Social Movements Against the Global Security Architecture!

A Critique of the Militarisation of Social Conflict and the Securitisation of Everyday Life

Recent unrest due to food price hikes, protests against rising
energy costs, visions and realities of a climate crisis and growing
concerns over scarce resources, in conjunction with the continued
turmoil of financial markets, are creating a sense of insecurity for a
neoliberal regime in severe crisis. The G8 states and their allies are
seeking to contain these conflicts and the evident accumulation crisis
of the global economy through market-orientated solutions in order to
restore economic growth whilst calls for more state intervention in the
regulation of financial markets are rife. At the same time, the ‚war on
terror‘ serves to justify ever-more militarisation of all spheres of
life. Wars are waged to secure new markets, transport routes and
resources. New techniques of governance are emerging within a logic of
waging war against who- or whatever cannot be made profitable.

In 2009, a number of security policy changes whose consequences are
as yet unclear, are planned for the EU. Under the banner of
‚civil-military cooperation‘, internal and external security are to be
merged into a ‚comprehensive‘ and supra-national ’security
architecture‘. With a view to the US ministry, the ‚Department of
Homeland Security‘, founded after September 11th 2001 and comprising
governmental, business and research organisations, EU security
authorities are pushing for similar policy approaches for the European
Union. ‚Homeland Security‘ is to form the basis of the global security
architecture of the most dominant states and richest economies,
incorporating supranational institutions and multilateral agreements.

At the beginning of April, NATO will meet for its Spring conference
in Strasbourg and Kehl at the Franco-German border. At the last NATO
summit in Bucharest 2008, many of the discussions were postponed to
2009, when final decisions concerning a new strategic direction for the
26 member states of NATO will be taken. Former NATO chiefs of staff
published a discussion paper in April 2008, ‚Towards a Grand Strategy
for an Uncertain World‘, in which they argue for a comprehensive
transformation of NATO:
“To be prepared for what cannot be predicted is going to be one of the
foremost challenges in the years ahead. […] What the Western allies
face is a long, sustained and proactive defence of their societies and
way of life. To that end, they must keep risks at a distance, while at
the same time protecting their homelands“.

What this means is that internal security and military interventions
will no longer be considered separate spheres of activity and will be
“merged”. One of the strategically important partners within this
process is the USA, the other is the EU, which cannot maintain its
continued integration in the global market economy, nor its internally
open borders, without a common security architecture. The strategy
paper stipulates asserts that a fundamental change in contemporary
“threats, risks and dangers” has occurred. The paper’s aim is to argue
for the inevitability of a ‚Comprehensive Approach‘ which envisages the
coordination of the military, foreign policy, ‚Homeland Security‘,
civil defence and development policy. NATO should no longer simply
respond to threats but predict them, intervene with preventive and
pre-emptive military strategies or carry out proactive first strikes so
as to prevent dangers from emerging in the first place.

Similar projects are being proposed for the EU by a number of EU
Home Affairs ministries. In a paper titled, ‚Freedom, Security, Privacy
– European Home Affairs in an Open World‘, the ‚Future Group‘,
initiated by German Home Secretary Wolfgang Schäuble in 2007, demands
are made for a profound change of course in EU Home Affairs towards
‚Homeland Security‘ (although the precise term is not used). Europe is
to take the lead in the response to “security, migration and
technological challenges”. Priorities are:
“Police cooperation, the fight against terrorism, management of
missions in third states, migration and asylum as far as border
management, civil protection, new technologies and information

Every five years the EU decides upon new guidelines for the
‚internal security‘ of its member states. Following the Tampere
Programme (1999-2004) and the Hague Programme (2004-2009), the current
paradigm shift is to be implemented in the second half of 2009 during
the Swedish presidency. Characteristic for this paradigm shift is an
“early strategic diagnosis” to prepare for “threats” that are not yet
reality but are imaginable. Through the use of “risk analysis” dangers
are projected that ’necessitate‘ ever-more militarised internal
security carried out in close cooperation with think tanks and civil
defence authorities.

As in the NATO paper, foreign, internal, defence and development
ministries are supposed to work closely together in order to secure the
“rule of law” in “third countries” and to prevent threats to Europe.
“This will make external relations a priority for the future design of European Home Affairs“.
In the following, we analyse the papers of NATO and the “Future Group”,
in order to comprehend the radical changes in security policy that are
taking place, and to suggest common and urgent points of intervention
for social movements.

