<alter-ee> Resistance against NATO in Slovenia

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Tue, 5 Nov 2002 09:17:25 +0100


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Resistance against NATO in Slovenia



On November 21 and 22, the NATO-summit will take place in Prague. As the
preparation and mobilisation for the protests and actions in Prague are in
full swing, active resistance is growing also in Slovenia, one of the
candidate states for NATO membership. From 7th to 10th November
demonstrations and actions against NATO and for peace will take place in
Ljubljana. Some background information, description of resistance
activities, and a call for support.



BACKGROUND: SLOVENIA ON THE WAY TO BECOMING A NATO STATE?

The main topics of the Prague NATO-summit will be the so-called "war on
terorrism" and expansion of NATO. Seven Central and East European states,
including Slovenia, are expected (and expecting) to be invited to become
members of NATO. NATO membership is a favoured project of Slovenia's
political elite who have invested much energy and money into its
accomplishment. Almost the entire class of contemporary Slovene politicians,
regardless of their various positions in the ruling coalition or its
opposition, has joined forces to accomplish the "mission" of NATO accession.
NATO membership is presented as an integral part of the "democratisation"
and (re)integration with "Western civilisation".

For a year or so the pro-NATO propaganda machine has been working full
blast, abundantly backed by government financing. It has produced piles of
lies, it has manipulated and concealed data, and it has tried to silence and
discredit critical voices by accusing them of nostalgia for communism and
Yugoslavia, or of right-wing extremism. Two especially infamous moves were
the newsletter Natopis and the blacklist of NATO critics. The propaganda
newsleter was sent by the government to every household enlightening
citizens about the unquestionably magnificent advantages of NATO membership.
The blacklist, drawn up by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, contained the
names of journalists and other people (mostly dissident intellectuals) who
had written critically of NATO and Slovenia's plans to join it. Pro-NATO
propaganda has increasingly been invading the autonomy of the university as
well: various faculties have hosted lectures by NATO representatives and
domestic NATO advocates with a clearly propagandistic purpose. Recently we
were shocked to see how low NATO propaganda can go - in some primary schools
we discovered an invitation for an art competition for children aged 6-15 on
the theme of "a safer world". In the little story accompanying this
invitation the children are talking about NATO as of a hero which would act
against any one that would dare to throw a bomb on any one of the states
joined in it and as we (Slovenia) will become its friends it will build a
safer world for all of us.

Along with this aggressive propaganda campaign, the ruling class also made
some legislative changes which removed the "obstacles" to NATO membership.
For example, the Defence Law was changed so that it now makes possible the
involvement of the Slovene Army in military operations outside of Slovenia.
This corresponds to the duty of NATO members to contribute to all its
activities, including military operations out-of-area, which lately seem to
have become NATO's main purpose. In addition, the Maritime Code was changed
as to abolish a ban on nuclear-powered ships and ships carrying nuclear
weapons in the territorial waters of Slovenia. This is perceived by many as
a first step towards the establishment of military bases and the siting of
nuclear weapons in Slovenia, which the public vehemently opposes.

However, the (not very sophisticated) government propaganda has not
succeeded in convincing the public to support NATO membership. On the
contrary, public support has been falling steadily while resistance is
growing. The latest opinion poll (September 27) showed only 38.5% of the
population is in favour and 39.4% against, with 22% undecided. The most
important reasons for this reluctance are probably the lack of clear answers
from the government on what exactly the responsibilities of Slovenia as a
NATO member will be (costs, co-operation in military actions around the
world, military bases, nuclear weapons stationing), as well as increasing
disagreement with the foreign policy of NATO's dominant member, the USA.
Recently an article on the lack of public support for the government NATO
project with views of government representatives and critical intellectuals
was published in the Washington Times, available at
http://www.geocities.com/recinenato/wary.html.

