Milwaukee Anti-War Committee holds “No to NATO!” teach-in
Milwaukee, WI – Over 20 people gathered at Zao MKE Church to attend the “No to NATO!” teach-in hosted by the Milwaukee Anti-War Committee on May 6. In response to the ongoing war in Ukraine, the Milwaukee Anti-war Committee (MAC) held this event to challenge the pro-NATO narrative pushed in the U.S. Presented by MAC member Stephanie Spalatin and her mother Mira Spalatin, attendees learned about some of the crimes NATO has committed both in the present in Ukraine and in the past in places like the former Yugoslavia, as well as a general framing of NATO as an offensive and not defensive apparatus of U.S. and European Union. imperialism.
Stephanie Spalatin kicked the event off with a presentation covering the history of NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, from its inception to its role in the present day. She detailed how despite its initial formation as a U.S. response to the perceived threat of the Soviet Union, NATO remained and in fact expanded after the Soviet Union fell, bent on maintaining U.S. unipolarity.
NATO went on to invade countries such as Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Syria and many others. Spalatin explained how the U.S. admitted to staging a coup in Ukraine in 2014, intensifying conflict in the area and emboldening nazi groups. Unfortunately, the threat of NATO and the U.S., and the insistence on integrating Ukraine into NATO, all but assured the inter imperialist war with Russia.
“Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine was illegal by international law – as were the bombings of Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and all the other countries over the last 30-plus years by NATO,” Stephanie said. “But an invasion was inevitable, as Russia was not going to sit back and allow NATO to assist in the genocide of the people of the Donbas.”
After hearing a summary of the history of NATO and the current events in Ukraine from Stephanie, her mother Mira Spalatin followed up by elaborating on the NATO campaign that destroyed Yugoslavia in the 1990s, which she was involved in resisting in Milwaukee as an American Serb. She described the effect that the campaign had on residents of Yugoslavia, where old ethnic and religious tensions were reignited, and Yugoslavia was split between the west, portrayed as modern and democratic and supported by NATO, and the east, portrayed as Byzantine, primitive and communist, supported by the Soviet Union.
She asserted that Yugoslavia did not need the U.S. and NATO coming in, and said of NATO’s meddling, “It’s like a formula” that never has the best interest of the people in mind. She strikingly remarked, “Democracy is not brought to you by someone else. You have to struggle for it, you have to die for it yourself. It is built through generations, and it is going to be your style, not American style or British style.”
Though the U.S. media propagates pro-NATO rhetoric daily, those residing in the U.S. do not have to go along with this story. It is imperative to study history, cut through the lies, and to resist propaganda that portrays NATO as harmless or a beneficial force in the world. As Stephanie Spalatin said in her concluding remarks, “These are not interventions. They are invasions.”
With many invasions in the past, the urgency of the present, and the likelihood of more invasions in the future as NATO and the U.S. try to maintain their hold, the Milwaukee Anti-war Committee is firmly stating, “No to NATO!”