“Transforming the Data Tsunami into Intelligence”
The EU Strategy paper, ‚Freedom, Security, Privacy – European Home Affairs in an Open World‘

The changes to Home Affairs policies stipulated in the Hague
Programme have already been implemented by many member states:
Harmonisation of terrorism legislation, data retention, development of
existing databases with common access, cross-border police cooperation,
for example during sporting events or mass political protests. ‚Border
management‘, finger-printing when applying for an EU visa, as of 2009
biometrical identification in new passports and ID cards, development
of security research, cooperation in crime management, police missions
abroad etc. On the level of the EU new institutions have been founded
and existing ones have been granted more responsibilities.

Many of the regulations described above were announced as temporary
measures in the ‚war on terror‘ following 9/11. Today this state of
exception has become the norm and is being further exacerbated.
According to EU papers, other principle threats to the “European Model”
are migration and “organised crime”. In their paper, ‚Freedom,
Security, Privacy – European Home Affairs in an Open World‘, the
‚Future Group‘ suggests three “horizontal demands” for European
security and proposes “the development of Europe’s position in a
globalised world”:

  • "preserving the ‚European model‘ in the area of European Home Affairs by balancing mobility, security and privacy
  • coping with growing interdependence between internal and external security
  • ensuring the best possible flow of data within European-wide information networks”


The changes in European Home Affairs policy are directly connected
to discussions regarding the EU Lissabon Treaty that seeks to create
EU-wide organisations to strengthen the economic competitiveness of the
EU. The “convergence principle” enables the dismantling of intra-state
and legal “obstacles”, legislation is to be “harmonised” and
“simplified”, equipment and personnel is to be “pooled”, education and
training is to be standardised with the aim of “interoperationability”
between existing systems. As with many areas within the EU, the
decision-making structures for Justice and Home Affairs are not
The stated goal of the EU Treaty is to create a space of ‚Freedom,
Security and the Rule of Law‘. Since 2008, Jacques Barrot is the
‚Commissioner for Freedom, Security and the Rule of Law‘. He took the
place of Franco Frattini who became the ‚Forza Italia‘ foreign minister
of Italy within Berlusconi’s new cabinet. Together with the German Home
Secretary Wolfgang Schäuble, Frattini played a central role in
developing the current European security policy. In the area of inner
security the relatively young EU institutions are to receive more
operative competencies in order to keep social discontent within the EU
under control: the European police academy CEPOL, the European
Gendermerie EGF, the police agency Europol, the EU “Situation Centre”
(SitCen) for the analysis of current situations and for the evaluation
of intelligence and the border protection agency Frontex. They are to
have access to all “relevant information”. Following Germany’s example,
all member states should set up “anti-terrorism centres”, merge police
and intelligence services and exchange information on an EU-wide scale
(so long as the respective ‘national interests’ are not endangered by
the exchange of intelligence). The intention is to create an
overarching ‚Committee for Internal Security” for all EU police
authorities. This is a step towards a common “EU Home Affairs
Ministry”, beyond the existing “Standing Committee on Internal
Security” (COSI).

The coordination amongst EU security authorities is conducted by
so-called “Liaison Officers” who already have a large number of
responsibilities and competencies with a department in each member
state. The ‚Future Group‘ advises expanding and strengthening their
Following the logic of ‚Homeland Security‘, internal security is not
merely a matter of Home Affairs, but is a common effort comprising of
policy-making, military forces, police, civil defence, the security
industry and think tanks. The intention is to “blur” the boundaries
between these authorities and recognise how they are “intrinsically
linked“ due to the need for a “comprehensive global approach”.
Consequently, under the primacy of security, different policy areas are interwoven:
“The Group strongly advocates developing a holistic concept covering
e.g. development, migration, security, economic, financial, trade and
foreign policy aspects in this regard, allowing the European Union to
play a responsible and credible role in international relations“.
As a contribution to the ‚global security architecture‘, internal
security should also be organised between different states. The main
focus is the USA with whom the EU already has a number of bilateral
agreements with respect to data exchange, Europol, extradition, mutual
assistance, passenger information, SWIFT transactions and container
“In the area of freedom, security and justice, actions and measures
have to follow strict geographical prioritisation and political
differentiation: the European Union first has to define its key
strategic interests. […] At a second stage the European Union has to
identify which third countries are of vital interest for cooperation.“
“Geographical challenges” are “candidate countries”, the West Balkans,
neighbouring countries of the EU, the Mediterranean region, Russia,
Africa, Latin America, Afghanistan, Iraq and its neighbouring
countries, China and India. The ‚Future Group‘ concludes that “the
blurriness of internal and external threats” and an
“internationalisation of conflict resolution” makes “interventions
outside of the EU“ necessary. The aggressive foreign policy of the EU
is nothing new, but the fact that Home Affairs ministers now consider
it one of the highest priorities, marks a new era.

