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 Steven.West@uwe.ac.uk 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: https://www.facebook.com/NOWMDatUWE

More info on the Drop Beats Not Bombs rally at UWE on Tues 19th November here: http://standingstonesblog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/uwe-arms-fair-bristol-direct-action.html

1 comment:

  1. I have no intention to stir up trouble but I feel your argument is highly opinionated and those opinions are trying to be passed off as facts.

    It's a dark truth to say that war is nature's solution to an ever growing population and that the UK "arms dealing" as you have so put it is an income that sacrificing woud only worsen the blow to the poor of our nation.

    We are a small island with a limit to export profit. We're selling weapons to other countries and that's not exactly right, true, though we sell our weapons to the military and police forces of those countries so that they might ensure the safety of their people as we do our own.

    Admitedly the world is far from perfect but ask yourself this, will us ending gun sales really make a difference? The fact of life is that there is war, there will always be war until we learn to live together or nuke one another, the latter seeming the more likely.

    If we sell weapons to a country, we know what weapons they have, what they can do and what to expect. We also know that as long as they are buying ours they have no need to build their own. Its a simple mater of "better the devil you know". Its not right but its all we have.

    As for selling to both sides, a war is an arms race, an arms race is won by the ones with the better weapons. So to bring it to a halt we give them the same. We're not profiting from prolonging the war but we are leaving no advantage to either side and without advantage there is no value in fighting.

    The truth is, the way we are heading in life Einstein will soon be proven right by his quote - "I know not with what weapons world war III shall be fought but world war IV shall be fought with sticks and stones."
    Hence, if you really want to make a difference don't stop the weapons, stop the war because while war is still around, weapons will be bought and sold by someone, if not us then someone who may not be building them quite so "Humanely" and I use that term loosely.

    I don't support the war but the troops and their families when the option is lost and the need is born yet I will always trust in NATO to bring them home.