NATO: Seventy Years of War, Terror and Political Reaction


Seventy years ago, on April 4, 1949, the Atlantic Pact was signed in Washington, founding NATO. This Pact was established by a coalition of 12 Western imperialist and capitalist countries, led by the United States, as an organisation of military encirclement, aggression, attack and war against the Soviet Union and the people’s democracies.

NATO was conceived since its formation, six years before the Warsaw Pact was established, as an offensive tool of the imperialist camp, which sought to rebuild its forces under US leadership, to push forward its aggressive policy in all countries. This organisation clearly had a main objective: the destruction of socialism and the Soviet Union.

NATO has never been an organisation aimed at “preserving peace and security”.

The De Gasperi government signed the Atlantic Pact and, after a tumultuous debate and broad popular protests, the Italian parliament ratified this act with the law of August 1, 1949. The Vatican explicitly supported it. Since then, the territory of our country has been transformed by the United States and NATO into an integrated system of more than one hundred air, naval and land bases, logistics systems, communication, research centres and spy systems. It is a deadly apparatus of war and terror over which the Italian people cannot exercise any control, as it is completely in the hands of the Yankee imperialists.

The USA, through NATO and directly, has made our country a platform for launching military aggressions directed against other oppressed peoples and countries, in Africa, in the Middle East, in Eastern Europe, and against other imperialist powers, such as Russia and China.

All this is with the enduring complicity and subordination of the Italian bourgeoisie, which has seen “Atlantic loyalty” as a way to defend its power and its class privileges.

The consequences of the Italian participation in NATO are very serious. Belonging to this military bloc has heavily conditioned the Italian political framework, preventing the advent of any government as the authentic expression of the interests and aspirations of the working class and the popular masses.

NATO has always been the instrument of enslavement of our country to the USA, the instrument with which the life necessities of the working masses have been sacrificed to the interests of limited groups of property owners, opposed to any development of democracy in Italy.

For seventy years our country has been in a state of highly limited sovereignty, subjected to continuous US meddling, interference, pressure and violent reactions. From time to time, it has been used as a border country, an aircraft carrier, a pawn against other countries and peoples, according to the strategic and tactical objectives of the United States.

No popular sovereignty, no freedom, no internal and external independent politics was possible with the adherence to the Atlantic Pact. The economic structure itself is strongly conditioned by belonging to the Yankee war machine which, together with the dollar, is a pillar for maintaining the declining US world hegemony. There are “secret” protocols to the treaty for adherence to NATO, never revealed to the Italian people, which impose certain conditions of servitude on our country.

The role that the United States and NATO, with the cooperation of the Italian secret services, played with the “strategy of tension” and the anti- people subversion, which caused political massacres and assassinations, is very well known. It is a strategy aimed at destabilising the political situation and paving the way for reactionary governments and laws, in order to block the advance of the workers and communist movement.

A concrete example of the terrorist activity of NATO is the creation, in almost all member countries, of clandestine organizations (such as Gladio), parallel structures, weapons depositories, etc., with which subversive plans, attacks and sabotage, assassinations, etc. were organised to prevent the development of the workers and popular opposition.

With the end of the “cold war” against the revisionist USSR, NATO expanded to the east to encircle Russia and “contain” China, turning into a “global military organisation” with the largest military spending and the greatest atomic arsenals.

This war machine, in which 30 imperialist and capitalist countries participate, illegally intervenes “outside its area” in Afghanistan, Libya, the Balkans, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Latin America, etc. and with its new military doctrine it is ready to use nuclear weapons as a “first strike”.

While this alliance, founded on war, has redefined its role, the number of bases and troops present in our country has not decreased, but increased. In Ghedi and Aviano, powerful US nuclear weapons continue to be hosted, undergoing modernisation.

Italy has thus been transformed from a border country to a strategic rear of NATO and, under the pretext of the war on terrorism (fuelled by the US, as we have seen in Syria and elsewhere), society has become increasingly militarised and repressive. On the political level, NATO promotes the reactionary transformation of the state, with an increase in the executive power. The P2 plan, Atlantic lodge, continue with other characters and means.

