authorities do not want to allow any demonstration in the centre of Strasbourg, and want to divert the demonstration to the outskirts, where it cannot be seen or heard by the presidents and prime ministers of the NATO countries. This in fact is contrary to the French constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights, as it will deny the citizenry to voice their protest close to the object of their protest. Thus, the way the NATO summit is organised turns all speeches and declarations of democracy that might be made at the summit into a farce.
Nevertheless, preparations are well under way to confront NATO with our protest. War Resisters' International is part of a coalition of groups that plan to blockade the NATO summit. Within the framework of this coalition called “Block-NATO”, and founded at the Activist Conference in Strasbourg on 14/15 February, War Resisters' International works closely with its Belgian affiliates Vredesactie and a range of German nonviolent groups in organising a blockading point (see the call on page 1 and 2).

We will meet in the protest camp in Strasbourg-Neudorf (La Ganzau), to finalise the preparations for the action and to provide a last opportunity to take part in a nonviolence training. To make this blockade a success, we need your support. Come to Strasbourg from 1-5 April 2009, to reclaim democracy!
Andreas Speck
Published in The Broken Rifle, February 2009, No. 81

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