The end of a very long supply chain: join the summer of resistance

The end of a very long supply chain: join the summer of resistance

Date: 29 June 2012

“Every bomb that is dropped, every bullet that is fired, has to be made somewhere. And wherever that is, it can be resisted.” 

Smash EDO

How can one lowly individual go about fighting the lucrative monster that constitutes the global arms trade? Living in Brighton, the company EDO / ITT is on my doorstep, located on Home Farm Road, Moulsecoomb. Yet what is it that they actually do? In 2009 managing director of the company Paul Hills strongly objected to the company being referred to as an “arms factory” and as a “bomb factory” to local paper the Argus. Paul Hills has been quoted as saying that “the extent of what we manufacture is the parts for some aircraft – the components are at the end of a very long supply chain.”

Carnival Against the Arms Trade, Brighton (From FotdMike on Flikr)

Yet this is the arms trade in 2012. Seemingly impenetrable, hiding behind prosaic acronyms and complex global supply chains, it seems impossible to defeat. In spite of this, since 2004 Brighton based group Smash EDO have been holding noisy demos every week, organising roof occupations, city centre protests, art installations, and have even been the subject of a film– On the Verge – that local police tried to ban. Manufacturing components used for military interventions widely agreed to be in contravention of international law, the company EDO / ITT has come under sustained attack for a number of years. 

During the Israeli bombardment of Gaza in January 2009, several activists were involved in the ‘decommissioning’ of the Brighton factory, which involved the destruction of weapon components and equipment. A criminal act? Under UK law, damage to property to prevent greater crimes is legal in certain circumstances, constituting a defence used successfully by activists previously undertaking direct action. The outcome of the direct action? When the ‘decommissioning’ act went to trial in 2010, managing director Paul Hills admitted that the company held the rights to the main bomb rack – the VER 2 – used on Israeli F16s, and the ‘decomissioners’ were given unanimous ‘not guilty’ verdicts. According to current UK policy, the government should not license exports to Israel that could be ‘deployed aggressively’ in the Occupied Territories, a policy which appears in stark contradiction to what the government is actually allowing. This is demonstrated clearly by the fact that arms exports to Israel from the UK can total up to £30 million every year. Join Smash EDO for their summer of resistance and support Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) nationally – consider coming along to the events below.

Five events to attend this summer

•    Picket of Barclays
North Street, Brighton, 30 June 2012, 1.00 pm – 3.00 pm
Picket “the market makers on the New York stock exchange for ITT Exelis”, the corporation which bought EDO in 2007.

•    Critical Mass for Independence FROM American Arms Companies
The Level, Brighton, 4 July 2012, 3.00 pm – 6.00 pm
Demonstrate to commemorate war crimes carried out by the US military and made possible by the arms trade.

•    The Farnborough Air Show
Farnborough, Hampshire, 9 – 15 July 2012
Protest with Campaign Against Arms Trade at The Farnborough Air Show

•    Dinosaurs at the Arms Dealers’ dinner – Stop the Arms Fair
Natural History Museum, London, 9 July 2012, 6.30 pm
A ‘Dinosaur Demo’ is being held at the Natural History Museum at 6.30pm to remind arriving guests that the arms trade should be extinct. Come with placards, music, and energy.

•    Peace News Summer Camp 2012
Crabapple Community, near Shrewsbury, Shropshire, 26 – 30 July 2012
A family friendly summer camp of workshops, music, film, entertainment, vegan food and much more, this year’s theme is “Making nonviolent revolution”. Workshops include “What’s NOT being cut: Military Projects in the Age of Austerity”, “Make Cake, Not War”, “Economics of the 99%” and “Swords Into Turbines: Campaigning Against Climate Change”.