ABSTRACT

Theorizing EU militarization as a comprehensive concept of control Contrary to the official discourse, GMES is not merely a civilian project, but rather an episode in the currently unfolding story of the militarization of EU space policy. Space militarization has been defined as ‘the use of space-based technology and infrastructure for the purposes of supporting military opera­ tions and functions’ (Peoples, 2011: 76). The chapter argues that this is exactly the case with GMES. Moreover, the origins of the project are found not in any ‘objective’, natural and de-politicized necessity of European security, but rather in the politico­ economic necessities of European capitalism and its need for power projection and maintenance of corporate profitability. In other words, EU space policy militarization belongs to a broader context of EU mil­ itarization per se, defined as ‘the contradictory and tense social process in which civil society organizes itself for the production of violence’ (Gills, 1989: 1). Such a definition rightly stresses the idea of the production of vio­ lence as a process, yet it restricts it to civil society, which could be understood as a field that stands apart from the state. In fact, the process of EU militariza­ tion unfolds at the levels of the state, civil society and the EU, characterized by the persistence of inter­ state contradictions and the lack of a single EU state. This is why the development of EU mil­ space policy is also a politicized process that has required the mobilization of sources of ideological legitimacy at the EU level. The chapter’s theoretical premises are located in the historical materialist tra­ dition of European integration theory. Drawing on the conceptual pillars of his­ torical bloc and hegemony, Kees van der Pijl developed the concept of the ‘comprehensive concept of control’. The term denotes the establishment of ‘a common definition of the general interest which demarcates the “limits of the possible” for society at large’ by a class or class fraction that becomes hegem­ onic (van der Pijl, 2001: 187). A comprehensive concept of control as a form of discipline combines strategies for both socio­ economic policy and foreign and security policy. On this basis, European integration can be defined as ‘the process by which European society has been transformed to allow the imposition of the discipline of capital on a scale beyond the national state’ (Holman and van der Pijl, 2003: 79). EU mil­ space policy, together with the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) and EU armaments policy, can be viewed as instances in the formation of a comprehensive concept of control for the imposition of the discipline of internationalized aerospace and arms­ manufacturing capital beyond the militaryindustrial complexes of the member states. The use of space for military and security purposes is an integral part of this concept, integrating the economic goals of the arms and space industry with the security goals of European capital­ ism as a whole, such as power projection and internal security. Security goals are embedded in broader politico­ economic considerations, such as the expan­ sion of internationalized capital abroad, and in this respect both security and

economic goals form a unity within the military arm of the EU as a comprehen­ sive concept of control. GMES represents a critical step in the development of such a comprehensive concept of control, driven by the interests of a historical bloc structured around the hegemony of the European internationalized arms and space industry. The term ‘historical bloc’ refers to ‘an alliance of classes or fractions of classes, which attempts to establish a particular form of state and/or world order preferable to them’ (Bieler, 2000: 14). A historical bloc is formed and main­ tained through the hegemonic status of a social class or class fraction, and the leadership and action that stem from a highly developed political consciousness of that class. The historical bloc is not only a moment of instrumental, agency­ driven class power, given that its formation is also shaped by objective structural conditions. The concept is neither about relations between classes and class frac­ tions, nor about relations between structures, but instead it refers to the relations between social class power and structures, especially production structures (Joseph, 2002: 31). Crucially, a historical bloc can be sustained at the interna­ tional level as well. This point allows for the application of this theory in the study of EU mil­ space policy, given that the ruling class agency stemming out of space and arms production in the EU is not territorially restricted to the nation­ state but expands through a complex web of internationalized class linkages. In other words, the actions of this historical bloc as an agency are embedded in the structure of internationalized space and arms production, and the outcome of these actions is realized at the EU level.