The EU police mission EULEX deals with tasks such as fighting
insurgency, protecting private property and maintaining public order.
The common “European Gendarmerie Force” (EGF) which has its base in
Vicenza in Italy, is to be incorporated more in foreign missions.
Police deployments are understood as “civil interventions”. In future,
all forces operating abroad (military, police, diplomatic services,
development ministries, civil defence, “institutions for the rule of
law”) are to have recourse to knowledge and information they need in
the planning stages already, and operate together in ‚Mission Situation
Centres‘, making their information available to other EU authorities.
Potential operating areas are:
“Institution-building, rule-of-law missions, election monitoring,
democratisation, civil society and humanitarian aid. […] The vast
variety of threats ranges from war situations to terrorist attacks,
organised crime, violent demonstrations, natural or man-made disasters
and usual police tasks.“
Within member states, but also on an EU level, new decentralised
“competency centres” will be developed in order to bundle common tasks.
The increasing interweaving of police and intelligence work
necessitates common surveillance centres for the whole range of
telecommunication surveillance. At the external borders of the EU,
common “Police and Customs Cooperation Centres” (PCCC) are to be
EU ministers have declared migration an “inherent phenomenon in our
increasingly globalised societies and economies“. The economic aspects
of migration are at the forefront of their considerations. Demographic
developments are registered with concern, whilst prognoses are made
regarding the increase in much-needed labour migration. Thus, so-called
“legal migration” is to be further strengthened in order to provide
labour for the EU labour market. The relationship between “supply and
demand” between the EU and workers from “third countries” will form a
back-door option to ‚return‘ migrants in accordance with demands of the
labour market:
“The Group suggests that Member States should fully exploit all possibilities of intra-European economic migration.“
In third countries more EU migration authorities will be installed,
“with responsibility for advising on visa and related questions and recruiting possible immigrants.“
The EU is to implement an “Entry-exit” system similar to the US ESTA
system (“Electronic System for Travel Authorisation”) that will be
operationalised on January 12th 2009. The US system is designed for
tourists and business travellers. Mobility is a central issue for
labour market policy and tourism and thus has a security dimension:
“If citizens do not feel secure, then it is highly likely that they would not wish to travel at all”.
Having an EU travel document should facilitate the crossing of borders:
“A one-stop approach integrating all checks and controls carried out
for different purposes, i.e. relating to persons, goods, veterinary and
phyto-sanitary, pollution, terrorism and organised crime.“
Here, new ‚border management‘ technologies are to be introduced (e.g.
biometrics, x-ray technologies, RFID chips). Further to the
harmonisation of asylum laws, the “fight against illegal migration”
requires an “effective European return policy”. The European border
control system (EUROSUR) is to be expanded,
“to reduce the number of illegal immigrants entering the European Union
by improving situational awareness at external borders and increasing
the reaction capability of information and border control authorities.“
For this, existing institutions and programmes will be further
networked. The focal point for this will be the “border protection
agency Frontex” in the “fight against migration”, “organised crime”,
drug trafficking and terrorism.
“The success of Frontex missions to date is undermined by the lack of
precise legal provisions on, for example, the regime governing Frontex
measures with regard to e.g. sovereign action executed by national
ships or planes and responsibilities for refugees, asylum seekers and
castaways. Therefore, priority should be given to the development of
such common rules.“
Accordingly, member states should do more to grant Frontex more
responsibility in short-term “missions”, in setting up regional
departments and providing technical assistance and other materials.
Frontex should not only train national border protection troops, but
also inspect and evaluate them. More deportations (“return flights”)
are to be carried out under the independent “initiative, organisation
and coordination” of Frontex. The aim is to develop a common “corporate
identity” of all EU border troops as “European border guards”. EU
border troops should also operate outside of the EU, for example
between Lybia, Niger and Chad. At sea their responsibility should be
expanded to the “territorial waters of affected third countries”.

