Report on the anti-NATO protests in Madrid, June 2022

From United National Anti-War Coalition

Report on the anti-NATO protests in Madrid
by Joe Lombardo
28 June 2022

​During the days before the June 28 – 30 NATO Summit in Madrid, thousands rallied in the streets and meeting halls of the city in opposition to the NATO summit.  Protesters include people from the United States including Ann Wright, Paki Weiland of Code Pink and others, as well as myself and other members of UNAC.  People also came from many other countries around the world. Two meetings were held in Madrid to counter the NATO summit, one called the Peace Summit and the other the Counter Summit.  Both recognized the aggressive character of the US led NATO alliance.  The Peace Summit’s final resolution can be found here, and rough translation of the Counter Summit’s final resolution can be found here.

UNAC people attended both conferences and I spoke at the Counter Summit, which had the perspective of organizing an anti-imperialist movement and was organized mostly by Spanish, anti-imperialist organizations.  My talk can be found here.  [see below] UNAC also distributed a statement on NATO and Ukraine at the two meetings in both Spanish and English that can be found here and a flyer from the Sanctions Kill coalition with a bar code to a very important report on sanctions authored by members of the coalition. Spanish and English version of the flyer were distributed and the English version can be found here.

Following the alternative summits, thousands marched together in a common demonstration to protest the NATO summit. The demonstration was major news in Madrid and was in all the news stations and newspapers.  One paper dedicated its entire front page to the demonstration.  

The NATO summit is happening at the same time that the US/NATO proxy war against Russia is waging in Ukraine.  Therefore, it is important that the peace movement has shown a strong opposition to NATO at this time.  NATO is set to revise its orientation and to become more of a world-wide tool for US imperialism.  It is proposing a new alignment that will see it spread its aggression to Asia and around the world.  According to information that can be found on the NATO web site, they will project Russia and China as their main enemies.  This means that we will see further aggression against major military and nuclear powers that will put the entire world at risk.

Only a few months after the US/NATO defeat in Afghanistan, they choose to conduct another war, this time with Russia, a major nuclear power. They hoped to fill the coffers of the military industrial complex by providing weapons to fight a major war in Europe.  The US also hoped to break the strong trade relationship between Europe and Russia and Europe and China to allow US companies to fill the gap.  They also hoped that the strong sanctions applied against Russia would cause the Russian economy to collapse, causing a crisis in the country that might lead to collapse of the governement, and allow for a more US/NATO compliant government in Russia. Possibly this would foreshadow a breakup of Russia and allow the US and its NATO allies to more easily dominate it.  With a defeated Russia they hoped to be able to further surround China – which is challenging US hegemony around the world – and be in a better position to eventually defeat China, economically and militarily. 

But their plan is failing as Russia is winning the war in Ukraine. Instead of having its economy fail, it is the Western economies that are in trouble with both recession and inflation, while the ruble is rising against the dollar, the Russian economy is growing, and the Russian people are showing strong support for their country’s fight against the US/NATO proxy war in Ukraine.

But despite this reality, the NATO summit is set to double down and move forward with its aggression towards Russia and China.  This will affect every person on the planet in a negative way and so we must continue to build our movement to bring about a world of peace not war and to oppose the US/NATO aggression around the world.

No to NATO expansion!
No to NATO!
No weapons to Ukraine!
No to war!
Hands off China!

Note:  After the protests, members of UNAC attended a meeting of the No to NATO group where plans were started for future work including webinars, more focus on the climate crisis and a commitment to organize for the next NATO summit, which appears to be planned for 2023 in Lithuania.

Joe Lombardo’s talk to the NATO counter-summit in Madrid 2022

The United States is the main imperialist power in the world.  NATO is its partner in crime.  The US has its military in around 170 countries. It has about 20 times the number of foreign military bases as all other countries combined, and it has a military budget close to that of the rest of the world combined. The United States dominates the world, politically, economically, and militarily.  Any country that does not go along with its demands becomes a target of its propaganda, its military, its sanctions and its many regime-change organizations like the National Endowment for Democracy, USAID and others.  It has created numerous coups, military actions, and wars to further its goals.

The war in Ukraine is part of this plan, as it relates to Russia.  The US would like to see Russia become a country that will follow its dictates and eventually be used to help surround China, which is currently challenging US hegemony and is therefore the main enemy of the US today.

The war in Ukraine may have been avoided simply by saying that Ukraine will not be let into NATO, but the US and its European allies would not say that.

In a UNAC handout that I have with me, we outline the steps that led to this war, let me reiterate them here.

In 1991, the US promised to not move NATO east of Germany.  To date it has moved into 14 countries east of Germany.

In 2014 the US helped orchestrate a coup that overthrew the elected government of Victor Yanukovych, who they felt was too open to good relations with Russia.  That coup banned Yanukovych’s Party – The Party of Regions – the largest in the country.  The second largest party – the Communist Party – was also outlawed, but extreme right-wing Nazi movements were welcomed into the government.  The first act of the coup government was to ban the Russian language.

Protests against the coup spung up throughout the country.  In Odessa, the protesters were attacked by pro-Nazi gangs and 48 people were killed and hundreds wounded.  In many other places, the protests were put down, but in Crimea the people voted to leave Ukraine and return to Russia, which they had been part of for hundreds of years prior to the 1950’s.  Two sections of the Donbass in Eastern Ukraine declared their independence from Kiev and formed the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.

The right-wing and Nazi gangs formed into militias and tried to put down protests across Ukraine and instill fear to stop opposition to the coup government.  They were armed and trained by the US and its NATO allies, integrated into the Ukrainian military, and led a war against the independent areas of Donbass.  By the beginning of 2022, 14,000 people had been killed in that war.  The war in Ukraine started in 2014, not on February 24, 2022.

At the beginning of 2022, Ukraine started massing troops on the border of Donbass and increased the shelling of the independent areas.  Draconian sanctions were applied by the US and other NATO countries to try to bring down the Russian economy. At the same time Russia recognized the independent republics in Donbass, and when Ukrainian forces moved into these areas, Russia moved into Ukraine.

This conflict is not between Russia and Ukraine, it is a war between US/NATO and Russia, one in which they are using Ukraine as a proxy and are prepared to fight to the last Ukrainian. 

The US hoped that the war in Ukraine would weaken Russia.  They openly stated that their sanctions would destroy the Russian economy, which they thought would cause a crisis in the country and could lead to the end of the present government, and perhaps install one more friendly to the US and its interests.  They also understood that Europe and Russia and Europe and China were major trading partners and they hoped they could end that relationship to hurt both Russia and China and perhaps the US companies could move into that vacuum and make more profit.  The US also realized that a major war in Europe would be good for the US military industrial complex as it supplies weapons for the war. 

But the US plans have not worked out.  Russia is winning the war in Ukraine. They are achieving their stated goals of de-Nazifying the country, protecting the Russian populations especially in Donbass and they are gaining territory important to them with access from the mainland to the Black Sea. 

The Russian economy is growing while the Western economies are contracting. At the same time all the Western economies are experience high inflation even as they experience slow growth.  Europe will likely go into a major decline without the energy resources from Russia. 

In short, the US empire and hegemony is being challenged, and the war in Ukraine appears to be a pivotal point.  Every anti-imperialist, every socialist and every peace activist should take heart from this.  A new world is in the making.  It may come with some pain, but if we want to be able to deal with climate change, militarism, white supremacy, and the other evils that effect our world, we should embrace it.

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