Thousands of people took to the streets of Madrid on June 26 to rally against the NATO summit taking place in the Spanish capital this week.
People from across Spain, Europe and the world attended the protest to oppose the expansion of NATO, which set the stage for the war in Ukraine. Demonstrators opposed intensification of the war and called for the US-led imperialist military alliance to be dissolved.
At the summit, NATO offered membership to two historically neutral countries — Sweden and Finland — which will give NATO an 800-mile border with Russia. NATO military officials also discussed increasing the number of troops on high alert from 40,000 to 300,000. Meanwhile, the United States and other NATO countries continue to pour weapons into Ukraine and increase sanctions on the Russian economy — measures which are ultimately paid for by the working class. These provocative actions represent a dangerous escalation of the war and must be opposed by all who desire peace.
The march took place after a two-day counter summit full of panels and workshops emphasizing the role of women in the antiwar movement, the connection between anti-imperialism and the movement to stop climate change, and the need for international working-class solidarity to stop the war.
Demonstrators at the march clearly recognized the threat posed by NATO aggression in the region and the world. Banners read, “Yes to peace! No to NATO!” and protestors chanted “NATO no! Bases out!” referring to the nearly 800 U.S. military bases littered throughout the world. Due to Article 5 of the NATO treaty, NATO’s presence extends to wherever the U.S. military is present, including Latin America, Africa, and Asia.
Pointing out NATO’s reach beyond the North Atlantic, organizer Jeff Bossuyt of the Belgium-Korea Friendship Organization, stated: “We want NATO, U.S. military bases and troops and nuclear weapons out of Belgium and out of Korea. Let us create a common international platform and program against U.S. imperialism [and] resist US-led war.”
A delegation of protestors from the People’s Democracy Party of South Korea echoed these demands and protested the attendance of South Korea’s pro-U.S. president Yoon Suk Yeol at the summit. Demanding the disbanding of NATO and the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the peninsula, PDP also called for the “fight for independence, democracy and reunification until a new society in which the people are the masters comes.”
The multigenerational character of the demonstration was also felt with seasoned peace and antiwar activists joining members of energetic youth movements, such as the World Federation of Democratic Youth. Marina Ortega, a member of WFDY and the Communist Youth Union of Spain, said that, “NATO is the armed wing of the European and American oligopolies.” She called on workers to unite and “fight for the sovereignty of all peoples, beyond [the current] system which destroys the working class.”
The Party for Socialism and Liberation is advancing five basic points that can serve to unite those who oppose U.S. imperialism and support peace. As the working class the world over continues to suffer the costs of the war, the international solidarity and high level of organization displayed at the Madrid counter summit and march show the way for the working class anti-imperialist antiwar movement.
Disband NATO! Bases out!