No to war - No to NATO: an overview
- International working conference “No to war - No to NATO”, 17/18 October 2009, Berlin
War Resisters' International is part of the international coalition "No to war - no to NATO", calling for protests at the NATO summit in Baden Baden (Germany) and Strasbourg (France) on 3 and 4 April 2009.
This page gives an overview of resources available on the WRI website.
- No to war - no to NATO, international call for protests against the NATO summit, agreed in Stuttgart on 5 October 2008
- Shut down NATO, call for nonviolent action against the NATO summit on 4 April 2009 in Strasbourg.
Resumé of NATO-ZU/Shut down NATO-blockade - Nonviolence is possible!
In spite of huge police deployments we managed to nonviolently blockade on Saturday 4 April as planned, and without interference from the police. About 200 people from Germany, Belgium, France, Spain, Britain, Sweden, Finland and many other European countries participated in the blockade of NATO-ZU/Shut down NATO on the northern access road to the conference centre where NATO was meeting. Other groups of Block-NATO managed two more blockades in the centre of Strasbourg. All together more than 1,000 people participated in nonviolent blockades within the framework of Block-NATO.
Unfortunately, the blockade action were overshadowed by the violence at the demonstration in the harbour area of Strasbourg – violence, which originated from the police, but to a large degree also from parts of the participants in the demonstration. How much this was the work of police provocateurs masked as „black block“ is difficult to prove. But there are several witnesses testifying that there were provocateurs. The media reports were especially dominated by the burning Ibis hotel and the burning former customs station close to the Europe bridge. We see the massive use of tear gas by the police even without provocation against the demonstration as a „strategy of escalation“ from the side of the French police.
Also in the days before there were already violent confrontation between police and demonstrators, and escalations in the vicinity of the camp in the rue de la Ganzau, in which also NATO-ZU/Shut down NATO had its base.
In spite of all of this we think that our nonviolent action was successful, especially with the background of the escalation during the demonstration. Our action showed clearly that nonviolence is possible and necessary.
For NATO-ZU/Shut down NATO we can say that:
- the concept of a nonviolent blockade organised in affinity groups worked well in Strasbourg, in spite of violent escalations in the days before, and contributed to an effective disruption of the summit, even if this is not presented this way in public;
- the preparation in the camp – action trainings, preparation of the action via the spokescouncil, international co-operation, and coordination of the action (leaving the camp on Friday night) – contributed greatly to the success of the action;
- we think that our police liaison and the meeting with the police on 1 April contributed to the fact that the police did not intervene to heavily against NATO-ZU/Shut down NATO and Block-NATO – even though tear gas has been used initially against the other blockading points;
- the concept of autonomously organised blockading points within the framework of an overall concept of Block-NATO allowed NATO-ZU/Shut down NATO to give its blockade its own character.
In the evaluation round of NATO-ZU/Shut down NATO some resentment had been voiced about the events in the vicinity of the camp on Thursday and Friday, which led to an escalation. Even though NATO-ZU/Shut down NATO de-escaleted in both cases, this required a lot of energy, which would have been better invested into the preparation for the action. Many participants voiced their wish that in future camps should be organised with a clear nonviolent concept. With the preparation group of NATO-ZU/Shut down NATO there is at present no common position on this issue. A detailed evaluation meeting of the preparation group of NATO-ZU/Shut down NATO will take place only in June. We would be happy to receive many more evaluations from people who participated in Strasbourg until then.
Reports and articles after the action
- After Strasbourg: On dealing with violence in one's own ranks, article published in Graswurzelrevolution No 339, May 2009
- Brief Report from Angie Zelter, from Trident Ploughshares, about the NATO-ZU camp and blockade at Strasbourg, 9 April 2009
- Strasbourg - north blockade, article from indymedia-UK
- Picture gallery of Block-NATO blockades
- NATO-ZU/Shut down NATO: A successful nonviolent blockade in Strasbourg in the middle of violence, first article after the action
Action guidelines NATO-ZU/Shut down NATO
Legal information for the actions
- wri-info, 20 April 2009, No. 35, with the fourth newsletter of NATO-ZU/Shut down NATO
- wri-info, 29 March 2009, No. 34, with the third newsletter of NATO-ZU/Shut down NATO
- wri-info, 19 March 2009, No. 33, with the second newsletter of NATO-ZU/Shut down NATO
- wri-info, 25 February 2009, No. 32, with the first newsletter of NATO-ZU/Shut down NATO
- The Broken Rifle, February 2009, No. 81, with a focus on NATO
- The Broken Rifle, September 2008, No. 79, 60 years of NATO are enough!
- Before the NATO summit: Police switches to escalation – the political message of the protest is to be sidelined, press release of NATO-ZU/Shut down NATO, 29 March 2009
- Press release NATO-ZU/Shut down NATO: Open Letter to the police in Strasbourg: Actions of civil disobedience on 4 April, press release of NATO-ZU/Shut down NATO
- Open letter: Actions of civil disobedience in Strasbourg on 4 April 2009, letter to the police in Strasbourg from 17 March 2009
- Block-NATO: Public action training in Strasbourg, 8 March 2009, photos from the public action training in Strasbourg
- Civil Disobedience Training of BLOCK NATO in Strasbourg, press release no 1 of Block-NATO
- No to NATO 2009: What is being planned?, a page giving an overview over the choreography of the NATO summit and the resistance