Is Syriza committed to leaving NATO?
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Demonstrators defy Chicago police during anti-NATO protest march in Chicago, May 19, 2012.
By Antonis Davanellos and Sotiris Martalis, members of the coordinating secretariat of SYRIZA
May 20, 2012
Dear comrades, dear brothers and sisters of the anti-war movement
We salute your mobilisations against the NATO Summit [in Chicago] and we send you our solidarity from Greece.
We don’t need to say much about the reasons to raise our voices against NATO. Millions of people are familiar with its record or crimes over the last years in the Balkans, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Libya to name just a few.
And if we look further back, NATO has provided nothing but wars, dictatorships and terror around the globe, from the day it was founded, and during all the years of its existence.
In summits like the one here in Chicago, they are planning the creation of a “new kind of NATO”, even more ruthless, aggressive and dangerous. Under the guise of the so-called “global war on terror”, NATO wants to act as the global watchdog against anyone resisting the imperialist interests of Western powers. We have seen how they label people or movements as “terrorist” in order to target whole countries in the Middle East, but also anti-war activists in the West. In a previous summit in Lisbon, NATO named a new challenge it will deal with: they call it “political turbulence in member states” and it’s a direct threat to social and political movements in the West.
Here in Greece, the struggle against NATO has always been important and the demand to exit the war machine, and shut down its military bases in Greece had always been central for the Greek left since the '70s.
More recently, we still remember that the foundations for the emergence of the radical left, SYRIZA, that today is on the rise, are back at the anti-war movement of 2003 against the invasion in Iraq. And today, the country that is most hardly hit by the crisis and austerity, maintains military presence to Afghanistan, it supported actively the war on Libya, it deploys its navy in Somalia and Lebanon. Greek governments, in their competition with the Turkish state about which power can act best as the“military bully” of the area, had been spending billions of euros in a frenzy of constant armaments. And the military spending continues even now, at the time of the most severe austerity that threatens public schools and hospitals with collapse. We know that the same is happening with your government in the USA, and the trillions of dollars that are spent on wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, and not in education, health care and jobs.
Today, fighting against NATO is also a fight in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the Arab world who revolt against their dictators. The Arab revolutions are under threat and NATO is the sword and shield of the counter-revolution. The anti-war movement in the member states of the war machine has the duty, and the power, to block any attempts to derail or crush the revolt of the Arab peoples. We face this task more than ever before here, as Greece has established a strategic alliance with the Zionist State of Israel, becoming its no.1 ally in the eastern Mediteranean. This is against the will of the Greek people, who have traditionally been pro-Palestinian, and we pledge to do our best to break this alliance. We know that the same goes with the US, that what the White House and the Pentagon are doing is against the will of the American people. And we are happy to learn about demonstrations like the one you are staging today, where the “other America” speaks, where ordinary people can shout “not in our name”.
The struggle against NATO, against imperialist wars, against occupations and dictatorships, in defence of the Arab revolution, in solidarity with Palestine, in defence of the right of every people to self-determination is a global one. But you comrades and friends in the US are the ones who are struggling in the “belly of the beast”. It is a hard struggle, but it is a struggle worth fighting. The anti-war movement in the US is the one that can stop the leading force of the war machine.
For these reasons, you have our deep and sincere respect for all your efforts, and our solidarity to your struggle. Today’s demonstration in Chicago is exciting news, and we are sure that your presence in the streets is really bad news for the warmongers. The press in Europe said the previous days that “NATO is preparing for war in Chicago”. You should all be proud for being out there.
There is this slogan we use in Greece, it doesn’t rhyme in English but today it’s dedicated to all of you demonstrating in the US: “From New York to Palestine – workers' struggles, internationalism, peace”.
In these times of severe economic crisis, their war machine is more dangerous than ever, threatening with holocausts in Iran or in the eastern Mediterranean, just to protect their profits. And in such times of austerity, it becomes even more important to organise and fight for our needs and not more fuel to the war machine. And we can achieve that. In the US, in Greece, and in every country waging and sponsoring wars abroad while ruining the lives of the working people and the poor inside them, its important more than ever, to remember and realise an old slogan back from the 1960s and the movement against the war on Vietnam: “Bring the war home!”.
By Mike Ely, photos by Kasama’s JB Connors
May 20, 2012 -- Kasama Project -- Our guess was over 10,000. I thought it had quite a radical vibe. There were common themes of opposing empire, war and the oppressions of capitalism. Anyone watching would have seem many diverse voices and creative expressions — but many common thoughts and values. Including socialism.
Click on photos to enlarge.