Some journalists and prominent intellectuals have also expressed their
wariness of NATO in critical articles published in the mainstream media.
They publicly voice their doubts or openly oppose the government's NATO
project, and highlight the totalitarian character of the government's
pro-NATO campaign. Two important books also marked the public debates: Ne
NATO - mir nam dajte ("Not NATO - give us peace / give us a break"), a
collection of essays and analyses by twelve well-known Slovene intellectuals
critical of NATO, and the civic handbook NATO - pro and con, an exhaustive
presentation of supporting and opposing arguments.



RESISTANCE GROUPS AND THEIR ACTIONS

This is an outline of the situation in which the topic of NATO and
militarisation was taken on by some existing activist networks, and in which
new groups and networks were formed. The common starting point is the
rejection of NATO on an ethical basis: we see existence, functioning and
expansion of NATO as a part of the logic of war that underlies the system of
globalised capitalism and ensures the maintenance of a gravely unjust world
order. We regard NATO as one of the instruments of the global neoliberal
politics of coercion and exploitation of human beings and the natural
environment in the interests of the global ruling class. We believe that
this kind of globalisation and the world order it is producing are extemely
unjust and destructive and we try to contribute to the global resistance to
this process, and to creating alternatives. Our struggles are at this moment
 centred around the topic of NATO and militarism in general. Among many
other things we find it especially appaling that in its new strategic
concept (1999) NATO ascribed to itself the "right" to intervene militarily
in conflicts outside the territories of its members, according to its own
judgement as to which crisis could "affect the security" of its members,
even without a UN mandate. In practice this means arbitrary military
interventions throughout the whole world where NATO members, and especially
the USA as the dominant power in NATO, want to protect or assert their
interests. Furthermore, NATO's new military doctrine approved in 2000
allowes for the possible use of nuclear weapons in attacks. We believe that
such an organisation is a permanent obstacle to peace and a permanent threat
to the environment and the existence of the planet as a whole. It should be
dissolved and not expanded!

To express our opposition to NATO and to further encourage the evident
growth of critical stance to the NATO membership in the population, we have
carried out many actions and we are planning some more. Here is an outline
of some actions:

Organised resistance began in October 2001 with placard posting and letter
and e-mail sending actions expressing the opposition to war in Afganistan
and to NATO, and specifically Slovenia's membership in NATO. As the placards
were available on an internet page, many people around Slovenia posted them
on their own initiative in their home towns. These actions found some
resonance in the mainstream media and also at the top of the political
class: Minister of Foreign Affairs Rupel expressed his indignation over the
anti-NATO campaign at several press conferences, especially stressing he
"has never polished Bush's shoes", referring to one of the slogans saying:
Slovene politicians are ecstatic over polishing Bush's bloody cowboy boots.

In March 2002, an action was carried out at the Faculty of Social Sciences
(Ljubljana) on the night before the visit of Cristopher Bennett, the editor
of NATO Review, who was to hold a lecture about the NATO to the students.
Activists wrote graffiti on the walls all around the faculty and hung three
banners with strong anti-NATO messages on the glass tower of the faculty
(pictures at http://www.geocities.com/recinenato/recinenatonafdv.html). The
action was accompanied by a public statement and a letter to Bennett which
can be read at http://www.geocities.com/recinenato/bennet.html.

On the evening of the celebration of the people's uprising against Nazi
occupation (April 27, 1941), 40 people with a banner indicating a parallel
between an infamous Slovene Nazi collabolator and the present minister of
foreign affairs, managed to get inside the hall of the cultural centre where
the observance was held and protested against the way Minister of Foreign
Affairs Rupel imposed himself as the official speaker and abused the
celebration by propagandising for NATO, stating among other things that NATO
had grown out of the antifascist struggle.

An anarchist group organised the first Maydays in Slovenia which had its
height on May 1 with demonstrations in front of American Embassy and the
Governmental building where NATO and domestic political oligarchy were
strongly condemned.

In May a pamphlet called Let's recycle Natopiss - parodying Natopis
("Natopaper"), a newsletter sent by the government to every household - was
published and distributed. It exposed government's lies about the costs of
Slovenia's membership in NATO and other disputable claims.

