As indicated in our statement "What happened in Gothenburg?", the main-stream media in Sweden and other countries have virtually ignored the politi-cal content of the massive demonstrations against he EU in Gothenburg on June 15-17.
Reporting has focused on demonstrators who resorted to violence. They have been termed "fascists" by Swedish prime minister Göran Persson. Dagens Nyheter, Sweden's leading morning newspaper, called the demon-strators "terrorists". Tony Blair referred to them as "professional demonstra-tors" who travel around Europe with the intent of violently disrupting the union's deliberations. No evidence has yet been provided to confirm Blair's description, and Persson's accusation reveals that he knows nothing about fascism.
The general line in the media is that violent demonstrators are a threat to democracy, which the EU is supposed to represent. Those who oppose EU policies are urged to express themselves in a "democratic forum", and to partake in the electoral process.
A lesson in democracy
However, the rejection by the EU leaders of the Irish referendum on enlarging the union surely suggests to violently inclined demonstrators that throwing paving stones through plate-glass windows may be the only viable option for expressing the will of the people.
In the document "Göteborg European Council: Presidency Conclusions" (sic) the ministers state that "The ratification process for the Treaty of Nice will continue so that the Union is in a position to welcome new Member States from the end of 2002. In respect of the Irish referendum, the European Council confirms the conclusions adopted by the general Affairs Council in Luxembourg on 11 June, including willingness to contribute in every possible way to helping the Irish government find a way forward. It reaffirms its commitment to enlargement and to sustaining the good progress in the accession negotiations...The enlargement process is irreversible..."
Earlier in the year Göran Persson said that unanimous ratification of the Treaty of Nice was an absolute necessity for enlargement, according to the EU's own rules. He exerted a good deal of effort on negotiations with the Spanish government in order to secure their approval, and on several occa-sions he emphasized on Swedish TV that "we have to have Spain on board in order to move forward with enlargement".
But when the people of Ireland rejected enlargement the necessity for unanimous ratification suddenly disappeared. It should surprise no one if young people in Europe draw unpleasant conclusions about the EU leaders' blatant disregard for both democracy and the EU's own rules.
Conclusions such as: If the leaders of the EU so disdainfully ignore the will of the people when it does not accord with their own plans, why should the people bother expressing their will in referendums in the first place? Why not take to the streets and fight the police in order to bridge what The Econo-mist magazine refers to as "that troubling gulf between the elite and public opinion"?
The Communist Party of Sweden (SKP) does not endorse the use of violence in political demonstrations. If the EU elite shares our view and wants to show young people in Europe that democracy is preferable to violence, they should immediately declare the Treaty of Nice null and void.
The EU's approach to violence
The EU's verdict on the use of violence is ambiguous, to say the least. With respect to the violent conflict that has raged in Ireland for many decades, the EU ministers have never said a word or lifted a finger.
General Jackson, the British officer who commanded NATO troops when they moved into Kosovo, was a lieutenant in command of the troops who killed 13 unarmed Irish citizens in the infamous Bloody Sunday shootings in 1972. Jackson has never to our knowledge been indicted in a court of law for his part in this crime. Nor has he ever been reprimanded by the leaders of the EU.
The EU elite played a vital role in the criminal and violent dismemberment of Yugoslavia, and the criminal aerial bombardment in 1999. They have openly supported the KLA, an organization that is widely known for its brutally violent tactics. We have yet to hear them condemn the continued bombing of Iraq or the Western-financed armed rebellion in Angola.
If the EU elite and the European mainstream media have any respect for the opinions of mankind in general and the young people of Europe in particular, they should explain why throwing a paving stone through the window of a bank in Gothenburg arouses the wrath of Tony Blair and Göran Persson, while the institutionalized carnage in the Balkans and elsewhere is not only condoned, but encouraged.