Spain: An appeal against NATO military exercises galvanizes demonstrations and civil disobedience actions


An article from Tercera Information (reprinted in accordance with the rules of Creative Commons and translated by CPNN)

More than 70 groups and organizations throughout Spain and the rest of Europe have so far made public their support for the “ Call to Action” against the military exercise “Trident Juncture 2015”, the largest exercise by NATO since the end of the Cold War, which from today will mobilize 36,000 soldiers, 4,000 vehicles, warplanes and hundreds of tanks in Italy, Portugal and especially in Spain, where 20,000 troops are deployed (8,000 of them provided by the Spanish armed forces themselves).

no nato

Following this call, groups from different places have engaged in nonviolent actions. In Bilbao and Valencia, they have blocked the path of the military machine by chaining themselves to the tanks that were preparing participate. In the port of Sagunto they have cut off the flow of arms to the prinicipal area of ​​these “war games” in Zaragoza, And in Zaragoza itself they are preparing a human chain of protest against the visit to that city by secretary general of NATO on 4 November which the military organization has defined as “Distinguished Visitors Day”. Demonstrations and civil disobedience actions that have also taken place in Barbate (Cádiz) with the support of the Network Antimilitarista y Noviolenta de Andalucia and the Network Antimilitarista Europea. “The war starts here, let’s stop it here”: that is the main motto for these actions of protest and civil resistance to barbarism, responding to the Call to Action.

All the signatory groups believe that these “super-manoevers” “increase insecurity in the world and particularly our region which is the main stage of their war operations. If we allow them to bring the war “home”, we become collaborators of the violence of NATO, encouraging terrorism, social division, racism, fear … ”

The NATO exercise Trident Juncture has taken over and militarized ports, airports, railways and natural spaces in Valencia, Bilbao, Zaragoza, Navarre, Albacete and parts of Andalucía in order to undertake training for war and to certify the offensive and interventionist capacity and high readiness of the forces of NATO and to display their destructive power.

In the view of the organizations supporting the call, “the NATO maneuvers are designed to protect only a privileged minority, while increasing global military spending at the expense of vital investment in social and humanitarian needs, such as fighting the dramatic consequences of the capitalist crisis, curbing environmental degradation, promoting fair trade, economic solidarity and cooperation for the overall development of the planet.”

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( Click here for the original Spanish version. )

Question for this article:

Can NATO be abolished?

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According to these groups, one can see the policies that prioritize the preparation of war in the fact that only in 2014 world military expenditure was 1.8 billion dollars, while in 2016 the State Spanish consume 25 million dollars in the preparation of war and social control. The Conscientious Objection “Alternative Antimilitarista” draws attention to the fact that only one tenth of the Spanish military and repression budget would provide the amount that Action Against Hunger estimates is needed to end child malnutrition worldwide. In fact, the Spanish State is among the 7 major global arms exporters, and the permanent members of the Security Council of the UN are the largest exporters of military equipment. ”

According to Alternative Antimilitarista, “these policies contribute to increasing tension, insecurity and the arms race in the world. The trip over themselves to make new wars that produce new ‘enemies’, which are, in turn, used as an alibi to justify further military and militarism, thus closing the vicious circle: If you want peace, prepare for peace, not war ”

Further according to Alternative Antimilitarista, “The consequences of these militarist policies of NATO, as well as Russia and its allies, are visible to the public in the form of systematic violation of human rights, destruction and persecution of civilians, extreme violence against women, the plundering of resources, and the exodus of millions of people in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, among other territories. We need to act consistently on the plight of refugees: a truly humane policy would immediately suspend these military maneuvers and invest their budget (the size of which is kept secret) in aid to shelter the population who are fleeing war.”

In the words of members of the anti-militarist network “We must build a culture of peace based on cooperation, justice and nonviolence, not deterrence and force.” “We must change the paradigm of defense and security defined militarily, that leads us again and again to war and violence. Instead, we need “human security” as defined by the United Nations Development Plans, which place at the center the defense of the rights of people and nature.” In this new paradigm, “armies and military structures are actually a threat to those rights and should be abolished and dismantled.”

The appeal was made public for the first time on 1 September and continues to collect new signatures. It will be updated and disseminated again in a second delivery shortly before the “climax” of the maneuvers, when Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO, Zaragoza comes to visit on 4 November to witness the “demonstration of land force”.

Click here for the list of organizations and groups that support the “Call to Action against the NATO maneuvers Trident Juncture 2015”