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Communist Party of Sweden Issue 3

Communist Party of Sweden – Threats to peace in the Nordic region

With the Nordic one today means Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland. In older history the Nordic has been an almost mythical concept, built on the Viking age, common linguistic roots and magnificent hero epics. Until recently there was no place there for Finland, specifically, which was part of Sweden since the 1200s.

The cooperation between the Nordic countries in modern times was established in 1952 with the formation of the Nordic council (Finland a member since 1955), which is a cooperation between the parliaments of the countries. After some years Greenland, the Faroe islands and Åland were also given limited influence. In 1971 the Nordic council of ministers was created as a body for cooperation between the governments of the countries. It would have been logical and a positive signal to proceed according to purely geographical conditions and the proximity to the Arctic to create a cooperation on the Cap of the North which would have included the Soviet Union’s northern European part, but the anticommunism wouldn’t allow that. Only the communist parties of Sweden, Norway and Finland, whose northernmost districts under many decades have had a brotherly cooperation with the Murmansk district, had that idea.

In 1952 the countries who sought cooperation were capitalist states with different security policy situations: Denmark, Iceland (a member since 1955) and Norway, members of NATO, Iceland with a NATO-base that obviously had nuclear weapons (closed in 2006), Sweden and Finland nonaligned countries, but Finland with a cooperation treaty with the Soviet union. Among the first commitments for the member states was a passport union in 1954 that laid the foundation of a common labor market which was an advantage in postwar Europe. Ever since that time the Nordic countries have been associated with an idea of high standards of living and a peaceful disposition. Yes, there is even an idea of a “Nordic dimension” within capitalism, some “nobler” form, for example within the European union. But the Nordic council which since 2017 has an office in Brussels doesn’t differ from other actors.

The Nordic council works with technical committees, foreign and defense policy is handled only by the presidium of the council and defense matters lie completely outside the councils tasks.

The Nordic area is among the most militarized areas in Europe and therefore the peace is threatened by incidents, provocations, treaties, war exercises and confrontations which sooner or later could turn into acts of war. NATO is eager to secure its northern flank by getting Sweden and Finland as members and thus increase the proximity to the Arctic and move its eastern frontier to Russia’s border. In Sweden five right-wing parties are in favor of a NATO-membership and the social democrats, the left party and the greens against. The Sweden democrats have recently switched sides and are now in favor of a membership. In the public opinion there has for a long time been a majority against, but this has shrunk somewhat in recent years. Because Sweden has been hard work for NATO the resistance is being broken with the policy of the small steps which has been implemented by different governments, including the social democrats, who are aware that a direct decision of membership would make the party lose a large part of its voter base. Therefore the social democrats push for political and military cooperation with the equally nonaligned neighbor Finland which however could break apart, given changes in government in any of the countries.

The small steps towards NATO-membership are The partnership for peace (PFF) from 1994, recurring multinational military exercises with NATO, leasing of Swedish territory for international military tests and exercises, North European Aerospace Test Range(NEAT), adoption of NATO standards, host nation support (HNS, 2016), and the defense cooperation Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO, 2017) which Sweden has joined even though the participation was voluntary. To this threats belongs such as when the defense minister of the USA warned the defense minister of Sweden that a Swedish approval of the UNs global ban on nuclear weapons from 2017 would jeopardize NATO support in the event of a conflict. Another form of blackmail is the Swedish defense’s demand for dramatic appropriation increases for the 2020s and 2030s which in turn is to comply with both EU-PESCO and NATO’s demand for its member states to contribute to armaments with two percent of GDP.

The 9th of December 2020 turned into a historical date for the non-aligned (in name only) Swedish foreign- and defense policies when the Sweden democrats joined the proclamation of the liberal and conservative parties to turn to NATO in terms of crisis. Thus, for the first time, there is now a parliamentary majority for doing so.

The host nation treaty with NATO opens Sweden’s territory for deployment of staff, weapons, warships, planes, drones and exercises in times of peace, crisis and war. One article gives NATO permission to use Swedish territory for military activity against a third country. It is now confirmed that two new regiments in Sollefteå and Falun together with the expansion of NATO bases on the Norwegian coast will create logistical prerequisites enabling NATO troops moving east.

Every rearmament in our countries is presented as a necessity due to a changed security political situation in the near area, caused by “threats from Russia”. “The Russian threat” is like a virus that has infected the Swedish military and political establishment while the working peoples immune system, for the moment at least, seems to be stronger. A Russian attack on the Baltic states, an unlikely suicide attempt by any country, is among NATO’s scenarios for war. On the other hand the western imperialism is attracted to free access to the Russian landmass with all its resources, not the limited form that already exists. The fact that two imperialist powers like NATO and Russia share borders in Northern Europe and that the two “nonaligned” buffer states Sweden and Finland offer a fake resistance results in there being an imminent risk of military confrontation.

