Monday, 18 November 2013

UWE Arms Fair, Bristol - Drop Beats Not Bombs Rally

Just in from campaigners against the arms fair at the University of the West of England, Frenchay, Bristol. The arms fair will be taking place on Wednesday this week. More info on the arms fair and plans for protests here:

Drop beats not bombs rally
4pm @ UWE, Frenchay campus
by the bus stops

Listen out for the sound system!
The University of the West of England in Bristol is hosting an arms and 'defence' business fair on the 20th November 2013. This conference portrays itself as the main networking and business event in the UK for the MOD and the military community. See their website:

Students are coming together and welcome support to kick them off campus!

Students at UWE believe a decision to host this event is not in the interest of students or education but part of a wider shift towards profit-driven interests. We are calling on UWE not to invest itself into, promote, support or enable profit-making from/of/through wars, military uses of research, military networks, and violent approaches towards conflicts. Students also denounce the University's strategy of investing into large infrastructures which are largely useless to students and education, like the planned 20,000 seats 'UWE stadium' or UWE's massive Conference Centre, where this conference is to take place.

Please sign our petition here:

Our student newspaper, the WesternEye has published this article:

A student has written an open letter showing the related gaps between UWEs claims to sustainability and this military conference:

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Occupy Bath - Notes from the Past

Two years ago, the hot topic in the city was a small encampment in Queen Square. In six weeks, so much happened there. Many friendships were made, many people decided that enough was enough and made the decision to make a stand, and many people were inspired - and this legacy still continues today.

A few weeks ago, a friend informed me that they had received a mysterious package with my name on it, and finally got round to giving it to me earlier today. Inside was a wire-bound notebook and a card from someone I hadn't heard from in many months, the person who without a doubt spent more time at the camp than anyone else. Inside was a collection of thoughts, questions, statements, a camping rota and some loose pieces of paper with messages of support from members of the public - all written during the time of the original camp. As we have now reached the second anniversary of Occupy Bath, I thought I might share some of the contents, so that people can be reminded of exactly what the camp meant to the citizens of Bath.

Comments from the Public

The majority of these comments were simple - things like "good luck" and "keep going" - but here's a selection of the more interesting ones from the 100 or so comments. At least one is from a very well-known person, but I'll leave it to you to guess who it was and what they said...

"Very happy you're here!"
"This is great! Time for the silent majority to speak up!"
"Well done to you all - good luck and hope the weather gets better soon!"
"Keep the presence going - it's time the majority in this country had a voice"
"Excellent. There's a need for a voice!!"
"Politics is about the personal - it's about the people"
"Speaking for many"
"Keep going and be very much more ambitious"
"Well done - hope you link with the strike on 30 Nov"
"Thank you, you're speaking for many of us"
"Don't let the bastards grind you down! Support and solidarity to Occupy!"
"Let's get talking!"
"Be the change you want to see - Occupy everywhere!"
"We need to be heard!"
"Very grateful to you for being here"
"You are my heroes, I'm so heart-warmed by your commitment"
"Democracy only works with a level playing field - so state funded campaigns by parties means also no vested interest or lobbying by big money!! Governments are in the pockets of big business"
"The web widens!"
"Down with central banking!"
"Freedom is a valuable thing!"
"You are representing so many people who can't be here"
"Good to see you here. Solidarity from an NUT member"
"Thank you for representing me!"
"Sack the bankers!"
"Good luck, solidarity from Wales!"
"Hopefully the Occupy Movement can keep going and get stronger. Keep up the good work!"
"Thank you for making this statement and taking this action - do it IN MY NAME! With love"
"Sorry I can't join you all but keep it up please, you're speaking for us all!"
"I'm supporting every peaceful movement towards the better"


The following questions were put forward to be considered to give to the BRLSI for a debate on the Occupy Movement. Most are still relevant today, perhaps more so. If you weren't there, these are some of the things we were talking about at the camp:

1. Is it time for a legal ratio between minimum wage and a maximum wage?
2. Do we need more women in politics?
3. Should manifesto pledges be legally binding (at least key ones)?
4. Should we consider a universal allowance/credit ensuring food and energy for citizens?
5. Will the virtual removal of legal aid make society fairer?
6. Should MPs have a genuine local connection to their constituency (i.e. long-term residency)?
7. Should Bath have a local minimum wage as in London?
8. Do we want American insurance companies running the NHS?
9. What defines growth and competitiveness in a global economy?
10. 80% of the world's population do not have freedom of movement across all borders - is this right?
11. Does the bombing of a country for their resources influence immigration?
12. Is there a link between poverty, wars, inequality, economic instability and climate change?
13. Is growth and international competitiveness conducive to human happiness?

Ideas for Placards

Most of these suggestions came from visitors to the camp.

