NATO in Newport 2014
On 4th and 5th September 2014 the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport will be hosting this year’s North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) summit.
A military alliance that consists of 28 member states across North America and Europe, NATO was originally established in 1949 as a Western counter power to the Soviet Union, ostensibly due to anxieties about the spread of communism. Since the collapse of the USSR it has found meaning in its existence through ‘humanitarian intervention’. Humanitarian intervention by NATO doesn’t mean, food, water and safer spaces for vulnerable people around the world. Instead, humanitarian intervention means military acts of war. Supposedly bombing, displacement and violence is to quash conflicts, and result in peace. Despite history repeatedly showing us that such actions only exacerbates conflict, creating more victims and escalating suffering.
The selection of where these ‘humanitarian interventions’ are prioritised points to an imperialist agenda, as they are directly linked to the strategic, economic and political benefit of the elite of NATO member countries. Opportunistically using conflicts with the purported intention of ending them as a mask to further their interests. This selective interventionism has led to criticism of failure to intervene in places of less importance, often where vastly greater atrocities are being committed. Sometimes these inconvenient atrocities are not just being ignored, but have NATO complicity, if not by members themselves such as Turkey’s atrocities against the Kurds in the 1990’s, then their client states like Indonesia’s invasion of East Timor.
The most recent ‘intervention’ was in Libya, where numerous war crimes were committed; from bombing built up areas included media outlets and civilian homes to supporting rebels that delivered collective punishment to whole villages for supposedly “supporting the Gaddafi regime”. Libya is the country with the most oil in Africa; low in sulphur and close to European markets. After the invasion, NATO countries took oil from Libya as payment for their services.
NATO’s role in the world is to serve the interest of the same elite that has caused and is profiteering from the economic crisis; the 1%, the capitalist class. They get rich through our poverty and are waging class war against their own populations in addition to the war they are waging globally.
NATO is the long arm of capitalism, expropriating non-renewable energy resources where it likes, and making sure that other great powers that could challenge the US’s hegemony don’t get their hands on them. Natural resources are a major factor in NATO’s decisions to invade countries. This is to protect the wealth of the capitalists that are making a lot of money out of oil, despite climate change threatening life on earth as we know it.
It has been more than two decades since the summit was last held in the UK, Gwent police have already started the hype, preparing for crowds of over 15,000 and scaremongering about cyber attacks, dubbing the summit as:
“the biggest security event the UK has ever hosted” that might explain why they have been staging an overblown terror attack training exercise and approaching people in the street.
In these austere times, which disproportionately affect the most vulnerable in our society the hardest, government funding to NATO is grotesque, and the costs of this summit is alarming. Food poverty is a public health crisis with many people going hungry, cuts in basic services a local level are staggering, Newport itself is set for £34 million in cuts by 2017.
CND have stated they will be protesting, as have Stop the War, a large group of people from across the political spectrum of Socialists, Greens, Anarchists, Welsh Nationalists, all kinds of anti-Militarists and many others have begun organising as NO NATO Newport and holding regular open organising meetings.
There have already been actions opposing the NATO summit in Newport. A group known as Stop NATO Cymru, part of the Anarchist Action Network has launched their statement and are holding open meetings in south Wales and in locations across the UK, with a convergence in London on 22nd and 23rd February.