Wales could see its biggest protests in a generation as world leaders meet at the Celtic Manor in Newport for the NATO summit on 4-5 September to plan their war on the world.
NATO has become an ever-expanding interventionist bloc, operating on a global scale. The war on Afghanistan – and its continuing occupation - is just one example of the destabilising and destructive impact of NATO’s policies. NATO expansion has created a dangerous crisis in Ukraine which threatens a regional war.
NATO's nuclear armed alliance binds Europe to US foreign policy (including hosting US nuclear weapons in Europe) which is increasingly unpopular around the world. Indeed, through increasing militarization, the European Union is becoming an additional wing of NATO.
War is the enemy of the poor. Worldwide military spending amounts to US$1.7 trillion and 72% of this amount is spent by NATO member states. At this year's summit the US will be pressuring Western powers to increase their already huge military budgets at a time when poverty and inequality are soaring. The UK spends around £3 billion per year maintaining the Trident nuclear weapon system - and its replacement will cost £100 billion over its lifetime.
The world's 85 richest people have as much as the poorest 3.5 billion. Money into war is money out of our communities. In the UK, 500,000 people had to resort to food banks last year. None of the cuts would be necessary if the sums Britain spends on its military and armaments were invested in social need instead of the war machine.
This autumn the powerful will make their voices heard at the NATO summit. We must make sure that the voices of the millions around the world who need peace and justice are also heard.
We call on all those concerned about these developments to join us in Cardiff and Newport on 31st August and 1st September, for a two day counter summit, to debate, analyse and strategize for an effective opposition to NATO.
The counter summit will be part of a wider programme of events around the summit.
Sunday 31st August: Cardiff County Hall
9.45am to 10.20: registration
10.20-10.30: welcome from Cllr Sue Lent (Deputy Leader, Cardiff County Council
10.30 to 12.15 Plenary: No NATO expansion: end the drive to war and military spending
Speakers: Medea Benjamin (USA), Lindsey German (STW-UK), Joseph Gerson (US peace movement), Reiner Braun (German peace movement), Richard Boyd Barrett TD (Ireland), Jill Evans MEP (Plaid Cymru), Boris Kagarlitsky (Russian peace movement)
12.30 to 1.30 Workshops 1:
Ukraine and a new cold war –Boris Kagarlitsky (Russia), John Rees (STW), Erhard Crome, (Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Germany)
Afghanistan: the endless occupation - Karim Popal (Afghan network from Germany), Mitra Qayoom (Afghans for Peace)
Women and war – Cynthia Cockburn (Women in Black), Christiane Reymann (European Left), Kristine Karch (No to NATO)
Move the money: Disarmament for Development – Joseph Gerson (USA), Chris Baugh (PCS union), Pasquale Policastro (Poland),
1.30- 2.30: LUNCH – (including session by CAAT - Fuelling profit from conflict: NATO and the arms trade)
2.30 – 3.45: workshops 2:
Palestine – Rafeef Ziyadah (War on Want), Kevin Ovenden (STW)
Middle East: oil and empire – Ludo de Brabander (Belgium), Mamdoo Habashi (Egypt)
The new nuclear arms race - Arielle Denis (France), Dave Webb (CND), Jenny Clegg (CND)
Militarization and science – Stuart Parkinson (Scientists for Global Responsibility), Cornelia Mannewitz (German Peace Society - United War Resisters; Education and Science Workers' Union), Lucas Wirl (INES)
“Singing for peace” workshop with Cor Cochion (Red Choir)
3.45 – 4: tea break
4-5.30: Final plenary: Building the movement against NATO, war and militarization
Speakers: Margaretta D’Arcy/Edward Hogan (Irish peace movement), Jeremy Corbyn MP, Pippa Bartolotti (Wales Green Party), Kate Hudson (CND), Nick Harvey MP, Gabi Zimmer MEP (Chair of GUE/NGL), Chris Nineham (STW).
(italicised means unconfirmed)
Monday 1st September: Newport (Pill Mill, Courtybella Terrace, Pillgwenlly, Newport NP20 2GH)
Rolling programme 10am to 5pm
10.00 – 11.15: Combatting Drones – Chris Cole (Drones Campaign Network), Rafeef Ziyadah (War on Want), Christoph Marischka (Information Centre Militarization, Germany)
11.30 – 12.45: Militarisation of the EU - Roger Cole (Ireland), Tobias Pflueger (Die Linke and Information Centre Militarization, Germany)
1.00 -2.15: Iraq: war and crisis – Joe Lombardo (USA), Sami Ramadani (Iraqi Democrats)
2.30 – 3.45: Toward nuclear weapons abolition: Building for the NPT Review and beyond – Joseph Gerson (USA), Sean Morris (NFLA)
4.00 – 5.15: Close all military bases – Christine Schweitzer (WRI), Agneta Norberg (Sweden), Christoph Marischka (Information Centre Militarization, Germany)
5.30 – 7.00: Planning ahead: future joint actions for the European peace movement