Of great concern to Home Affairs ministers is the standardisation of
security technologies. Civil and military research should be further
merged in the “European Security Research Programme” (ESRP, the ESRP
alone has a budget of 1.4 billion Euros for 2007-2013). The links
between national and supra-national authorities, private businesses and
think tanks are evident in the example of how Germany contributes to
the ESRP; through representatives of the BKA (Federal criminal
investigation authority), the ‚Fraunhofer Gesellschaft‘ (a leading
scientific think tank), the arms companies Siemens, Diehl and EADS.

European police authorities are irritated by data protection, the
increasing use of encryption software and encrypted telecommunication
(PGP, Skype). The proposal is to develop standards for the future that
make it easier to carry out bugging operations. Also in the area of
video surveillance the intention is to harmonise the systems in order
to diminish technical problems that stand in the way of common access
to biometric data for example. More research is to be undertaken
regarding police deployment of “un-manned systems” (so-called “Unmanned
air vehicles” (UAV), remote controlled “drones” with cameras
installed). A number of police forces in Europe are testing the use of
UAVs within police operations more generally. The use of UAVs in
Switzerland has already led to arrests of migrants along the “green

Data bases and new technical developments play a central role in the
redesign of EU Home Affairs. This logic ensures that security and
individual rights can only flourish in an “atmosphere of collective
security”, as the former EU Commissioner Frattini explains. His words
are echoed in the strategy paper; New technologies and common databases,
“ensure more security for citizens and at the same time greater protection of their right to privacy.“
The argument of critics, that access to the data of all EU citizens by
hundreds of thousands of European security personnel is in itself a
security risk, is turned on its head in the most absurd way.
The repression authorities are no longer confronted with the problem of
gathering data in light of the many ways in which data is currently
generated and collected: registration and revenue offices, provider
data, banks, user profiles on the internet (MySpace, Facebook, Second
Life), e-government, travel profiles, telecommunication surveillance,
video surveillance, GPS. To be ‚armed‘ in “the era of cyber-space”
rests on adequate administration if data and the ability to make
’sense‘ of it. The talk is of an “almost limitless amounts of
potentially useful information”.
“Information is the key to protecting the public and in an increasingly
connected world in which public security organisations will have access
to almost limitless amounts of potentially useful information. This is
a challenge as well as an opportunity – public security organisations
will need to transform the way they work if they are to master this
data tsunami and turn it into intelligence that produces safe, open and
resilient communities.“
To facilitate European-wide data exchange interior ministers have
already agreed to 6 of 49 “types of relevant information”. DNA,
finger-printing, Ballistics, vehicle registration, telephone numbers
and registration data. This catalogue is to expanded to a “Top-Ten”
list in 2009. A severe problem are the different standards that exist
within the member states with respect to hardware, software, format,
but also the systematisation of data. The ‚Future Group‘ would like to
set up a “European Union Information Management Strategy” (EU IMS) in
order to develop standards and promote system cooperation.
“The key to effectiveness will be using technology to connect the
capabilities of a multitude of stakeholders and ensure the right
information gets to the right person in the form they are best able to
An “interoperable platform” should facilitate better communication
between the different police forces of the member states and the EU
institutions. Existing databases such as the Schengen Information
System II (SIS II), the Frontex-Portal Border Technet, the Europol
Network European Information System (EIS) or the biometric visa
database VIS are to be connected as “convergent networks”. With this, a
surveillance network of previously unknown dimensions will be created,
and will function as a central nodal point of Europol, as a “competence
centre for technical and coordinative support“. In the long-term,
Europol is to develop a “security partnership with Interpol” (the
second-largest international organisation, second only to the UN) and
cooperate closely with SitCen, the exchange platform for intelligence.

