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(en) Slovenia: Resistance against NATO in Slovenia

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sat, 2 Nov 2002 10:04:09 -0500 (EST)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

On November 21 and 22, the NATO-summit will take place in
Prague. As the preparation and mobilisation for the protests and
actions in Prague are in full swing, active resistance is
growing also in Slovenia, one of the candidate states for NATO
membership. From 7th to 10th November demonstrations and actions
against NATO and for peace will take place in Ljubljana. Some
background information, description of resistance activities,
and a call for support.


The main topics of the Prague NATO-summit will be the so-called
"war on terrorism" and expansion of NATO. Seven Central and East
European states, including Slovenia, are expected (and
expecting) to be invited to become members of NATO. NATO
membership is a favoured project of Slovenia's political elite
who have invested much energy and money into its accomplishment.
Almost the entire class of contemporary Slovene politicians,
regardless of their various positions in the ruling coalition or
its opposition, has joined forces to accomplish the "mission" of
NATO accession. NATO membership is presented as an integral part
of the "democratisation" and (re)integration with "Western

For a year or so the pro-NATO propaganda machine has been
working full blast, abundantly backed by government financing.
It has produced piles of lies, it has manipulated and concealed
data, and it has tried to silence and discredit critical voices
by accusing them of nostalgia for communism and Yugoslavia, or
of right-wing extremism. Two especially infamous moves were the
newsletter Natopis and the blacklist of NATO critics. The
propaganda newsletter was sent by the government to every
household enlightening citizens about the unquestionably
magnificent advantages of NATO membership. The blacklist, drawn
up by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, contained the names of
journalists and other people (mostly dissident intellectuals)
who had written critically of NATO and Slovenia's plans to join
it. Pro-NATO propaganda has increasingly been invading the
autonomy of the university as well: various faculties have
hosted lectures by NATO representatives and domestic NATO
advocates with a clearly propagandistic purpose. Recently we
were shocked to see how low NATO propaganda can go ... in some
primary schools we discovered an invitation for an art
competition for children aged 6-15 on the theme of "a safer
world". In the little story accompanying this invitation the
children are talking about NATO as of a hero which would act
against any one that would dare to throw a bomb on any one of
the states joined in it and as we (Slovenia) will become its
friends it will build a safer world for all of us.

Along with this aggressive propaganda campaign, the ruling class
also made some legislative changes which removed the "obstacles"
to NATO membership. For example, the Defence Law was changed so
that it now makes possible the involvement of the Slovene Army
in military operations outside of Slovenia. This corresponds to
the duty of NATO members to contribute to all its activities,
including military operations out-of-area, which lately seem to
have become NATO's main purpose. In addition, the Maritime Code
was changed as to abolish a ban on nuclear-powered ships and
ships carrying nuclear weapons in the territorial waters of
Slovenia. This is perceived by many as a first step towards the
establishment of military bases and the siting of nuclear
weapons in Slovenia, which the public vehemently opposes.

However, the (not very sophisticated) government propaganda has
not succeeded in convincing the public to support NATO
membership. On the contrary, public support has been falling
steadily while resistance is growing. The latest opinion poll
(September 27) showed only 38.5% of the population is in favour
and 39.4% against, with 22% undecided. The most important
reasons for this reluctance are probably the lack of clear
answers from the government on what exactly the responsibilities
of Slovenia as a NATO member will be (costs, co-operation in
military actions around the world, military bases, nuclear
weapons stationing), as well as increasing disagreement with the
foreign policy of NATO's dominant member, the USA. Recently an
article on the lack of public support for the government NATO
project with views of government representatives and critical
intellectuals was published in the Washington Times, available
at http://www.geocities.com/recinenato/wary.html.

