Unilateral reduction in military spending!

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 Time and again, successive Turkish and Greek governments have insisted that it’s not their fault, that it is “the others” who are the aggressors, “the others” who undertake an offensive foreign policy. We are, each government says, the good, peaceful guys. In blaming one another both governments are equally right! Because both the Greek and Turkish governments, both the Greek and Turkish bourgeoisies, compete and fight each other. Their rivalry, though, is not about any glorious past and holy ancestors, not about religion or national minority rights, it is not even about “it-has-always-been-ours” soil or sea as ends in themselves. The Turkish and Greek bourgeoisies and their governments are fighting for their economic interests, for who will prevail first and foremost economically in the regional markets.

 

 

 Unlike their respective bourgeoisies, the Greek and Turkish workers are not enemies. The real threats they have to face come from their own bourgeoisies, from their national governments. Both in Turkey and Greece, in ways and to an extent depending on the domestic political and economic situation, the working classes face the same problems, the same attacks from their bourgeoisies and governments: neoliberal policies of massive privatizations, never ending austerity, high rates of unemployment; a tiny welfare state and a robust police state; rising nationalism, racism and religious fundamentalism. The real enemies of the working class in Greece and Turkey are their respective bourgeoisies and the economic and ecological crisis of capitalism.

 The two bourgeoisies, though, play the two working classes against each other, especially when it comes to military spending. According to NATO own data, Greece and Turkey are amongst the alliance’s top military spenders as percentage of their GDP (2009: 3.1% for Greece, 1.8% for Turkey). Each country wastes more than $10 billion a year for its “defense”. Greece and Turkey are also the top two importers of conventional weapons in Europe (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 2009). One of the main and catchy arguments for this waste is the “aggressiveness from the other side of the Aegean”. This exorbitant spending is permanently blocking any real increase in social investments, welfare and wages. Once more in history, especially in these times of economic crisis, it can’t be otherwise, it should be either butter or canons.

 Each government claims that it deeply wants to reduce military spending but “the other side” doesn’t want to. This is a mere pretext to deny any cuts for the military. Today, we have never seen any agreement or even a first step to an agreement on coordinated arms reduction between Greece and Turkey, a clear evidence that none of the two governments mean what they say.

 At the same time, “war games” over the Aegean continue. As the 1996 Imia/Kardak crisis has shown, these are not just “games”, they can easily escalate and bring the two countries on the lip of war at any time. Increasing business links and polished government visits try to project the image of an attempt at rapprochement. Besides not succeeding in really overcoming any of the rivalries between the two bourgeoisies and their states, decades of “warming” and “cooling” Greek-Turkish diplomatic relations have shown that we cannot rely on governments for a permanent peace, let alone a real resolution of conflicts over the Aegean, Cyprus or the national minority rights in the benefit of the working class. Bourgeoisies are like shareholders in a private company: one day they are good partners, the other day they become lethal enemies – and this can happen time and again. Only the working classes in Turkey and Greece can really solve these issues and do it once and for all. Because it is to their internationalist class interest to prevent any aggression or attempt at aggression between the two states by mobilizing from below to resolve all Greek-Turkish conflicts.

 To this end, we have to start from the most immediate, anti-social and permanently threatening aspect of warmongering between the two states: the arms race. We, the Greek and Turkish sections of the Fourth International, demand the immediate and decisive reduction in military spending and the cancellation of all existing arms purchasing orders in both countries. We will not let our governments hide their unwillingness behind the unwillingness of the government on the other side of the Aegean. Accepting no excuses, we demand that this reduction is implemented unilaterally in our respective countries. This aim cannot be achieved, though, only through the actions of our organizations in the two countries. That’s why we call for all the working class people, the left - wing and internationalist political organizations in Turkey and Greece, to mobilize and organize a common campaign for the unilateral reduction in military spending in both countries.

 

Turkish and Greek Workers Unite!

Έλληνες και Τούρκοι εργάτες ενωμένοι!

 Türk ve Yunan işçileri birleşin!

OKDE Spartakos (Greek section of Fourth International)

Yeni Yol (Turkish section of Fourth International)

 

 

[For reference only:

 http://www.nato.int/nato_static/assets/pdf/pdf_2010_06/20100610_PR_CP_2010_078.pdf

 http://armstrade.sipri.org/armstrade/page/toplist.php ]