In June about 140 banners with anti-NATO slogans were displayed on all major
road bridges over the highways. Some banners with local content (for
example: Maribor won't join NATO!) were hung over local roads.

Shortly after the Slovenia's Independence Day in June a huge banner (15,5m x
4,5m) was hung out from the tower of the Ljubljana castle, a very visible
central point in the city. For some three hours the message Ne NATO - mir
nam dajte (double meaning: Not NATO - give us peace / Not NATO - give us a
break) could be seen from the city in a delightful summer day (pictures and
an e-postcard at http://www.geocities.com/recinenato/nenatonagradu.html).
Recently this banner has been hung in two other towns, Koper and Velenje.

In July a group of young anarhists living and creating their political
resistance in the squat Molotov, which also offered a space for many other
activists and groups, experienced a violent repression. Thanks to determined
resistance by the squaters and the mobilisation of a solidarity network the
squat still exists today. Most probably the reason for this repression
action was the central role of the squat in the resistance against NATO
(more at http://www.acmolotov.org).

The hot and active summer was concluded with the NoBorderCamp in the last
days of August. The main topics were migration, ecology, civil disobedience,
but there was also an anti-NATO component including planning of further
resistance and carrying out some actions (materials distribution, anti-NATO
concert).

In autumn the materials presenting the arguments against NATO and Slovenia's
membership (the English version of one leaflet with these arguments can be
read at http://www.geocities.com/recinenato/nonatoleaflet.html) are being
distributed in major towns with the accompainment of street theatre,
drummers and jugglers. A recent visit of NATO lecturers at the Faculty of
Social Sciences was interrupted by singing, drumming and a speech denouncing
this kind of misuse of the university facilities for purposes that have
nothing to do with higher education and the development of knowledge.
Several protest letters were sent out, condemning breaches of university
autonomy by military propaganda, expressing opposition to militarisation of
the university in general, and protesting against the militarisation of the
Port of Koper ("visits" of NATO military ships - also nuclear-powered ones -
in the port are getting more and more frequent). When the state president
hosted a NATO delegation in the beginning of October, the Network of
Associations, Groups and Individuals for Peace sent him a public letter
asking for a meeting with the NATO delegation in order to present views
opposed to NATO - held by a significant segment of the Slovene population -
and the alternative of neutrality. There was no reaction to this request,
but later a letter from the president's office suggested that the claims of
the Network for Peace about the prevalence of support for neutrality of
Slovenia were misleading and that the President has always pleaded for a
discussion on the basis of arguments.

The activism has also an internet component: numerous webpages have been
created. The central information point about activities against NATO, and
including many political analyses and commentaries is
http://www.geocities.com/recinenato/.

Other important pages (unfortunately most of them are only in Slovene):

http://www.acmolotov.org/noborder

http//www.dostje.org

http://exeat.com/politics/andrej1971

http://kreativni_upor.tripod.com

http://members.fortunecity.com/nato5/

http://www.ruleless.com/portal/nato/nato.php

At present the energies of active and critical people are concentrated in
the preparation and mobilisation for demonstrations against NATO and for
peace that will take place in Ljubljana between the 7th and 10th of
November. They will be created and carried out by many groups and
individuals from different spheres of society so that they will be a very
colourful and widely dispersed event. They will include street parties,
political-artistic spectacles, concerts, street theatre and performances,
direct actions and a march for peace on November 9.

A clear NO! from the people of Slovenia to the invitation to join NATO would
demonstrate to NATO and its dominant member the USA that they are not
irresistible, that there actually exist people who do not want their country
to be incorporated into their global military machine and do not want to
bend to their economic, political and military dominance. Additionally, this
NO! would show people in other countries endangered by NATO's expansion
plans that it is possible to say NO and that there do exist alternatives
outside of NATO. This could encourage them to refuse the invitation
themselves as well.



CALL FOR SUPPORT

We believe that our struggle against the NATO is a small but nevertheless
important contribution to the struggles against the militarisation of world
politics and the logic of war.