Some journalists and prominent intellectuals have also expressed
their wariness of NATO in critical articles published in the
mainstream media. They publicly voice their doubts or openly
oppose the government?s NATO project, and highlight the
totalitarian character of the government?s pro-NATO campaign.
Two important books also marked the public debates: Ne NATO -
mir nam dajte ("Not NATO - give us peace / give us a break"), a
collection of essays and analyses by twelve well-known Slovene
intellectuals critical of NATO, and the civic handbook NATO -
pro and con, an exhaustive presentation of supporting and
opposing arguments.



This is an outline of the situation in which the topic of NATO
and militarisation was taken on by some existing activist
networks, and in which new groups and networks were formed. The
common starting point is the rejection of NATO on an ethical
basis: we see existence, functioning and expansion of NATO as a
part of the logic of war that underlies the system of globalised
capitalism and ensures the maintenance of a gravely unjust world
order. We regard NATO as one of the instruments of the global
neoliberal politics of coercion and exploitation of human beings
and the natural environment in the interests of the global
ruling class. We believe that this kind of globalisation and the
world order it is producing are extemely unjust and destructive
and we try to contribute to the global resistance to this
process, and to creating alternatives. Our struggles are at this
moment centred around the topic of NATO and militarism in
general. Among many other things we find it especia lly appaling
that in its new strategic concept (1999) NATO ascribed to itself
the "right" to intervene militarily in conflicts outside the
territories of its members, according to its own judgement as to
which crisis could "affect the security" of its members, even
without a UN mandate. In practice this means arbitrary military
interventions throughout the whole world where NATO members, and
especially the USA as the dominant power in NATO, want to
protect or assert their interests. Furthermore, NATO's new
military doctrine approved in 2000 allowes for the possible use
of nuclear weapons in attacks. We believe that such an
organisation is a permanent obstacle to peace and a permanent
threat to the environment and the existence of the planet as a
whole. It should be dissolved and not expanded!

To express our opposition to NATO and to further encourage the
evident growth of critical stance to the NATO membership in the
population, we have carried out many actions and we are planning
some more. Here is an outline of some actions:

Organised resistance began in October 2001 with placard posting
and letter and e-mail sending actions expressing the opposition
to war in Afganistan and to NATO, and specifically Slovenia's
membership in NATO. As the placards were available on an
internet page, many people around Slovenia posted them on their
own initiative in their home towns. These actions found some
resonance in the mainstream media and also at the top of the
political class: Minister of Foreign Affairs Rupel expressed his
indignation over the anti-NATO campaign at several press
conferences, especially stressing he "has never polished Bush's
shoes", referring to one of the slogans saying: Slovene
politicians are ecstatic over polishing Bush's bloody cowboy

In March 2002, an action was carried out at the Faculty of
Social Sciences (Ljubljana) on the night before the visit of
Cristopher Bennett, the editor of NATO Review, who was to hold a
lecture about the NATO to the students. Activists wrote graffiti
on the walls all around the faculty and hung three banners with
strong anti-NATO messages on the glass tower of the faculty
(pictures at
http://www.geocities.com/recinenato/recinenatonafdv.html). The
action was accompanied by a public statement and a letter to
Bennett which can be read at

On the evening of the celebration of the people's uprising
against Nazi occupation (April 27, 1941), 40 people with a
banner indicating a parallel between an infamous Slovene Nazi
collabolator and the present minister of foreign affairs,
managed to get inside the hall of the cultural centre where the
observance was held and protested against the way Minister of
Foreign Affairs Rupel imposed himself as the official speaker
and abused the celebration by propagandising for NATO, stating
among other things that NATO had grown out of the antifascist

An anarchist group organised the first Maydays in Slovenia which
had its height on May 1 with demonstrations in front of American
Embassy and the Governmental building where NATO and domestic
political oligarchy were strongly condemned.

In May a pamphlet called Let's recycle Natopiss - parodying
Natopis ("Natopaper"), a newsletter sent by the government to
every household - was published and distributed. It exposed
government's lies about the costs of Slovenia's membership in
NATO and other disputable claims.

In June about 140 banners with anti-NATO slogans were displayed
on all major road bridges over the highways. Some banners with
local content (for example: Maribor won't join NATO!) were hung
over local roads.

Shortly after the Slovenia's Independence Day in June a huge
banner (15,5m x 4,5m) was hung out from the tower of the
Ljubljana castle, a very visible central point in the city. For
some three hours the message Ne NATO - mir nam dajte (double
meaning: Not NATO - give us peace / Not NATO - give us a break)
could be seen from the city in a delightful summer day (pictures
and an e-postcard at
Recently this banner has been hung in two other towns, Koper and

In July a group of young anarchists living and creating their
political resistance in the squat Molotov, which also offered a
space for many other activists and groups, experienced a violent
repression. Thanks to determined resistance by the squatters and
the mobilisation of a solidarity network the squat still exists
today. Most probably the reason for this repression action was
the central role of the squat in the resistance against NATO
(more at http://www.acmolotov.org).

The hot and active summer was concluded with the No Border Camp
in the last days of August. The main topics were migration,
ecology, civil disobedience, but there was also an anti-NATO
component including planning of further resistance and carrying
out some actions (materials distribution, anti-NATO concert).

In autumn the materials presenting the arguments against NATO
and Slovenia's membership (the English version of one leaflet
with these arguments can be read at
http://www.geocities.com/recinenato/nonatoleaflet.html) are
being distributed in major towns with the accompainment of
street theatre, drummers and jugglers. A recent visit of NATO
lecturers at the Faculty of Social Sciences was interrupted by
singing, drumming and a speech denouncing this kind of misuse of
the university facilities for purposes that have nothing to do
with higher education and the development of knowledge. Seve ral
protest letters were sent out, condemning breaches of university
autonomy by military propaganda, expressing opposition to
militarisation of the university in general, and protesting
against the militarisation of the Port of Koper ("visits" of
NATO military ships - also nuclear-powered ones - in the port
are getting more and more frequent). When the state president
hosted a NATO delegation in the beginning of October, the
Network of Associations, Groups and Individuals for Peace sent
him a public letter asking for a meeting with the NATO
delegation in order to present views opposed to NATO - held by a
significant segment of the Slovene population - and the
alternative of neutrality. There was no reaction to this
request, but later a letter from the president's office
suggested that the claims of the Network for Peace about the
prevalence of support for neutrality of Slovenia were misleading
and that the President has always pleaded for a discussion on
the basis of argume nts.

The activism has also an internet component: numerous webpages
have been created. The central information point about
activities against NATO, and including many political analyses
and commentaries is http://www.geocities.com/recinenato/.

Other important pages (unfortunately most of them are only in







At present the energies of active and critical people are
concentrated in the preparation and mobilisation for
demonstrations against NATO and for peace that will take place
in Ljubljana between the 7th and 10th of November. They will be
created and carried out by many groups and individuals from
different spheres of society so that they will be a very
colourful and widely dispersed event. They will include street
parties, political-artistic spectacles, concerts, street theatre
and performances, direct actions and a march for peace on
November 9.

A clear NO! from the people of Slovenia to the invitation to
join NATO would demonstrate to NATO and its dominant member the
USA that they are not irresistible, that there actually exist
people who do not want their country to be incorporated into
their global military machine and do not want to bend to their
economic, political and military dominance. Additionally, this
NO! would show people in other countries endangered by NATO's
expansion plans that it is possible to say NO and that there do
exist alternatives outside of NATO. This could encourage them to
refuse the invitation themselves as well.



We believe that our struggle against the NATO is a small but
nevertheless important contribution to the struggles against the
militarization of world politics and the logic of war.

We are asking you, resistant people all around the world, to
support our struggle! You can do this by
· sending us a statement of support and expressing your comments
and opinions at http://www.acmolotov.org/nonato/
· spreading our message into your activist network and if
possible to local and alternative media.
· joining us November 7-10 in Ljubljana at the demonstrations
against NATO and for peace.

Thank you for your solidarity!

Activist network of resistance against NATO and militarism

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