- We are the 99%
- Stop the Traders Gambling with Our Money
- XXX Cities Occupied Around the World
- Education for All
- Are You Happy About Minimum Wage?
- Is Your Rent Eating All Your Income?
- Slaves of the Banks
- We Didn't Vote for Traders
- There's Enough for Everyone's Need, But Not for Everyone's Greed
- 1 Job for 50 People... Are You One of the 49 Left Over?
- "The Future Isn't Inherited From Our Ancestors, It's Borrowed From Our Children" - Native American Proverb
- There's Enough For 2 Tennis Courts Per Person of Land in the UK
- Maldives, Bangladesh, Philippines Overflown By Global Warming.... Should Bath Host the Climatic Refugees?
- Having a Job = The Most Important Thing in Life?
- No, We Haven't Found a Magic Solution For Global Warming
- You Don't Change Things By Fighting the Existing System, Instead Design a New System Which Makes the Old One Obsolete
- Non-Violent Resistance Does Not Seek to Defeat or Humiliate the Opponent, But to Win His Friendship and Understanding
- We Can Have Democracy in This Country, Or We Can Have Great Wealth Concentrated in the Hands of a Few, But We Cannot Have Both
- If Not Now, When? If Not You, Who?

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Stop The UWE Arms Fair

From campaigners against the arms fair at the University of the West of England (UWE), Frenchay Campus, Bristol:



UWE will be hosting an Arms fair in the ECC on the 20th of November. UWE is giving them the space to network and plan the selling and buying of weapons! This includes exporting to other countries, new technology in weaponry and manufacturing of these weapons.

Angry with this happening? Then come to the PROTEST. If you do not have enough time then email the vice chancellor at to voice your complaints.

MONDAY- banner making and planning, core24 from noon.

TUESDAY- Drop Beats Not Bombs - rally/party against the arms trade, student village. Meet 4pm at the Frenchay bus stops. Bring people.


The UK is one of the worlds largest exporters of weapons, most of the arms sold go to middle east, and South & East Asia. There are very few legal restrictions on where arms can be sold, even exporting to countries with highly questionable human rights records is considered legal.

In 2010 the UK Government Human Rights Annual Report identified 26 countries “of Concern”,. Despite these concerns the UK approved arms exports to 16 of these countries, including Libya, Israel and Saudi Arabia. During the Arab spring uprisings in 2011, UK brought weapons were routinely used in the crack down against protesters. The UK often sells weapons to both sides of a war, prolonging conflicts to increase profits for arms dealers at cost of the lives of soldiers and civilians. During the Falklands war Argentina was legally sold weapons, which were then used against British soldiers!

War creates poverty, any African nation at war economy shrinks 15% each year. It looses infrastructure, spreads disease, makes land infertile and kills a lot of the population. Most war related deaths are civilian; around 90%.

At the same time we create stricter border control policies. We promote war to countries, sell them weapons, increasing their poverty, while decreasing their ability to live. We then refuse refuge to those who try to escape these terrifying situations we help to create.

If they do manage to get to the UK, refugees often face discrimination. Like the disgusting “go Home” anti immigration vans, that the government were proudly driving around earlier this year. Go Home and be shot at, by our weapons!

The Government has always had incredibly close ties with the arms companies.The Government’s UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) department is a vital element of the UK’s arms dealing. In 2008 it opened the Defence & Security Organisation (DSO) which promotes weaponry on behalf of arms companies. 54% of UKTI staff now only invested in selling Arms.

The Government’s main arguments to defend it's behaviour fit into three categories: arms exports are important for national security; they are vital to the UK economy and jobs; and they are stringently regulated.

These are all false

There is no “security of supply”. Arms production takes place across the globe and all significant Ministry of Defence purchases include hundreds or thousands of imported components and sub-systems. If we were to go to war with any of those countries, or run out of money, then why would those countries still supply us with weapons?

This argument also falls through in that it looks at the world through a military lens, It marginalises major security threats such as climate change, energy insecurity and inequality that are acknowledged by Government but absent in terms of meaningful policies and funding.

The arms trade is heavily subsidised to the tune of £852 million a year - that's more than £13,000 per job per year! Imagine what could be done if all those skills and resources were devoted to socially beneficial projects.

Selling Arms is a drain on the public purse, causes human rights atrocities and destruction of the environment, and is riddled with accusations of fraud and illegality – none of which the government has put much effort into investigating. The only reason to sustain the arms trade is to make the politicians rich mates even richer, and for those in power in our country to feel 'big' and important.

The companies which attend Arms Fairs are guaranteed potential customers in vast numbers, including military delegations and individual trade, government and armed forces representatives. They make contact, negotiate and sign contracts over the course of a number of arms fairs and interim meetings.

So don't even think a strongly worded letter to your local MP will change anything. It is time to take action into our own hands and Stop the Arms Trade. Lets kick the Arms Fair out of our university!

More info on the Facebook Page:

More info on the Drop Beats Not Bombs rally at UWE on Tues 19th November here: