Today Austria was given the chance to participate in a public opinion poll about whether we want to keep the compulsory military service or introduce a professional army. It was a big political discussion and media topic for weeks and a big deal. The public gets to decide.
Though, what exactly can the public decide?
In simple words we got to choose between a professional killing army and compulsory war service. So we the people should choose which one is the lesser of two evils for us.
The Austrian political parties also were having inconstant opinions about it. Anyway, their final conclusions were: Social Party and Green Party – professional army, Conservatives and Freedom Party – military service.
A smaller movement suggested either to boycott the public opinion poll or write down a real alternative and a real choice on the ballot. An alternative ballot was put on the internet to download and print with a 3rd option – an unarmed operation for disaster management, safety and social services with professional collectively agreed, paid volunteers.
Another suggestion, though, not given as an option in the real vote, was introducing a minister of peace instead of a minister of defense.
The Solidary Workshop created a petition against both military service and professional army and pro neutrality which can be found online. Petition link: http://www.solidarwerkstatt.at/Forum/GegenBerufsheer.php
homepage of the Solidary Workshop: http://www.friwe.at/
The petition to create a real alternative for the opinion poll was put the parliaments homepage, but didn’t reach enough people to sign.
The first projection of the todays “choice” for Austrians:
60 % voted for compulsory war service ( ̴ 1 900 000 Austrians)
40 % voted for professional killing army ( ̴ 1 250 000 Austrians)
So the prognosis is, neither a change for the worse, nor a change for the better, because it was never an option.