Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

European antiwar protests gain strength as NATO’s Ukraine proxy war escalates – The Grayzone

Posted by M. C. on March 3, 2023


Europeans are storming the streets in unprecedented numbers to protest NATO’s proxy war in Ukraine and their own declining living standards. The Grayzone has covered demonstrations and interviewed protest leaders in several countries since the war erupted.

Athens, Greece –– This February 21, several thousand Greeks filled Athens’ streets to denounce NATO and the United States in the wake of Antony Blinken’s Greece visit, where the US Secretary of State applauded the Mediterranean country for being amongst the first European countries to support Ukraine, thus leading to way for “the support of democracy.”

It was just one action among many protest actions across the continent as the NATO proxy conflict in Ukraine approached  its first anniversary. European citizens are growing agitated as their leaders appear set on extending the war at least another year: they’ve approved several rounds of sanctions on Russia, provided billions of euros in assistance to Ukraine, and have agreed to train thousands of Ukrainian soldiers

Such actions have blighted living standards for average Europeans. Although the continent has avoided a widely feared energy collapse thanks to successful efforts to secure energy alternatives and unseasonably warm weather, European governments had already prepared for possible power outages and mobile blackouts earlier this winter due to the severing of Russian energy.

As the war escalates, so too are protest actions in core NATO states, from Greece to Britain to the Czech Republic to France and Spain. The recent wave of demonstrations builds on sizable displays of opposition to the war throughout the winter in cities from Chișinău to Paris to Brussels to Tirana to Vienna.

In Germany, where Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has declared that “we are at war with Russia” amid reports that the US military destroyed the country’s Nord Stream pipeline connecting it to Russia’s gas supply, demonstrations against the NATO proxy war are surging as well.

The rising tide of protests across the continent appear to have have rattled European leaders, triggering police repression, demagogic denunciations, and even prosecution of protest leaders for publicly criticizing their governments’ military support to Ukraine.

Unlike Western mainstream media, which has treated the protests with contempt when it has not ignored them altogether, The Grayzone attended several protests and interviewed the labor and antiwar activists who have mobilized their fellow citizens against NATO’s proxy war.

Popular resistance builds in Europe as leaders grovel to Washington

By the arrival of the February 24, 2023 anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a growing number of German citizens had begun to bristle at their government’s submissive attitude to Washington. Not only had Chancellor Olaf Scholz acceded to US demands to send Leopard tanks to the Ukrainian military, setting up what could be the first confrontation between German and Russian armor since World War Two, he seemed studiously disinterested in determining who was responsible for destroying the Nord Stream pipelines.

An antiwar manifesto authored by Sahra Wagenknecht of the Die Linke (Left) party and feminist writer Alice Schwarzer has provided a vehicle for German outrage at their government’s military support for Ukraine. Calling on Scholz to “stop the escalation in arms deliveries” and “lead a strong alliance for negotiations,” the open letter had garnered over 700,000 signatures at the time of publication.

On February 25, Wagenknecht and Schwarzer summoned supporters of the manifesto to rally in central Berlin. Over 15,000 protesters, and possibly many more, heeded their call, flooding Brandenburg Gate to hear speeches by the two authors and speakers including Jeffrey Sachs and former German Brigadier General Eric Vad.

Wagenknecht framed the delivery of German tanks to Ukraine against the ghosts of country’s past, proclaiming, “We don’t want German tanks firing on the great grandchildren of Russian women and men. This is complete historical amnesia! Have you forgotten German history?”

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