First International Conference Against US and NATO Military Bases

Report by Noel Martin

Karl Marx, in his introduction to his ground-breaking work Das Kapital, wrote: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it.”
      Congratulations, therefore, to Roger Cole and members of the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA) and the US Peace Council for jointly organising a highly successful peace conference to protest against, and call for the closure of, US and NATO military bases around the planet. For our part, the Communist Party of Ireland supports PANA in its efforts to promote peace throughout the world.
      Between 350 and 400 people attended the three-day event. As is to be expected from our “fake news” Irish media, not one national newspaper reported on this major peace event, with the honourable exception of the News Letter of Belfast.
      Up to thirty-five peace delegations from Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas attended and set out the negative issues caused by the US and other NATO military bases that they encounter in their countries daily. Thanks to the fact that the Irish state is ruled by reprobates who allow the EU and the United States to run our country unhindered, a number of peace activists, including Dr Akel Taqal, the lead Palestinian delegate, plus delegates reportedly from at least two other countries, Serbia and the Philippines, were banned from entering our country.
      Shamefully, for some unexplained reason the Palestinian delegate was replaced by a People Before Profit TD, who abused the peace agenda of the conference by launching a verbal attack on Syria and, particularly, Iran, which is surrounded by thirty-four US and NATO military bases. The United States, NATO, the EU and, to their shame, some on the left are deliberately undermining efforts at peaceful resolutions to sometimes complex issues, often related to the British and French redrawing of national borders before, during and after the First World War.
      Since the end of the Second World War the United States, which was for the greater part of its three hundred or so years of existence engaged in “resource wars” that were used to either assimilate entire countries or capture the legitimate natural resources of countries, is leading the call for more conflagrations on a worldwide scale. As my comrade Lynda Walker has pointed out, there are over a thousand US and NATO bases in eighty or more countries throughout the world. There are 181 in Germany, 122 in Japan, 83 in South Korea, and 50 in Italy. The Pentagon’s figure of 701 sites omits bases in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Niger, Kosovo and Kuwait and the secretive bases in Israel and Saudi Arabia.
      A map of Iran showing it to be surrounded by more than thirty-four US bases was projected onto the screen, with the comment, “See how close Iran puts their country to US bases. Such provocation!”
      The addition of the extremely serious degradation of the planet’s eco-system, in the grasping hands of international capitalism, has created the “perfect storm” of the very real possibility of the irreparable destruction of much of the planet, with the consequential deaths of millions of human beings, plus the animals, plants and other life forms so necessary to the continued development of the planet Earth.
      Not to be deterred, speaker after speaker outlined the negative conditions faced by their peoples and the positive changes that could be achieved if their US and NATO tormentors and exploiters were to be removed from their countries.
      The Democratic Republic of Congo, for instance, could feed all of Africa, and the national resources of the exploited countries, properly used, would end the unnecessary deaths through lack of well-equipped hospitals and lack of doctors and trained nursing staff. Progressive education facilities could ensure that the young people could have a future free from poverty.
      Indeed the trillions of dollars and euros etc. wasted on weapons of war and wanton destruction could all but end poverty on our planet. It is time to reactivate the noble peace cry: “Turn swords into ploughshares”!
      It was a pleasure, tinged with sadness, to listen to very articulate women and men from around the globe addressing the appreciative audience. The day after the conference it was another great pleasure to travel to Shannon Airport in the company of a group of members of Veterans for Peace and other American activists, plus several Japanese activists, highlighting the fact that Uncle Sam is continuing to build bases in Okinawa, against the wishes of the citizens and (it seems) the local authorities.
      There were also three of us Irish activists in the group. I was able to happily celebrate my seventy-eighth birthday in the knowledge that I had the honour to meet and seek peace in the company of great people.

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