With an avalanche of anti-Russian propaganda in NATO-member and other European Union countries — and in the U.S. — the corporate media has created an obstacle to mobilizing antiwar actions. Nevertheless, the high economic cost of the war, including much higher prices for basic goods and shortages of energy sources, have created an opening that anti-imperialist and antiwar activists are starting to widen.
In Germany, the antiwar movement has called for coordinated actions in cities around the country Oct. 1. In Spain, at least one coalition has called, in its Madrid Platform, for mobilizing all parts of the Spanish state against NATO aggression and to get military bases out. In Austria, where a demonstration was held Sept. 24, the Coalition for Austrian Self-determination calls for returning Austria to its historic position of neutrality.
In the United States, the United National Antiwar Coalition has called for demonstrations the week of Oct. 15-22 in over 30 cities.
Massive demonstrations took place weeks ago in Prague, Czechia, and in many French cities opposing the war — and the costs of the war, which are borne by the European working class and poor, even more acutely than in the United States. Shortages of fuel for heating homes in winter and enormously higher prices for energy will inflict direct pain on the poorest sectors of Europe’s capitalist society.
While some of the mobilizations criticize the Russian decision to intervene militarily, their statements all emphasize the provocations of the U.S.-NATO side: moving military bases closer and closer to Russian borders since 1990; the NATO-backed civil war against the eastern regions of Ukraine since 2014; and the criminal nature of the sanctions imposed on Russia.
Initiative in Germany
Willi van Ooyen, a leading and veteran activist in the antiwar movement in Germany and a former parliamentary group leader of Die Linke in the Hessian state, explained why the movement called for Oct. 1 protests in a Sept. 24 interview in the German daily newspaper, Junge Welt: Because the government hiked the military budget with hardly any discussion, “we want to take action now and make it clear that military spending must not be allowed to continue to increase. Instead, more money is urgently needed to fight poverty and the climate crisis.
“An above-average number of smaller initiatives will take part in the protest. The number will grow in the coming days. If you want to be present in many places, it means that larger actions cannot be organized everywhere. Nevertheless, we are confident that we will make our demand for disarmament instead of rearmament clear. Especially since we will also be present on the streets in larger cities like Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt am Main or Munich.”
Regarding the high prices for food and energy, he said, “Huge sums are being spent on nonsensical armaments projects and ultimately on preparations for war — and not on what the people in this country actually need. We want to bring our peace policy demands into the current social protests. Our common theme is the unequal distribution of wealth.”
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