The Baltic Sea which once developed into a sea of peace as long as there were socialist countries at its shores has become a sea of confrontation. The western imperialism has laid hands on the Baltic states, Sweden especially on Latvia. The Nordic council has established cooperation with the Baltic assembly, a parliamentary cooperation between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and in that way expanded the Nordic. The Baltic countries and Poland have become members of NATO, have bases and participates with ever-increasing numbers of soldiers in the recurring Baltops exercises. Latvian Riga has become the site for one of NATOs “excellence centers”, StratCom (NATO Strategic Communications), which deals with cyber defense (or cyber warfare) and hunts “fake news”. German Kiel houses the NATO “center of excellence” for operations in confined and shallow waters in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Sweden’s largest island Gotland has received a new regiment. NATO-maneuvers with Swedish and Finnish participation and Russian maneuvers replace one another.

Sweden has a large space-technological industry and plays a considerable role in the European Space Agency (ESA), the European space agency. In Esrange outside Kiruna Swedish space industry is conducted with weather balloons and manufacturing of mini satellites after the recently implemented expansion of the station. Apart from collecting space junk, are mini satellites being built for space war where states attack each other’s satellites? Mini satellites can rid space of orbital debris, but can also attack other satellites. China has demonstrated that this is possible by attacking one of its own satellites. By its own admission to visitors a couple of years ago Esrange works to 60 percent for Sweden and to 40 percent with foreign missions. Esrange is one of the world’s largest downloading stations for maps which go straight through the US spy base Menwith Hill in Yorkshire in Great Britain to the National Security Agency (NSA).

Another actor is the National Defense Radio Establishment (FRA), formed in 1942, with presence on Lovön near Stockholm, Lerkil south of Gothenburg and other places. The FRA-law from 2009 statutes extended possibilities for wire-taping of civilians. Moreover FRA controls the cables under the Baltic Sea. In 2013 the investigative British journalist Duncan Campbell who in the end of the 1980s had exposed Echelon, a global system for satellite surveillance which was run by Five Eyes (USA, Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zeeland) visited Stockholm. At the time of the visit he was analyzing sources from whistle blower Edward Snowden. According to newspaper Dagens Nyheter Campbell said that Sweden developed the FRA-law with help from the US and Great Britain and is one of about 30 countries who have third party agreements with Five Eyes, to an extent like Israel.

Where one can rightly speak of a new dimension for the Cap of the North is the development in the Arctic with warming-up and melting sea- and mainland ice and the consequences for the concerned countries. It is effects on sea routes, transport routes, deposits of gas, oil and rare metals, fishing waters, contamination, military activities and the living conditions of the coastal population. Eight countries and six bodies of indigenous peoples (one of them the Sami) formed in 1996 the Arctic Council through the Ottawa declaration which statutes protection of the arctic environment, sustainable development and improvement of the arctic inhabitants economic, social and cultural life. It is about a challenge which would need an international cooperation without national egotistical interests. Considering the strong competing interests this is not conceivable. Nobody talks about the military aspects but we experience more and more military maneuvers in arctic setting and on the Thule base on Greenland, on Norwegian Vardö and on Svalbard which according to international treaty shall be demilitarized, there exists military installations. These function firstly for satellite navigation which the Norwegian journalist Bård Wormdal has written books about. The orbit for satellites lay best from pole to pole. And note that no warfare today take place without satellite support.

The Arctic Ocean is also the access road for Russia’s nuclear powered northern fleet, stationed on the Kola Peninsula.

The Nordic council of ministers arctic cooperation was renewed through an arctic cooperation program for the time 1:st January 2018 to 31:st December 2021. The content is described as “Planet, Peoples, Prosperity and Partnership” and shall bond with the UNs 17 global goals.

It’s not just the communist parties that see and worries about the increasing militarization. Peace on Earth is an ancient human longing. Capitalism stands against this longing, and drives the develoment towards war, notably fueled by the armaments industry like Lockheed Martin, United Technologies Corporation, Boeing, BAE Systems, Kongsberg, Patria Oyj, Saab and Bofors/BAE, just to name a few. The peace movements countless divided organizations, networks and initiatives also finds out what happens and acts but there is no anticapitalist inference. The communist parties who see the war as the capitalism’s/imperialism’s utmost consequence must still not take a defeatist, exhausted stance but should contribute to maturation of the popular war resistance. The peace movement rejects contact with the communists and red banners but has a presence on the internet and can be reached. Therefore our parties needs to fill their slogans No to Nato and EU with content through examples and analyses. Within the Swedish peace movement broad consensus prevails around a nuclear weapon free zone, nonalignment, peoples- and territorial defense and the military’s environmental impact. The communists should struggle against rampant defense spending. The billions are created by the working class and should rightfully be returned to it.