The paper proposes that data exchange should also be extended to
“third countries”. The focus for this is the USA whose regulations
already allow the release of data to other authorities and countries.
The intention is to decide upon setting up “Euro-Atlantic area of
cooperation” by 2014. Real-time data flows will play an important role
in this, whereby access to large volumes of data by the authorities
will be possible from any place in Europe, also during police
operations. For this, broadband mobile networks are being built. At the
same time, technologies such as RFID, WLAN or Bluetooth will enable
live-protocolling of behavioural patterns.
Special investigative techniques should be placed higher on the agenda.
[…] Member States should prioritise investment in innovative
technologies that enable automated data analysis and improve real-time
collaboration. Research in these areas should be encouraged, ensuring
that ideas can move quickly from a research context to practical
Automated data analysis functions in the following way. Computers
systematise data of persons, objects or criminal offences (as processes
that run in the background). They can be constructed as relationship
diagrams. These are compared and risk analyses constructed from them.
The software can also process audio files such as those obtained
through telecommunication surveillance or excerpts from interrogations.
The result is a visualised “mapping” of complex relational structures.
Three-dimensional pictures are created through the generation of
different information ‚layers‘ that are placed on top of each to
identify ‚clusters‘. This software can provide assistance in
decision-making that corroborates previous data, incorporating
simulations (e.g. larger police operations at summits or sport events).
Used in real-time these can identify “suspicious telephone
conversations”or, combined with biometrics, can identify unusual
behaviour or clothing features.

Such risk analyses mark a shift towards a “proactive approach” to
policing. A population or certain groups can be placed under general
suspicion and researched by machines. With this, police and
intelligence services intend to foresee crimes. Here, a fundamental
paradigm shift within police operations is taking place. To date,
police can only take action if a crime has occurred or if there is
evidence of a criminal offence; thus, legislation regulating police
operations will have to be changed to accommodate these shifts towards
preemptive strategies.

The strategy paper of the Future Group advises the EU to use
“preventive and repressive” measures against “terrorist threats”,
complimenting these with “proactive” measures with the help of civil
society and business. A particular focus is the internet. Beside
surveillance centres, active intervention through the internet should
also contribute to what is being called “de-radicalisation” by making
use of “cultural intelligence”, taking account of “cyber-language”. Yet
this is not the whole of the information war of the cyber-speaking
interior ministers. They also advise on the need for media strategies,
“focusing on inter-cultural dialogue and developing a clear and
convincing positive message to different communities in Europe and
abroad – possibly even in non-European languages, with regard to
European core values of good governance, fundamental rights and
safeguarding of peace and freedom.“
Data protection is strongly under-represented in the strategy paper. A
general justification for new measures is provided by the supposed
desire for people to want more surveillance and control of their lives:
“Ensuring greater public understanding of the benefits of data sharing
between Member States should be a priority. The strategy should include
a commitment to make clear to European Union citizens how information
will be processed and protected, on the basis of proportionality and
This new five year plan for Home Affairs is accompanied by a concerned
look to the political developments within the EU: In Spring, a new
Commission president will be decided upon, in June a new parliament
will be elected. The publication of the strategy paper, ‚Freedom,
Security, Privacy – European Affairs in an Open World‘ intends to
assist the new (presumably more right-wing) parliament in ratifying the
changes in EU security policy without much resistance. Their
conclusion, that the strategy paper should only be understood as
“reflections and ideas” should be understood as a mere euphemism in
light of the concrete nature of the plans proposed in the paper.

21 of the 27 EU Member States are also members of NATO. Below, we assess the proposals for a new strategic direction of NATO.

“A Hungry Man is an Angry Man”
The NATO strategy paper, “Towards a Grand Strategy for an Uncertain World”

