Just a few days ahead of the NATO Summit, the World Peace Council organised a conference in Brussels on 7th of July, 2018, in the framework of its "No to NATO - Yes to Peace" campaign. Prior to the conference, WPC delegates from different peace organisations attended a public event organised by its affiliate in Belgium, INTAL, on the 6th of July.
On the 7th, after the conference, WPC delegates took part in the anti-NATO rally in Brussels, carrying their banners and shouting their slogans.
Anti-NATO conference of the WPC in Brussels 7th July 2018
The strengthening of the anti-imperialist-peace movements under conditions of escalating imperialist aggression and antagonisms with new interventions, wars and threats against the peoples around the world, were addressed at the debate of the World Peace Council's (WPC) International Conference against NATO on 7th July in Brussels, the double capital of the two imperialist organizations, EU and NATO.
With the Conference and the participation in the anti-NATO demonstration at the center of Brussels in view of the NATO summit, the WPC’s anti-imperialist events culminated its campaign "YES to Peace - NO to NATO". The participants came from anti-imperialist peace movements from: Belgium, Greece, Portugal, Poland, Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Spain, Italy, USA, Nepal, Norway and Cyprus.
The main introductory speech was held by Thanassis Pafilis, General Secretary of the WPC who underlined amongst others the following:
“There is no doubt that, as we have proclaimed, NATO was and is the enemy of peoples and peace, the armed wing of imperialism, the dangerous murderous organization protecting the interests of capital at global level. That it staggered its aggression against the peoples, that the contrasts and competitions lead to new wars and their possible generalization. From this point of view, the struggle of the peoples as a whole for its dissolution is an immediate priority. The peoples' struggle in the NATO member countries for disengagement from it, as well as the denouncement of all the governments of the member states that participate and unanimously sign its decisions, is of special importance to it. There can be no doubt about this as well as about the character of the EU, which as an imperialist union working closely with NATO in the same direction.
The creation of a genuine peaceful world with peoples’ prosperity goes through the overthrow of the imperialist domination and barbarity as a whole. "
Thanassis Pafilis furthermore said: "In the region of the Mediterranean Sea we wittiness a fierce competition for the control of resources, energy and products’ transport, for the geostrategic control. Such antagonisms occur across the globe. From the Arctic to SE Asia, from the Caucasus to the Balkans and Africa. The economic war between the US, the EU, China and other great powers is further intensified. The whole planet looks like a volcano, which is now showing small explosions, but seems to be preparing bigger and bigger ones as history has shown.
This situation also underlines the duty of the people's struggle against the interventions and imperialist wars and their causes. "
Among other things, Iraklis Tsavdaridis, WPC Executive Secretary, stressed that "genuine peace loving forces must raise their voices and fists against NATO, fight for its dissolution on a global scale, and for the disengagement from it in the member states. This is the only way to target the core of the problem without expressing generous "wishes". Against this background, anti-NATO actions must reveal the imperialist character of NATO, and not demonize the one or the other leader that eventually serve to “wash clean” all governments that unanimously support and implement the imperialist plans ".
The "Norway for Peace" movement referred to NATO's aspirations for domination in the North Atlantic and the Arctic. In Norway, there are US naval bases, and a civil aviation airport is being refurbished to join NATO's military force. Also, a NATO monitoring system (Globus 3) has been installed near the border with Russia. The November-2017 agreement between the US and Norway (Radar Information Agreement) allows information from Finland and Sweden to be available to NATO. Finally, he referred to a huge NATO military exercise - the largest since the end of the Second World War - that will take place in the end of October in the Scandinavian region. There will be 35,000 troops from 30 countries, 150 fighter jets and 70 warships. Exercises also include Sweden, Finland and the Baltic countries and the scenario is that Norway is being attacked by Russia.
The Bulgarian National Peace Council stood in the growing tension between NATO-Russia in the Black Sea, the growing NATO military presence in the region, and the strategic integration of FYROM and other Western Balkan countries into NATO.
The Intensification of NATO's military presence in Eastern Europe, the Balkans and the Baltic States, and the propaganda in the United States, was analyzed by the representative of the united national Anti-War Coalition of the US.