From an economic point of view, the increasing costs for the functioning of NATO have led to a continuous increase in military spending, to the detriment of public spending on health, education, pensions and other social purposes. Trump’s diktat on the doubling of military spending and on F-35s was readily accepted by Italian governments, including the one in office, contributing to worsening the living conditions of the working class and popular masses.

For seventy years, all successive governments in Italy, whether centre- right, centre-left or populist, have been vassals of NATO; they supported all its criminal plans and war operations, in flagrant violation of article 11 of the bourgeois-democratic Constitution, which proclaims the repudiation of war as a means of resolving international disputes. Today the Northern League and the Five Star Movement, which disguise themselves as “nationalist,” are the first to sell our country at auction to the USA, the EU and China.

But if the bourgeoisie and its servants have chosen to stand under the NATO umbrella in order to shore up the interests of the capitalists and the privileged and parasitic strata of society, the workers’ and people’s opposition to NATO has never ceased.

In the 1950s the movement of the Partisans of Peace was developed whose purpose was to ban atomic weapons and reject NATO (six million of signatures were collected). During the 1960s there were many demonstrations of struggle for peace and the anti-imperialist movements. In the 1970s, the struggle against NATO coincided with the protest and mobilisation against State massacres. In the 1980s the popular mobilisation against the installation of US missiles in Comiso, Sicily, was particularly important. In the 1990s the fight against the aggression against Yugoslavia developed, which began from our country with the support of the government led by the Social Democrats.

In recent decades there has been a continuous mobilisation of social, political and local organisations: for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, against the expansion of the US bases of Vicenza, Sigonella, Camp Darby and Pisa, against military enslavement of Sardinia, against the MUOS US military radar system in Sicily, against the increase in military spending. The fight against TAP [Trans Adriatic Pipeline] also objectively has an anti-imperialist content.

Today, NATO is not as compact as it was yesterday. Inter-imperialist tensions and contradictions, the relative decline and growing US unilateralism weaken it, while in Europe there are large movements against it. We must be conscious of the fact that these same contradictions, the struggle for a new division of the world, aggravate the dangers of new large-scale military conflicts, increase nuclear proliferation, make new crimes against humanity impending. The whole world, including our country, is being driven by imperialism along the road to reaction and the war of extermination.

For this reason, on behalf of the millions and millions of workers and laborers who want peace, we cry out: No to the policy of war, Italy out of NATO, no to military operations of the EU and the European Army!

Dismantle the US / NATO military bases in Italy and around the world, dissolve NATO and all imperialist warmongering alliances!

Absolute prohibition of atomic weapons and the destruction of existing ones!

No to rearmament, drastic reduction in military spending and increase in social spending!

We will not pay for your crisis; we will not pay for your wars!

No to military aggression and foreign intervention in the internal affairs of other peoples!

War-makers out of power! Withdraw all troops sent abroad.

Death to fascism and imperialism, long live the international solidarity of the proletarians and oppressed peoples! We call on all genuine communists, revolutionaries, anti-imperialists and progressives, all lovers of peace, to join forces and participate en masse in the assemblies and mobilisations against NATO that will take place in the coming days, as well as at the demonstrations for April 25, the celebration of the liberation from Nazi-fascism and for May Day, the international day of solidarity of the proletariat, extending and strengthening the fight against the threats of war, political reaction and the capitalist offensive, to open up a perspective of revolutionary rupture with the dying capitalist imperialist system.

We insist on the need to involve the workers and trade union movement, the movement of women and youth in this great front against war and militarization, for freedom and social progress.

We are convinced that the workers and peoples movement against NATO and war can be widely developed, on clear anti-imperialist grounds, without relying on one imperialism to fight against another, but trying to develop ties with all the movements for peace, democratic, internationalist, anti-imperialist and revolutionary movements around the world.

April 2019

Translated from the Italian by George Gruenthal.

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