We are asking you, resistant people all around the world, to support our
struggle! You can do this by
. sending us a statement of support and expressing your comments and
opinions at http://www.acmolotov.org/nonato/
. spreading our message into your activist network and if possible to local
and alternative media.
. joining us November 7-10 in Ljubljana at the demonstrations against NATO
and for peace.

Thank you for your solidarity!

Acitivist network of resistance against NATO and militarism





www.acmolotov.org/nonato

Letter of support


The existence, functioning and expansion of NATO are a constituent part of
the logic of war and efforts to fortify an extremely unjust world order
based on domination, coercion, exploitation, and a division into servants
and enemies of the powerful. NATO's self-assignment of the right to carry
out military interventions all around the world according to its own
arbitrary judgement and its nuclear weapons policy which foresees the use of
nuclear weapons in military attacs against the non-compliant, make NATO an
obstacle to establishing peace in the world and a permanent threat to human
beings and natural environment.

In Slovenia a struggle against the NATO and against NATO's annexation of the
country is going on. There is a resistance to the looming possibility of the
country becoming a part of the global military machine and thus taking part
in the destruction of human lives and environment for the interests of the
masters of the globalised capitalism. There is a resistance to the existence
of NATO calling for its dissolution.







Here are some of the most important arguments against joining the NATO that
we think the people in Slovenia should have the knowledge of. We are
spreading them among the people in a form of a leaflet. So far the people to
whom the leaflet has been handed out have for the greatest part accepted it
with interest and supportive attitude.



WHAT IS NATO?



.      NATO is a military alliance of USA, Canada and 17 European states. It
was founded in 1949 with the purpose of defence of the capitalist West
against the socialist East.

.      As the socialist regimes crumbled in 1989 the NATO lost its adversary
and the sense of its further existence. Instead of dissolving it assigned
itself new competences and tasks.

.      In the new Strategic concept approved in 1999 the NATO assigned
itself the "right" to intervene militarilly in conflicts outside of the
teritorries of its members, according to its own judgement as to which
crisis could "affect the security" of its members and also without the
mandate of the UN. This means arbitrary military interventions in the whole
world where the NATO members want to protect or enforce their interests.

.      In the NATO's new doctrine, approved in 2000, the possibility of the
use of nuclear weapons in attacks and not only as a means of deterrence as
in the Cold War period is writen down. NATO has already used radioactive
depleted uranium in the Kosovo war. Now the USA are planning the prodution
of mini atomic bombs.

.      Today the security problem cannot be solved by military means. Its
roots are namely in the unjust distribution of the world's wealth,
exploitation, dominance of the powerful countries of the West over the
majority of the world's inhabitants, environment destruction and excessive
exploitation of the natural resources.

.      NATO's existence and activities aggravate these reasons for
insecurity and represent a major obstacle to the peace in the world, for it
has become a military organisation with the purpose of ensuring the
dominance of the West, especially the USA, over the world.

.      USA are increasingly undermining the international law and on the
basis of their power, especially military, usurping the right to judge and
decide about the whole world. Among other things they are trying by all
means to weaken the International Crime Court for the crimes against
humanity and achieve superiority of its citizens in regard of the law.

.      NATO's goal is not the ensurance of the values such as democracy,
human rights a freedom but brutal enforcement of its member states'
interests, with the predominance of the far most powerful member, the USA.

.      The purpose of NATO expansion, thus the incorporation of the
transition countries, is above all to expand the political and economic
influence of the USA over these countries. The USA are namely losing
influence over the Western Europe.

.      The binding of the transition countries on the USA through NATO is
increasingly in contradiction with their efforts to join the EU, because the
disagreements betwen the Usa and EU are rising (trade wars, steel wars,
disagreements on the genetically modified food...).

.      NATO expansion is a very profitable business for its members - their
military industry produces 80% of the world's military products. The demand
to fulfil "NATO's standards" regarding the weapons and military equipment
means nothing else but securing the sales of the military products to the
new members.



SLOVENIA AND NATO



Security??