The Milan Anti-War Committee’s representative underlined that Italy is a strategic point for NATO with military, naval, airborne and nuclear weapons across the country. Characteristically, in Naples is stationed the Command of the alliance, Sicily is the center of NATO satellite telecommunications and drones that can operate around the world, while in Sardinia there is a crucial base for military exercises and nuclear weapons tests, causing high cancer rates in the region. He denounced the Italian government that it spends 70 million euros a day on military spending, shares and follows all NATO decisions. Indeed, he referred to the imperialist attack in Libya and the special interest of the Italian capital, with the government providing all its bases. Finally, he denounced the so-called "pacifist movement" of his country, is essentially "doing the work of NATO and the imperialists" whereas its protests are being funded and advertised by monopoly giants.
As the president of the Belgian INTAL movement, Paula Polanco said, “Capitalism is waging wars as the clouds bring rain." She underlined that the duty of the peace movement is to create strong movements in each country against NATO, the US and the EU, and to link the anti-imperialist struggle to the struggle for social justice. She also demanded the withdrawal of Belgium from NATO.
Serbia's “Belgrade Forum for the World of Equals”, chaired by the last Yugoslav Foreign Minister Zivadin Jovanovic, underlined the opposition of the Serbian people and the peace movement of Serbia to join NATO and in any military alliance. He cited a survey last March that showed that 90% of the Serbian people are opposed to Serbia's membership of NATO. However, "through a number of NGOs and people paying heavily, NATO intensifies its propaganda in the country. The “Commission 100” has recently been announced to promote propaganda about the benefits Serbia will have if it joins NATO, an "alliance of developed, rich and humanitarian states".
The Portuguese Council for Peace and Co-operation condemned NATO's imperialist-murdering action, as well as the European 'Permanent Structured Co-operation' (PESCO), demanding the Portuguese Armed Forces not to participate in NATO and EU missions. The WPC Campaign "YES to Peace! NO to NATO, "in which dozens of Portuguese organizations participate with events and sharing materials are spreading the need for a fight against NATO.
The representative of the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY) stressed that since the first years of its establishment, WFDY has fought NATO's actions and crimes, while its history is full of interventions, coups and violent overthrows that have led millions of people to misery , death and refuge. "NATO's plans, this imperialist war machine, is being condemned by many millions of people and youth in dozens of countries. We coordinate our action with our fraternal organization of the WPC , against the common enemy, imperialism, its mechanisms and plans. We express our militant solidarity with the just struggles of the peoples under occupation, imperialist threat and intervention, "he said among others.
The representative of the Greek Committee for International Détente and Peace (EEDYE) mentioned: “this year's NATO Summit takes place against the background of the ever-increasing competition between the main imperialist powers throughout the Middle East with Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Palestine to be the main focus points of this conflict. However, preparations for war, threats, interventions and their consequences are becoming more and more intense. Even in Europe itself, in Ukraine as well as in the Persian Gulf, from Mali to the Horn of Africa, in the Balkans, from the Mediterranean to the Aegean Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean, where large oil and gas reserves exist, attract the interests of international monopoly groups. EEDYE called on the representatives of the other anti-imperialist peace movements to strengthen the struggle, "to close the Euro-Atlantic bases and headquarters, to leave our countries out of imperialist organizations and alliances. To express our solidarity to the peoples threatened by imperialism, military threats and interventions, underlining that" only the organized struggle of the peoples to become the only sovereigns in their own countries and the owners of the wealth they produce, can guarantee the real peace and social justice.
The representative of the Peace Committee of Turkey stressed that it is important to put the emphasis on the imperialist system and its means, such as NATO, instead of turning the attention to the leaders and explained that the US is the biggest example. In the intervention, it was also emphasised that imperialism is continuing to concentrate on Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East and that especially struggle for peace in these regions is important.
The delegate of the Nepalese Peace and Solidarity Council noted that "we support as a member of the WPC Secretariat (WPC Asia/Pacific Coordinator) its actions and initiatives that will continue for as long as NATO exists, we struggle to uncover its criminal and imperialist character , as documented in all cases such as Yugoslavia and Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen. NATO is also active in our area, either through US / NATO military bases, or through the bilateral military co-operation agreements that exist with most of our countries with the US," he added. "Finally he mentioned that, the Asia-Pacific Regional meeting in Kathmandu will be held in end of July, where we will discuss burning issues such as the situation around the Korean Peninsula, the South China Sea and the imperialist plans in the region."