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European Social Forum: It's All About NATO


European Social Forum: It's All About NATO
by Bruce Gagnon | Organizing Notes

I arrived in Copenhagen today after spending the last couple of days in Malmo, Sweden for the European Social Forum. Yesterday afternoon a march was held where 10,000 people walked for 3 and 1/2 hours through the city streets in a beautiful spirited procession. Thousands of people watched us from their home windows or on the street as we passed through the city. The weather was perfect. Just before the march took off I was the final speaker at the rally (for two minutes). I was lucky I got to speak at all as we got to the rally late after a large group of us stopped for some lunch at a local fallafel joint. I'm glad we ate first.

Before the march yesterday I participated in a forum on space issues along with GN chair Dave Webb from England who is also the Vice-Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarament in the UK. Jan Tamas, our good friend and a leader of the resistance against deployment of the U.S. Star Wars radar in the Czech Republic, was there too. GN board member Agenta Norberg, a long-time activist from Sweden, made the arrangements to get us all there to talk. It was a well attended event and we felt excited to have reached many new people.

In the morning I have a couple of meetings here in Copenhagen, which will include an interview with a local progressive newspaper, and then a talk in the evening. On Tuesday I head back to Sweden where I will spend a couple days in Stockholm.

The mood is very serious here. Sweden, Denmark and Norway are all facing cutbacks in social programs though they are still far ahead of where the U.S. is today. But conservative governments are slicing away at the social fabric bit by bit and moving more in the direction of militarization like so many other countries around the world.

I'd say the biggest theme I heard coming out of the social forum in Malmo was NATO. Activists throughout Europe are very worried and angry about NATO expansion and are saying that NATO is militarizing international relations and is subordinating European interests to those of the U.S. They are saying that if we want to stop wars in Afghanistan, Georgia, and even a U.S. war with Russia, then we must stop shut down NATO.

2009 will be the 60th year of the "alliance" and major protests are now being planned in France and Germany to coincide with official government "celebrations that will be held there next April. This weekend in France and Germany demos were held as a prelude to next year.

Peace groups around the world are being urged to begin educating the public about the dangerous expansion of NATO into an "offensive" alliance that is being used to surround Russia and ultimately China in order to control them by controling access to and distribution of oil and natural gas.

Bush and NATO have just announced the intention to create a rapid-deployment force to be used against Russia as the U.S. and its allies will increasingly probe and pressure Russia with NATO enlargement on their immediate borders.

There can be no doubt that the neo-cons now in power intend to push Russia to either submit to U.S. corporate control or face the combined wrath of a heavily provocative NATO. The people of Europe don't want to see this confrontation but the increasing right-wing corporate dominated governments in Europe are doing the bidding of the western interests.

People need to start paying serious attention to what is going on with NATO and their deep and highly dangerous desire for military confronation with Russia. Imagine if Russia was building military bases today in Cuba, Canada, and Mexico. That would be the equivalent to what the U.S. is now doing with NATO expansion around Russia.

It's a Cuban Missile Crisis in reverse.

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