.      NATO is supossed to guarantee security to Slovenia. But there exists
almost no military threat to Slovenia. Even if Slovenia would in some time
in the future experience military threat, the membership in the NATO does
not provide firm guarantees: if a member state is attacked, the NATO does
not authomatically respond with military means - the states decide if they
will offer help and what kind of help this will be - it can be only economic
or humanitarian help.

.      It is not very likely that NATO would defend small states such as
Slovenia by military means. In the case of the attack from a neighbouring
country the NATO would most probably react only by offering observers and
advisors. If the attack would come from Italy, Slovenia as a NATO member
could not count on the help of NATO at all, because NATO does not take
actions in cases of conflicts between member countries.

.      NATO would not contribute to resolution of conflicts between Slovenia
and Croatia. Conflicts such as the one about the border between those two
countries are of no importance from the viewpoint of the NATO. Not long ago
the armed forces of Marocco occupied a part of Spanish teritorry. Spain is a
NATO member, but NATO did not care at all. Slovenia and Croatia cannot
afford to resolve conflicts by military means because that would show them
as incapable of resolving problems by diplomatic means and would discredit
their efforts to join the EU.



Costs!!!

.      NATO membership is very expensive. Due to the pressures from the USA
the government plans a 50-percent increase of funds for military purposes -
from 1,46% GDP in the year 2001 to 2,3% for the year 2010.

.      Costs of NATO membership do not include only membership fee as the
government propaganda claims, but comprise a lot more: costs of army
reorganisation, purchase of weapons and military equipment according to the
"NATO-standards", costs of participation of Slovenia's military forces in
interventions abroad, costs of adapting communication systems, roads,
railways, airports and ports to the demands of the NATO. These huge
investments for military purposes would reduce investment into social
welfare, health, education, culture, environment... This would impede and
not enhance Slovenia's development.



Environment?!!

.      Military bases which NATO sets in its member countries represent a
huge burden. These military bases are strictly protected and are not
subjected to the law of the host country. NATO's soldiers are untouchable;
if they commit a criminal offence they are processed in their home country.

.      In the military bases different dangerous weapons and poisons are
deposited, including nuclear weapons, therefore the bases are a permanent
threat to the environment and health of the people.

.      It is true that the member states themselves decide about placement
of military bases and nuclear weapons on their teritorry, but considering
the servileness of Slovenian politicians towards the NATO and the USA it
cannot be expected that they would reject such a demand of the NATO. An
example of this servileness is the change of the Maritime code in February
2002 with which it is now allowed that nuclear ships and ships with nuclaer
weapons enter Slovenian sea.



The armed forces?

.      One of the NATO's demands is the profesionalisation of the Slovenian
Army which actually means a transformation from defensive forces to forces
for interventions abroad, according to the needs of the NATO.

.      NATO membership requires the participation of soldiers in
interventions in crises abroad. Recently the Defense Law has been changed so
that it is now possible to use the Slovenian Army for military operations
outside of Slovenia.

.      Entering NATO means a commitment to participation in military attacks
against other countries on the demand and under the leadership of the most
powerful countries (above all USA). Slovenia would also have to bear all the
costs of participating in such operations.



Good reputation and influence???

.      Claims about the rise of international reputation and influence of
Slovenia due to the admission into the NATO are despicable lies! Slovenian
politicians are already acting shamefully fawning which causes Slovenia to
lose any reputation and influence that it ever had. In November 1998
Slovenia withdrew ist signature to the Initiative of the UNO for a world
without nuclear weapons, because it was in direct contrast to the nuclear
policies of the NATO. With this contemptible act Slovenia diplomatically
discredited itself.



THERE ARE ALTERNATIVES!

.      It is not true that there is no other alternative for Slovenia than
joining the NATO. There is another possibility: active neutrality. Europe's
neutral countries are Austria, Switzerland, Finnland, Sweden and Ireland.
All are very successful without any "help" from the NATO.

.      Joining the NATO would mean giving away a part of the sovereignty
because Slovenia's politics would become dependent on the politics of NATO
and USA. With active neutrality a state can act more independently.