NATO is looking forward to its 60th anniversary with plans for a
transformation and expansion of its spheres of influence. In 2009, the
response to elites‘ sense of ‚increasing insecurity‘ in the world will
be answered with a reformed and better-armed NATO, with new members,
new areas of responsibility, new measures and simplified
decision-making structures. The existing consensus principle is to be
discarded, meaning that individual member states will no longer be able
to block missions. Only those who actively participate in a particular
NATO mission will be allowed to participate in decision-making (in
other words, only those who pay have a say). In future, NATO missions
could be possible without a UN mandate:
“in addition to the obvious case of self-defence in the absence of a UN
Security Council (UNSC) authorisation, we regard the use of force as
being legitimate if there is no time to get the UNSC involved, or if
the UNSC proves incapable of reaching a decision at a time when
immediate action is required to protect large numbers of human beings.
Should such extreme and exceptional situations occur, UN authorisation
ought to be obtained after initial operations begin”.
NATO is a relic of the Cold War. It was constituted as a “transatlantic
defence coalition” of European and North American countries at the end
of the Second World War. Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has been
searching for a new raison d’être in a transformed geopolitical and
economic environment. To this end, missions are now carried out under
the umbrella terms of “human security”, as “peace-keeping” and
“humanitarian” interventions, “crisis management” or “conflict
prevention”. At present, NATO troops are deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq,
Darfur and Kosovo. At least 240 nuclear missiles are stationed in
Europe alone (Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Turkey) and
nuclear first strikes form part of the renewal of NATO strategy under
discussion in the paper assessed here. It’s authors state that,
“The first use of nuclear must remain in the quiver of escalation as
the ultimate instrument to prevent the use of weapons of mass
destruction, in order to avoid truly existential dangers.“
In future, NATO should respond proactively to “security crises” of
member states in light of the grave challenges in a new era of
“Security challenges are predominantly socio-economic, not
military-technical, in character. […] Military-technical
considerations remain relevant in the context of the military strength
of authoritarian regimes, the acquisition of weapons of mass
destruction, and the tactical capability of armed combatants in
intrastate wars. […] NATO must become a more effective instrument for
the analysis and discussion of the socio-economic conditions that drive
the security threats it faces and the policies designed to meet them.“
The overhaul of NATO’s existing strategy concept is considered
necessary to provide protection from the challenges increased
socio-economic conflicts are expected to pose in the coming years:
climate change, energy crises, food crises, “uncontrolled migration”,
“human trafficking” and “terrorism”. New threat scenarios are provided
as the basis for NATO’s new direction: natural catastrophes, resource
wars, “angry hungry men” who become insurgent, female “victims of human
trafficking” who need to be saved in light of the threats of human
trafficking and organised crime. NATO’s perspective on socio-economic
contexts clearly reflects that of a regime that has the intention of
(re-)establishing and maintaining the status quo of economic and
political power relations and is concerned with meeting rising social
conflict military means.

NATO’s expanded remit is to be coupled with expanded capabilities.
“Civil-military cooperation” is to be extended, areas of responsibility
interwoven. The “Comprehensive Approach” that is advocated demands a
“concurrent deployment of all available civil and military elements, in order to end hostilities and re-establish order”
“Civil elements” consist of police, intelligence services, research,
academies, civil defence, and the private security industry. NATO would
like to be able to deploy the EU police force EGF in Vicenza.
“Civil-military cooperation” means the militarisation of police work,
which means concretely the internal build-up of arms in conjunction
with anti-terror legislation. Following the logic that terrorism is no
longer something that happens elsewhere, military deployments on
homeland territory are easily justified. NATO’s ‚Comprehensive
Approach‘ is echoed in the strategic approaches of the member states‘
interior ministries who are working on ‚fusing‘ internal and external
security under the concept of ‚Homeland Security‘. More military
presence at home, better cooperation of interior and foreign
intelligence services and common databases (the databases of Europol
are used for military intelligence gathering in Kosovo). NATO should be
a main guarantor of the security of “critical infrastructure” (e.g.
energy, transport, communication) within member states. By appealing to
high levels of insecurity, preemptive and proactive measures are
demanded, in order to foresee and predict threats and prevent them
before they even exist. Initiative, interpretation and decision-making
power must be retained at all times. Differences are made between
“own-initiative” (proactive), preemption, prevention and reaction, in
order to enable a qualitatively new approach to the prediction and
thwarting of risks.
“Deterrence in our time thus still avails itself of creating
uncertainty in the opponent’s mind – no longer reactively but
proactively. What is needed is a policy of deterrence by proactive
denial, in which pre-emption is a form of reaction when a threat is
imminent, and prevention is the attempt to regain the initiative in
order to end the conflict […] Pre-emption is the reactive response,
when an opponent’s action is considered imminent; whereas prevention is
a proactive step aimed at denial – and thus at conflict termination –
in a situation in which the threat is not yet imminent, but in which
evidence indisputably points to the unavoidability of conflict.
Pre-emption is widely seen as a legal act of self-defence under
customary international law, whereas the question of the legality of a
preventive use of force so far remains unanswered.”
Here, the path is laid to use not-yet existing threats as an
opportunity to intervene militarily where the dominant economic and
political interests need to be secured:
“The purpose will often be the establishment of governance, free and
just trade (including free and peaceful access to critical resources)
and economic development and assistance, as requested, in establishing
a well functioning state.“
This story of ‚good governance‘ for the pursuit of ‚free trade‘ can
also be found in proactive media strategies as part of the
“Comprehensive Approach”.
“These steps must be accompanied by well coordinated and media efforts,
which could help achieve the objectives without recourse to
intervention. At the same time, such media efforts might help to pave
the way for the hearts and minds campaign, which must accompany any
armed intervention.“
NATO interventions are geared towards the re-establishment of stability
for capital accumulation. NATO’s role in the process of securitisation
is to ensure the necessary capabilities to deal with future ‚threats‘.
Within a world view that thinks in terms of ‚threats‘ and ‚dangers‘,
climate change is also portrayed as a threat, the social consequences
of which fall in the area of responsibility of NATO. World-wide, NATO
expects an increase in social conflict as the effect of an unequal
distribution of the consequences of climate change, as well as the
contradictory logics of the need to curb emissions through the
reduction in the use of energy versus the mantra of economic growth
which requires an increase in energy consumption.
“Climate change will affect, and is already affecting, nearly all areas
of our lives, including security and the geopolitical situation. It is
expected to cause further redistribution of wealth and a subsequent
migration of people. Some regions that have always been on the
periphery of the world, such as Greenland or Siberia, may become
strategically important. Canada is already having certain sovereignty
issues with the United States over sea passages through the Canadian
Arctic. The conflict in Darfur is said to be "the first climate change
war" stemming from years of droughts and subsequent food shortages in
the region”.
It is evident from this strategy paper that proposals for a new
direction seek to broaden NATO’s competencies within a global security
architecture. Serious concern on behalf of elites over the recent onset
of multiple socio-economic crises on a global scale, accompanied by
fears over the increase of social conflicts regarding the distribution
of wealth and resources, are mirrored in proposals for a more
comprehensive approach for a NATO that can intervene militarily and
through police forces to ensure that these ‚threats‘ are overcome in
the interests of capital.

