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Rally against "Sky Shield" participation in Vienna

Aktualisiert: 17. Nov. 2023

On 7th of July, at a meeting in Switzerland, Austrian Defense Minister Claudia Tanner signed a "declaration of intent" for Austria to join the "Sky Shield" military agreement. On the same day, a rally was held in front of the Swiss Embassy in Vienna, opposing rearmament and defending neutrality. The extent to which attempts are being made to prevent debate on this issue was already evident a day earlier, when a cultural event organized by the "Self-Determined Austria" alliance on the topic of the peace movement was "canceled".

Despite the short notice and the date in the middle of summer (obviously little attention should fall on this topic) more than 100 people participated in the rally. In all speeches it was unanimously pointed out that this agreement is nothing but rearmament and preparation for war. “Sky Shield" obliges all participating countries to do this with the concept of "layered defense". It is already clear that Austria would have to invest several billion in the required weapons systems.

The participation in "Sky Shield" subordinates Austria to the military plans of Germany and NATO. As has been emphasized several times, it is an abandonment of sovereignty and a subordination to the interests of Germany. Defense Minister Tanner said "a neutral country needs a strong national defense". It is clear that the Austrian population is thus drawn all the more into the warlike plans of Germany and the USA. That means into imperialist wars directed against the peoples. The rulers in Austria, it was emphasized, have already proven in the Yugoslav war that they participate in the wars of the EU in order to be able to "play along", to expand their spheres of influence for the exploitation of labor, raw materials and industry of other countries. They are pursuing the same interests today.

Tanner professed her "reservation of neutrality" at the time of signing. A supporter of the “Rote Fahne” (Red Flag) stated in a speech: "But what has been ‘kept’ from neutrality? Austria's accession to the EU was also subject to the ‘neutrality proviso’; after accession, this was immediately ‘undermined’. This is how the rulers see neutrality ... A concept of neutrality that is in the sense of the workers and the people demands that we fight for an immediate exit not only from ‘Sky Shield’ but from all EU military treaties (...)"

The rally was able to make an important contribution to the defense of neutrality and against rearmament, although many of the participants still had the bitter aftertaste of the previous evening in their mouths. At the cultural event organized by "Self-Determined Austria", the self-produced film "Voices for Peace" should have been shown, with musical accompaniment by the choir "La Speranza". The film consists of numerous interviews with peace activists, personal acquaintances and also "people on the street", showing that the mood among the population does not correspond to the prevailing warmongering of the monopoly media. But the operators of the pub "Fräulein's fabulous summer garden" at the Danube Canal ended the event because something was said "against NATO" and they did not want to stand for a "political event" - a flimsy excuse.

The kicking out at the pub "Fräulein" is not an isolated case. It shows how necessary it is to show attitude against warmongering, an attitude that was clearly demonstrated at the rally against "Sky Shield". We would like to express our solidarity with the activists of "Self-Determined Austria", also in the further struggle against armament and imperialist war.


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