Resistance to Militarisation

Across Europe campaigners are resisting militarisation and NATO. In an increasingly interconnected world with a steadily mounting democratic deficit, direct action and cooperation is the only solution.

Opposition to NATO and a Military Europe

This is not intended to be an up-to-date diary of protest and actions, but an overview of resistance to NATO and the militarisation of Europe. For upcoming events see http://www.bomspotting.be/en/ and for further information see the links page.

Opposition to NATO carried off at faslane

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



Belgium
Vredesactie has been organising the campaign ‘Bombspotting’ for the last ten years. Thousands of people have taken part in civil disobedience actions. They climbed the fences of military bases, where nuclear weapons are held, without permission, trying to prevent war crimes from being carried out.

nato game over 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.

Italy
NATO is also under fire in Italy, mainly since the war in Afghanistan. Resistance against American military bases grew in the last few months after it was announced that the military base near Vincenza, where American planes leave for Iraq and Afghanistan, would be expanding.

vicenza demo

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.

http://www.peacelink.it

Germany
Germany has had a strong peace movement for years. A new development is the network of local groups around the different military bases. There is a broad movement north of Berlin, active against the use of the exercise terrain for bombing, the Bombodrom. They are using legal channels, but when these are at their end, they plan a continual occupation of the site to prevent its usage. Local groups organise actions at the bases in Büchel, Spangdahlem en Ramstein.

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.

Turkey
Turkish peace activists, anarchists and other left wing groups were involved in anti-NATO protests against the NATO summit in Istanbul in 2004, and there have been several anti-US/ anti-NATO outpourings since. Opposition has involved both peaceful and violent protests, the latter including bombs associated with anti-NATO activities.

Czech Republic
After the Cold War, East European countries approached NATO. Countries like Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary turned out to be well behaved and enthusiastic members. However, protest in these countries is also growing. In Czech Republic it is focussed on the placement of a radar for the American Missile Defense System.

czech logo

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.

Poland
no star wars campaign There is also a broad movement against the Star Wars plans in Poland, where a missile site is planned. Alongside demonstrations, the action groups are also using the possibility of a referendum as a way to reach a broad public. This movement is made up of groups from various backgrounds, brought together under the coalition ‘Stop Wojnie ‘ (Stop War) which started during the war in Iraq.

Hungary
Finally there is Hungary, the first signs of resistance are visible, but on a local level. There are actions in Tubes and Pécs against the plans for a NATO radar site.

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.

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