Killing in the name of or the story of two (NATO?) states
Gemensam text och antimilitaristisk affisch av anarkistiska grupperna SödrⒶ Klubben (Malmö) och Acte (Aten)
This is the story of two very different nation-states. This is the story of Greece and Sweden through the lens of their participation (GR) and pending membership (SWE) correspondingly in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). At the end of the day, it is a very common story of dominance, exploitation, war, blood, and profit. Comparing and relating two extremely and historically different state paradigms (Greece representing the poor global south whereas Sweden representing a role model of an affluent Bretton Woods, post-war, western wet dream state) in relation to a significant international military treaty, such as the NATO, might provide us with valuable explanations and conclusions about current geopolitical and interstate conflicts as well as the future of global capitalism. We conclude this story with our political imperatives.
NATO: a transatlantic terror alliance
Initially, NATO constituted a political alliance, but with the war in Korea in the 1950s, NATO evolved into a military structure with the US in the lead. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization obliges all its members to share the risks, responsibilities, and privileges of a collective defense system - a concept that lies at the heart of the alliance. The primary goal of the Treaty was to create an agreement of mutual assistance to confront the risk of the Soviet Union expanding their control over Eastern Europe and other parts of the continent. NATO’s actions aimed to block soviet interference in the western economic and political sphere of interest and to create a political and military union of states, under the strong influence of the US and unified under western hegemonic political doctrines (neoliberalism, real politic, national sovereignty, parliamentarism and collective defense).
In June 2021, NATO published the "NATO 2030" report which describes “an ambitious agenda to make sure NATO remains ready, strong and united for a new era of global competition […] NATO needs to adopt a more global approach to tackle global challenges to Atlantic security”. Strangely enough, NATO's “Atlantic security” refers nowadays to China, a country that we all know lies closer to the Pacific Ocean. During this instable, aggressive, and polarized world order, Sweden decided to break their pretentious “neutrality” and apply for membership to NATO. The application of Sweden to join NATO constitutes another episode in the NATO-Russian conflict. Let us put a magnifying glass on both Greece and Sweden.
Greece: the nationalist ugly duckling... that remains ugly!
Greece, being the border of the EU but also due to its geographical position in the south-eastern Mediterranean region, consistently has one of the highest levels of GDP for military equipment in the world. Even during the period of the intense global systemic economic crisis in the period 2008-2012, which had a strong impact on Greece, the procurement and upgrading of military infrastructure was unaffected. An additional role for the justification of these expenses, apart from the supranational alliances that the Greek state participates in, has been played by the antagonism with neighboring Turkey, among others, for the domination of the Aegean archipelagos. All the above lead to the intensifying efforts for social acceptance of the role of the army and the structure of an image that hides the brutality of this mechanism. For example, the connection between the military and universities is more evident than ever. Funding for research projects and the establishment of program studies that strengthen the development of new military and control technologies within the Greek territory are portrayed by state propaganda as a support to academic research and the market in general.
Greece's participation in NATO has been going on for several years now (member since 1952) and the imprints of this membership are very evident. Indirectly as well as directly, the Greek state has participated in the bloodshed around the planet. The number of NATO bases located within Greek territory, apart from their upgrading (to the extent that some can "host" nuclear warheads), is significantly increasing. Transnational military training exercises are carried out at an intensive rate, they are hyped by the mass media and aim to strengthen the general climate of national uplifting and unity.
Sweden: the little red riding hood that married the wolf (NATO)
The Swedish state and capital have historically earned enormous amounts of money through weapon production. Since the Russian invasion to Ukraine, the Swedish weapon industry is booming as the Swedish government stands by Ukraine. Only Saab's (one of the main defense industries in Sweden) sales are expected to grow 15% in 2023. At the same time, defense industry bosses in Sweden are lobbying for reforming the country’s strict military materials export laws to help local companies reap maximum advantages from the Nordic state’s impending NATO membership. The long-lasting so-called Swedish neutrality and pretentious non-alignment as well as the Swedish ‘democracy criterion’ for granting arms-export licenses were all forgotten by the Swedish state to be “protected” by the NATO alliance. The national internal gears go high for the Swedish state to be accepted into the warmth of the NATO family. On one hand, the Swedish state is trying to act as some kind of champion of human dignity on the international arena, while on the other hand it is running the weapon industry's errands by buying from it and supporting the industry's export of its goods.