.      Neutrality does not mean selfish isolation but taking responsibility
for the world peace by striving for non-military conflict resolution and
political mediation between the conflicting parties. Neutrality does not
hinder taking part in peace-keeping operations.

.      Neutrality is cheaper than NATO membership: NATO members' budget for
military purposes is on average 2,5% GDP, that of the European neutral
countries 1% GDP.



THE INHABITANTS OF SLOVENIA SHOULD DECIDE THEMSELVES ABOUT THEIR FUTURE!

.        Joining the NATO is a project of the ruling elite, a handful of
politicians that impose on the inhabitants of Slovenia a huge burden which
would not be possible to get rid of by means of lying, concealing
information and propaganda of the primitivest kind. The success of their
intentions depends on the inhabitants of Slovenia.

.        It is not true that joining the NATO is inevitable! It is not true
that everything has already been decided!

.        Such an important decision about the future of all people living in
Slovenia cannot be left to the self-interested servile handful of the rulers
that are increasingly resigning the protection of the rights of the
inhabitants of Slovenia in order to be admitted to NATO. It is the right and
responsibility of the inhabitants to decide by themselves.

.        The finding that joining the NATO is unacceptable and harmful
should be told loudly. It should not happen any more that this statement is
overheard or silenced.

.        Because of the loudness and persistence of the critical voices the
government will not succeed to avoid a referendum.

.        If the people will decide against joining the NATO at the
referendum, the government will be compelled to refuse an eventual
invitation from the NATO in Prague in November 2002.



Internet pages and books critical of the NATO and Slovenia's joining the
NATO:

http://www.geocities.com/recinenato/

http://kreativni_upor.tripod.com

http://members.fortunecity.com/nato5/

http://neutro.k2.net/

http://www.ruleless.com/portal/nato/nato.php

http://www.belokranjskadeklaracija.org/

http://www.ljudmila.org/globala/

Ne NATO - mir nam dajte! (Not NATO - give us peace! / Give us a break!),
Ljubljana, Mirovni inštitut, 2002.

Nato - za in proti: državljanski priročnik, (NATO - for and against: a civic
handbook), Ljubljana, Mirovni inštitut, 2002.







Slovenians wary of joining NATO
Nicholas Kralev
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Published 10/22/2002

This is the third in an occasional series of reports from seven NATO
aspirants in Central and Eastern Europe before the alliance's summit in
Prague next month, where they are expected to receive membersip invitations.

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia - Just when it seemed they had convinced NATO that their
11-year-old state of 2 million deserves a membership invitation next month,
the Slovenian authorities discovered that they have some more convincing to
do, this time among their own people. For several years, NATO officials have
done little to hide their assessment that, when it comes to taking in new
members, Slovenia is the easiest case. It is politically stable, and its
economy is the envy of the former communist bloc.

But an unusually vocal outcry against joining the Western alliance has come
as a slap in the face for the country's government, prompting NATO to make
an addition to its list of accession requirements - public support for
membership.

"We want to see public support of well over 50 percent," one senior NATO
official said. "As a member, a country incurs serious common-defense
responsibilities under Article 5, and the government should have the full
backing of its people." The alliance invoked Article 5, which says that an
attack on one member is an attack on all, for the first time a day after the
September 11 attacks last year.

Although the official said that he and his colleagues "have been pleased" by
the Slovenian government's campaign to raise public support for membership,
recent polls reveal that a slow and painful effort to boost support ratings,
which fell to their lowest level - 39 percent - in early summer, has failed.

"We are cautious of a full-blown campaign and concerned about negative
reactions," said Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel, referring to charges that
the government is wasting taxpayers' money.

Anton Bebler, president of the Atlantic Council of Slovenia, a group of
intellectuals advocating NATO membership, said there is a perception among
Slovenians that if the authorities need to wage a campaign on a certain
policy issue, arguments based solely on its merits are not enough.

The government of Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek has published various
materials, such as books and manuals with facts and frequently asked
questions about NATO, and a newsletter, which it sent to 683,000 households.
It is also operating a toll-free phone service where anyone can address
inquiries and concerns, said Nada Serajnik Sraka, state undersecretary for
public relations.

