Opposition to NATO and a Military Europe
Opposition to NATO
NATO has long been a focus of opposition among peace movements in Europe. Here in the UK, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and other peace groups have been campaigning against the US nuclear weapons base at Lakenheath. www.lakenheathaction.org
Britain's nuclear weapons, based at Faslane in Scotland also have a role in NATO, and have been the subject of countless protests, including a permanent peace camp, established for over twenty years. http://faslanepeacecamp.org.uk/ and more on resistance to Trident at www.cnduk.org
There is also strong opposition to National Missile Defence, which will use the bases at Menwith Hill and Fylingdales in Yorkshire. For more info see www.yorkshirecnd.org.uk
Peace organisations in mainland Europe have a greater awareness than in the UK, of the negative impact of NATO, and the nuclearisation of Europe in general. This is due in a large part to the fact that these countries are nuclear armed only because of their membership of NATO. Without their own nuclear weapons to rail against, NATO and its nuclear bases is a focus of opposition. Further, the citizens of Europe are historically more engaged with the EU than here in the UK, and the European Union and NATO are physically located in mainland Europe. For more info see www.bombspotting.org
The Belgian Parliament was the first parliamentary organ within NATO to ratify the resolution to remove nuclear weapons. However, the Belgian government has done nothing so far to put this resolution into practice.
At the start of the war in Iraq, Belgian ‘trainstoppers’ stopped a train carrying american military supplies. Today Vredesactie is taking initiative for ‘NATO – Game Over’ a European campaign of Non-Violent Direct Action to get the discussion going about NATO.
A hundred thousand people demonstrated on the base at Vincenza on 17 February 2007. A few days later prime minister Prodi handed in his resignation because his government couldn’t achieve a majority to support the continuation of the NATO occupation of Afghanistan.
Also at Leipzig airport, where Antonov planes are stationed for EU and NATO interventions and where American soldiers on leave from Iraq or Afghanistan land, and in Ansbach, one of the places where the American army in Germany is concentrating its forces and a helicopter regiment is based.
In August 2006 a coalition was formed called ‘Ne Základnám’ translated as: ‘No to military bases’. They organised the first demonstration in Prague against these plans. This movement now has local groups all over the Czech Republic and is collecting signatures for a referendum. There have been referenda in the villages around the proposed site and the results show nearly 100% of the people are against the plans.
Resistance to the Militarisation of the EU
Opposition to the militarisation and nuclearisation of the European Union has been limited in this country, which does not imply widespread acceptance, but widespread unawareness.
Resistance to the Treaty of Lisbon/ EU Consitution has grown in importance, with vociferous calls from several quarters for a referendum. Unfortunately much of this is from a nationalist, anti-european perspective. However, there is a burgeoning opposition to the Treaty from within the Trade Unions, focused on the negative implications for social and economic justice, and against the free market principles of competition on which the Treaty is based. http://www.tuaeuc.org
The Campaign against Arms Trade (CAAT) and the European Network against Arms Trade have produced reports which highlight the worrying aspects of the European Union.
Aside from this however, there has been little awareness and therefore protest about the dangerous military and defence aspects of the Treaty, and this website is an attempt to redress that.