Dear members of the Forum permanent de la societé civile,

how do we figure the Convention 2012, for which we are preparing? My own first associations are to 'something like the Congress of India, and even to Gandhi's 'Hind swaraj'. My second thoughts then go in the direction of what Altiero Spinelli described as the third phase in the unfinished second part of his autobiography:

"Fra il '54 e il '60' (?) ho lavorato sull'ipotesi che fosse possibile mobilitare l'europeismo, ormai diffuso, in una protesta popolare crescente - il Congresso del Popolo Europeo - diretta contro la legittimità stessa degli stati nazionali" -- Between '54 and '60 '(?) I worked on the assumption that it was possible to mobilize Europeanism, by then common, in a growing popular protest - the Congress of the European People - directed against the very legitimacy of nation states." (The English is mine and, as you can see, English is not my first language.)

Today, the 'Europeanism' which Spinelli had in mind would have to be squarely combined with the denuclearisation of Europe; but this was already made clear in my previous message yesterday, I think.

Spinelli, who already in the 1960ies spoke up for European nuclear disarmament and the military disengagement of the US from Europe, did not live to see Chernobyl (the Chernobyl disaster happened in April 1986, Spinelli died in May that year). Neither did he hear about the Fukushima catastrophe. Nor did he experience the fall of the Soviet Union, or the rise of the internet, two world historical developments, which should by now have resulted in the dissolution of NATO as a military organisation.

Obviously, the power relations between the West and the rest have also changed considerably since Spinelli's time. Why would "we" in the West still want to keep and modernise "our" nuclear strike forces (that is, the French, British, Israeli, and, of course, US nuclear weapons systems)?

The most important "reason" for this madness is nothing else than the tendency of the transatlantic, Western, military-industrial complex to continue its "development" by itself, unregulated, like a stone in motion with its own inertia. This tendency is what the historian E.P. Thompson, when he analysed the Cold War between Russia and West in the 1980ies, labelled as Exterminism. Unfortunately, the European Nuclear Disarmament (END) movement which Thompson inspired seems to have ended. But the phenomenon he called Exterminism certainly lives on.

The modernisation and proliferation of the weapons of mass destruction (WMD), which are nowadays built with nanotechnology, biotech and robotics, and the corollary of this process, namely the counter-weapons, like the ongoing construction of the missile defence shields, all together form an inexhaustible goldmine. With the extraction of its deadly military-industrial-academic gold, even more than with its virtual management in the tax-havens, our whole vicious anti-social, unsustainable, un-economical and speculative financial architecture stands and falls. Has not the word Capitalism begun to sound like an euphemism?

And yet this system certainly continues to be Capitalism at home, and global Imperialism abroad. Because, in their efforts to legitimise the aforementioned Complex, our governments also try to imagine and convince us of some more or less vague military threats to deter with their modernised doomsday arsenals. And nowadays it is, of course, the countries of the Global South, rather than Russia, which are supposed to pose those threats.

I now would like to come back to the question with which I begun this message: how do we envision the coming Congress of the European Peoples in 2012? Have we, as a part of our preparations, thought of setting up a working group on the military-industrial complex? Have we had the guts to enter the nuclear issues? Can you advice me on which PrepCom I should choose for my participation?

Greetings from Loviisa/Finland,

Mikael Böök

Footnote: The autobiography of Altiero Spinelli, "Come ho tentato di diventare saggio", was published in 1984 and 1987. The quoted sentence appears on p. 348 of the the edition in 1999 from the Società editrice il Mulino 1999. The name of Spinelli embellishes the house of the European Parliament in Brussels, yet his literary work seems not to have been translated into English. Neither, it seems, are translations into French or German to be found.