But Ali Zerdin, a reporter for Mladina (Youth), a weekly newsmagazine, said
that most people think the newsletter is a "joke" and instead are seeking
"clear answers from the government what exactly our responsibilities as a
NATO member will be."

According to a survey by the University of Ljubljana's faculty of social
sciences, used by the government and considered by many the most accurate
polling data available, public support for membership has been lingering
below 50 percent for the past two years.

It reached its highest level - 62 percent - in the spring of 1997, just
before the first round of expansion at the alliance's Madrid summit, where
Slovenia's bid failed. It fluctuated between 50 percent and 60 percent the
next four years but dropped to 48 percent late last year, falling further to
39 percent this summer.

The latest results showed that things remained unchanged in September, even
though all major political parties, except the National Party, support
membership. More significantly, opposition to joining NATO also was at 39
percent. About 22 percent were undecided.

"As reasons for their support, the respondents state that NATO provides the
best form of collective security, that they consider collective security
cheaper and that membership would have positive economic implications for
Slovenia," the team that conducted the survey said in an analysis
accompanying the results.

"The reasons against entry given by the respondents are high expenses,
disagreement with the participation of Slovenian soldiers in military
operations abroad and the fact that the state is not under threat," it said.
The survey also found that of those participants who said they would take
part in a referendum on NATO membership, 55 percent would vote for and 45
percent against it.

Unlike in any other aspirant country, a referendum seems all but certain in
Slovenia, most probably in the period after the Prague invitation and before
ratification of enlargement begins in the parliaments of NATO's 19 member
states.

"Some want a referendum before Prague, but you can't decline a dinner
invitation before you receive it," Mr. Rupel said.
Officials blame the skeptical public opinion on what it calls an
"anti-campaign" in the press that, it says, has been undermining the
government's effort for more than a year. The foreign minister was the only
Cabinet member to respond to the negative press and, according to some
officials, was reprimanded in private by his boss, Mr. Drnovsek.

Defense Minister Anton Grizold attributes the strong opposition to NATO
membership to a practice reminiscent of the Yugoslav era, although Slovenia
has been independent since 1991. "Journalists were considered political
workers in former Yugoslavia, and some still are," he said. "We are still
discovering our statehood responsibilities."

Blaz Zgaga, a national security reporter for Vecer (Evening) daily,
disagreed, but he acknowledged that "many journalists don't have college
education."

He also dismissed the government's contention that the media are conducting
a "systematic campaign or conspiracy." But he conceded that his editor
"refused to publish an opinion piece I had written advocating NATO
membership because she didn't want to go against public opinion."

In Slovenia, unlike in the United States, news reporters also write
editorials and other opinion articles, which can be published on both the
op-ed and news pages.

Some political observers credit the press with opening a debate that
otherwise would never have been initiated.

"The government didn't feel that discussion was necessary, and it didn't
listen to those against membership," said Vlado Miheljak, a professor of
social sciences and columnist for the daily Delo. "The debate was more about
democratic procedure, and it was forced by the media."

The military, which is the most trusted Slovenian institution and has an
approval rating of more than 70 percent, has not been affected by the public
debate, said Lt. Col. Dobran Bozic, commander of the army's 10th Motorized
Battalion.

"We are preparing to work in an international environment," he said. "We
have troops in Bosnia and Kosovo, and we'd like to send special forces to
Afghanistan, but the politicians don't want to risk public opinion."

In nearly two dozen interviews, political and military leaders, civil
servants, analysts and journalists said that the public outcry was in large
part a result of disapproval of the Bush administration's foreign policy.

"People here have a weird way of connecting things," Mr. Bebler said. "There
is a correlation in their minds between NATO and the United States. They
think the Bush administration will force NATO to march in places like Iraq,
so why be tricked into far-away wars by reckless unilateralists?"

Mr. Grizold and Janez Jansa, president of the Social Democratic Party, said
that people do not understand U.S. policy because no one explains it to
them.