Everyday struggles and social movements in the affected countries
are met in terms of this logic. The militarisation of social conflict
exceeds NATO missions and is characterised by a much wider strategies
of domination under a much broader logic of social control and the
securitisation of everyday life: Surveillance, data retention,
criminalisation of poverty, militarised fighting of migration, military
interventions on homeland are all expressions of the intensification of
social disparities that are no longer able to be solved through
integration (“The Dark Side of Globalisation”). This discourse and
practice of securitisation is increasingly permeating all aspects of
our lives of which the developments within NATO are only one expression.

A Comprehensive Approach for Social Movements
Proposal for a Campaign against the EU

The phenomena described in the assessments of current proposals and
plans for a transformation of EU and NATO approaches in the area of
security policy present social movements with great challenges.
Clearly, there is a logic at work here that is engulfing ever-more of
social life. Resisting the double challenge of militarisation and
securitisation cannot be left only to peace movements, antimilitarist,
civil liberties or anti-repression groups – particularly when many of
these operate on a national level. In a society where economic
processes divide people into winners and losers, where in a global
context disparities are intensifying, plans for a more ‚Comprehensive
Approach‘ and ‚Homeland Security‘ are attempts to create order and
security for capital accumulation through military means. Where
conflicts arise that cannot be solved through integration,
securitisation provides the solution. The effects of this are
experienced in the every-day as increased social control, the
criminalisation of poverty and the fight against migration. Under a
securitisation logic, every social conflict is seen as a potential
threat. A politics of fear expressed through images of enemies and
threat scenarios legitimises authoritarian and militarised strategies
of domination. More control, exploitation and a state of exception
become the norm.

To highlight and counter these developments, we propose a “Summer of
Resistance 2.0”, a ‚comprehensive approach‘ of social movement
mobilisations against the NATO summit in April 2009, the Swedish EU
presidency in the second half of 2009 and the G8 summit in Italy.

We join the proposal for a general engagement and intervention in
the policies of the EU in 2009 (see…).
A number of European groups are engaging critically with EU politics
and are affected by the consequences of them. Themes, and thus
participants to such a campaign could be:

  • Migration
  • Filesharing networks
  • Alternative providers
  • Terrorism Cases
  • Data retention
  • Critical lawyers
  • Civil liberties groups
  • Lissabon Treaty
  • Antimilitarism
  • Peace movement
  • NATO
  • G8
  • Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs)
  • Climate, Environment

Networked and collectively acting social movements can put a limit
to these security phantasies and strategies in order to push open the
space to make alternatives visible. We would like to discuss this
proposal at future encounters of social movements. Please send us any
feedback at


September 2008 |