The Swedish weapons industry, with SAAB and Bofors in the forefront, has flourished with shares that are increasing steeply upwards in value. It is lucrative with war and the feeling of insecurity - who would have thought... This industry, which makes money from people's suffering and death, is economically only getting stronger and stronger by states' conflicts, and with the Swedish state's NATO ambitions in the form of an increased military budget of at least 2% of GDP (a guideline within NATO), the cogs of the military-industrial complex are being put to work increasingly clearer. The Swedish state's hunger for NATO membership has brought an increased military budget, leading to more money in the coffers for the arms industry, which in turn means more weapons and ultimately human suffering. People are dying and the merits of capitalism remain stable.
Our view on militarism (Greek, Swedish, international), our approach to the army, whether it is national, professional, or supranational, is clear: we will never become cogs to their intra-dominion antagonisms, we have no quarrel with those who simply live on the other side of any state border or with those exploited and oppressed by states and capital worldwide.
Insecure "security" for many, secured money for a few
Internally, the Greek NATO membership as well as the pending Swedish NATO application are presented by both states and almost the whole political spectrum as a guarantee to citizen and state safety/security. The hegemonic narrative about safety is dominated by increasing militarism and profits for the weapon industry.
We have nothing to do with these plans. Neither the Greek and Swedish states' interests nor international capitalism represent us or care for our safety or well-being. The importance of superstate alliances for our safety is insignificant to us. No state is safe for us. Our safety lies in solidarity, mutual help, and direct support to each other. During a war between sovereign nation states or when a superstate alliance is formed, it is the weapon industry's interests and the safety/security of the construction industry (which profits from disaster reconstruction) and sovereigns that are considered, protected, and favorited. The national unity illusion establishes social peace for the ruling class, puts class differences out of sight, and ensures economic and political profits for the elite.
A membership in NATO shows in a material and symbolic way that the Swedish and the Greek states wish to partake from a more advanced position, in the global power play and secure profits spheres of interest and unimpeded land for capitalist activity. But it is us who experience and suffer from the consequences, either with blood, migration, or poverty. At the same time as Sweden applies to NATO and Greece provides NATO with territory for military bases, the inflation skyrocks and our incomes are ripped off once again. Be sure that even in Russia and in Ukraine, it is the underprivileged who pay for the war. Even the sanctions against the Russian state influences common people and not the Russian political and economic elite. The rest of us must pay for increasing energy, food, and petrol prices. This is what they mean by "safety".
Going through 2023, the reality on every level of our lives becomes more and more unbearable leading to an incessant impoverishment. Amidst a decade of back-to-back crises (financial, health, political, energy, climate), states of 'emergency' are now a permanent “new” normal: war on terror, economic instability, health alert, interstate conflicts, increasing militarization, energy crises, food shortages, management of “undesired populations” etc.
In the new normal imposed on us by states and bosses, we are asked to pay the costs of these crises so that the economy can be “restarted” and “growth” may return. We are called to save banks and energy giants from bankruptcy, to support production and markets, to embrace the sales of weapons of mass destruction in the name of economic and geopolitical stability. We are called to support the survival of a system that exploits and oppresses us both in times of growth and times of crisis.
To maintain social peace, the Greek and the Swedish states perform charity policies (e.g., fuel pass, electricity subsidies). Even with the bait of “social welfare”, the historical role of the state is to exploit, to oppress, and to suppress any potential threat to it. That is why we stand against the logic of delegation through elections and against right-wing and left-wing administrators. No reform of the existing can act as a liberating force for the underprivileged.
There is nothing that unites the exploiters and oppressors, whatever their ethnicity, with the exploited and the oppressed. On the opposite, everything separates us, our class position, the ability and ways of survival, the fact that for us the prospect of destroying the existing world and building another way of living is the only positive and hopeful political project. We do not forget that “war is the extension of politics by other means”. Armed conflict is the consequence of various other conflicts that have already occurred (economic, political, nationalist propaganda). That is why there is no side in any interstate war to defend and we do not recognize any state calling itself victim that we must support.
That is why we fight in times of “peace” and war, against every state and every form of oppression and exploitation, without any submission to national unity and delegation to leftist or right-wing “saviors". We deny serving in their armies, we fight against the military and the war industry. We are sabotaging war preparations and national wars. We refuse to kill each other for the interests of capital and the glory of any nation state. We show our solidarity with all conscientious objectors. We continue the social and class struggles, against militarism, the destruction of nature, patriarchy, until total liberation.
SödrⒶ Klubben & Acte
SödrⒶ Klubben & Acte