"Every event linked to the United States and NATO is shown negatively in the
media," Mr. Jansa said. "The Washington correspondent of the national TV
reports as if from an enemy country."

Mr. Rupel expressed some frustration with a few of the administration's
policies that are often at odds with those of Washington's European allies.

"I've met Bush, and he is a good and straightforward man," Mr. Rupel said.
"Slovenia would love to stay in the group of American friends, but some
statements from Washington are not helpful in making our policies popular."

Mr. Grizold, however, said that "as a true partner," Slovenia will support
the United States. "Otherwise, how can we be a credible partner? We have to
stick together and express solidarity."

He also said his country would fulfill NATO's requirement that 2 percent of
the gross domestic product (GDP) be spent on defense by 2008, in spite of
strong objections by some.

But Mr. Miheljak said that many people doubt the government's assertion that
building a defense system outside NATO would be much more expensive and that
they feel that "we can defend ourselves with less than 2 percent of GDP."

"We are economically stable, and we don't need NATO like some other
candidates," he said, referring to Bulgaria and Romania, whose economies
have not done as well. "We can survive without NATO."

Article was originally published in Washington times.











spectacle in the city



en la próxima estación: entrada liberta(d)





7 November 2002 at 12.30 at Bavarski dvor


spectacle with the moving caravan

street performance, free style, juggling, singing shelters, League of
improvisers, pressing theatre, jackson's Elvises, graffiti, c3, young and
happy, food without bombs, masters of fire, DJs, banners of great sizes,
masks and dancing, abstract films, lighting contours, United drums,
pupetteers, interpretation of feelings and improvisation ...



spectacle in the city



bring drums, pot-lids, laddles, colourful strips and everything with which
you can

enter for free and freely at the next station - en la próxima estación:
entrada liberta(d)



- - - - - - - -



On 7 November 2002

there will be a spectacle in the city

en la próxima estación: entrada liberta(d)



The main roads of the city will be overflown by manifold groups that will be
drawn in a colourful caravan by a spaceship on four wheels. The spaceship
will begin to gather the caravan around 12.30 at Bavarski dvor and will take
it towards the sun. New stations, new ships, flying and multi-storied will
join. The space will be permeated by the spectacle of the moving caravan



street performance, free style, juggling, singing shelters, League of
improvisers, pressing theatre, jackson's Elvises, graffiti, c3, young and
happy, food without bombs, masters of fire, DJs, banners of great sizes,
masks and dancing, abstract films, lighting contours, United drums,
pupetteers, interpretation of feelings and improvisation ...



Even though the spectacle will be an artistic, cultural, estetical one, it
will be damned political...



It will be created in an unorganised way - everybody will be able to enter
for free and freely at the next station en la próxima estación: entrada
liberta(d) ... The spectacle will narrate about a station that is not NATO,
that is free, movable and open, that has no aim but still is flowing in a
positive way into a certain direction, that can freely and flexibly choose
further stations, that breathes and permeates with feelings, that is
accessible to children and adults, that is common, that is being built by
imagination and bodies, outside of institutions, accompanied by the sounds
of drums and guitars...



The spectacle will be now and then interrupted for three minutes by the
intellectuals who won't be collecting cultural-political points but sharing
the feeling of the day - en la próxima estación entrada liberta(d)!



The spectacle will be eyed by television cameras, radios will be sending the
sounds into the world, photographs will be trying to steel a moment of the
entrada liberta(d) and enthusiasm will flow into the microphones: en la
próxima estación: entrada liberta(d)!






PREŠEREN'S - NO NATO - CORNER



speakers corner

at Prešeren square



Every citizen can PUBLICLY express their opinions and demands in regard to
Slovenia's memberhip in NATO, war against Iraq, violence of capitalism...



On November 8 the Prešeren's speakers corner will give you the opportunity
to appeal to Slovenia and the world for solidarity, tolerance, justice,
peace and nonviolence. Individuals, (in)formal organisations, associations,
groups etc. are invited to participate actively.



The speakers' Friday afternoon will be accompanied by numerous DJs, drummers
and other performers.






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