Anti-militarism

1 February 2023Feature

Liam Doherty reports on the students challenging arms-trade sponsored research at UK universities

Universities across the UK draw millions of pounds of revenue from arms-trade-sponsored research, sometimes with explicit weapon-development research aims. Universities turn to the arms industry to make quick profits from consultancy work, while arms companies use universities as a base for recruitment and PR. British universities also have funds – sometimes tens of millions of pounds – invested in arms companies either directly or indirectly through fund managers and banks.

This is…

1 December 2022Feature

The peace movement has a window of opportunity to press the government

Despite pleading from defence secretary Ben Wallace, there was no increase in British military spending in the government’s November budget (officially an ‘autumn statement’).

Wallace, a popular Conservative MP, had previously warned that he would resign if the government did not commit itself to increasing military spending to three percent of GDP. (British spending has been at the NATO target of two percent of GDP.)

Chancellor of the exchequer Jeremy Hunt instead said on 17…

1 December 2022News

Campaigners explore how to challenge emerging military technologies

Peace campaigners gathered at Birkbeck University on 12 November for the ‘Future Wars: The Shape of Things to Come’ day conference.

Organised by Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and Drone Wars UK, the event focused on looking at the danger of emerging military technology and how campaigners can challenge and oppose new developments in this area.

Professor Paul Rogers set the scene for the day in an opening contribution made via video.

A panel of expert speakers…

1 December 2022News

$160m contract withdrawn from arms company targeted by campaigners

Palestine Action (PA) has claimed more successes (including eight acquittals) in its direct action campaign against the British subsidiary of Israel’s largest weapons company, Elbit Systems, which supplies military drones to the Israeli Defence Force for use against Palestinians.

Defence procurement minister Alex Chalk confirmed on 24 November that Elbit Systems UK had been removed from a £160mn contract to deliver crew training for the new Dreadnought-class submarine that is…

1 October 2022News in Brief

Preparations have started for the days of action against the Defence and Security Equipment International arms fair (DSEI), to be held in East London in September 2023.

The Stop the Arms Fair (STAF) coalition had a day-long planning meeting on 24 September at Friends House by Euston, London, with about 40 people.

It was decided to set up a number of working groups which will meet on Zoom, in order to be able to include people from around the UK.

If you’d like to join the…

3 August 2022News

Dissident Israelis held on remand for one month

On 20 June, the British branch of Elbit, Israel’s largest arms company, announced it was closing its offices in Kingsway, Central London.

This was five months after Elbit, which produces 85 percent of the military drones Israel uses for attacks on Palestinian territory, announced the sale of its Elbit Ferranti factory in Oldham.

Both these closures are due to a sustained direct action campaign by Palestine Action (PA). In the case of Elbit’s London offices, they’ve been the…

8 July 2022Blog

Instead of using its resources to solve world poverty and homelessness at home, the US government continues to ship weapons abroad. Unexploded US weapons including cluster bombs continue to litter Afghanistan, causing casualties every day. What the world needs is a healing of the Earth – perhaps through permaculture, a US anti-war conference suggests.

'No War 2022, July 8 – 10', hosted by World BEYOND War, will consider major and growing threats faced in today’s world. Emphasizing “Resistance and Regeneration,” the conference will feature practitioners of permaculture who work to heal scarred lands as well as abolish all war.

Listening to various friends speak of the environmental impact of war, we recalled testimony from survivors of a Nazi concentration camp on the outskirts of Berlin,…

1 June 2022News

Protest calls for 'Windmills Not War Machines'

On 22 April, Earth Day, a local anti-militarist action group in North Carolina, USA, held a two-hour blockade of the construction site for a 1.2mn square foot jet engine manufacturing plant belonging to Pratt & Whitney (wholly owned by Raytheon Technologies, the second largest war corporation in the world). The ‘Reject Raytheon Asheville’ protest, called ‘Windmills Not War Machines’, was one of over 30 events in a week of mobilisation around the US sponsored by the War Industry Resisters…

13 May 2022Blog

Reject Raytheon AVL, a local anti-militarist campaign group in North Carolina, USA, shut down the construction of a military plant in the US.

It was an Earth Day to remember. On a beautiful sunny spring day, our local citizen coalition Reject Raytheon (in Asheville, North Carolina, USA) pulled off a three-part demonstration for the protection of the earth and earthlings and against the US military-industrial complex. We rallied, we paraded, and we performed a direct action.

The event, on Friday 22 April, began at 10am in the Bent Creek River Park, on the banks of the French Broad River. The park sits exactly next to the new…

1 October 2021News

Fortnight of protest against UK arms fair

Before the start of the DSEI arms fair in East London on 14 September, there were several arrests as many protesters attempted to blockade the two service roads used by vehicles carrying military hardware into the ExCeL Centre.

A great variety of groups organised a great variety of actions against DSEI this year, though numbers overall were smaller than in recent times.

This year, the mostly autonomous protests were co-ordinated by a coalition called ‘Stop the Arms Fair’ (STAF…

1 October 2021News

Rebecca Elson-Watkins is a Londoner, an activist and a writer. She's probably on some sort of watchlist as a rabble-rousing peacenik.

As part of the two weeks of protest against the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair held in London’s ExCeL Centre, Stop the Arms Fair organised a Festival of Resistance on 11 September. They were joined by activists from Extinction Rebellion (XR), Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), Trident Ploughshares and others – there were even jointly-produced flyers available in the information tent (along with copies of PN). The XR activists I talked to all spoke…

1 December 2019News

White poppy wreath laid at Cenotaph

Photo: Veterans for Peace UK

On 10 November, Veterans for Peace UK marked Remembrance Sunday by walking to the Cenotaph in Whitehall, in central London, behind a banner saying ‘Never Again’. James Florey read a poem: ‘Suicide in the Trenches’. Jim Radford sang ‘1916’.

Ben Griffin, the outgoing national co-ordinator of VfP UK, laid a wreath of white poppies saying ‘Never Again’ (pictured).

1 August 2019News

Campaigners fined £3,180 for bomb factory blockade

On 8-9 July, four Trident Ploughshares activists were acquitted and four were found guilty at High Wycombe magistrates' court. They were being prosecuted for an all-day blockade of the Burghfield nuclear bomb factory in Berkshire on 24 October last year. (PN 2624-2625)

Jan and Brian Jones, Jane Picksley and Marie Walsh were charged with highway obstruction for sitting in front of Pingewood Gate while locked to each other through arm tubes. District judge Sophie Toms acquitted them on…

1 April 2019Comment

'Is it an anarchist utopia? Of course not, don't be silly.'

In the last issue, I declared my intention to achieve the impossible and set up a commune – a living, working, playing, caring community of about 100 people. I don’t really believe it’s possible, but I am going to talk about it a lot and am full of good intentions to give it a go, just as soon as I have some time, maybe after the conference-organising is over, maybe once I’m in the swing of my new part-time job, maybe once we’ve dealt with the moths, updated the book, organised the house…

1 June 2018Feature

A ForcesWatch interview with poet and campaigner Ambrose Musiyiwa

A soldier gives a machine gun demonstration to a child in Leicester city centre. PHOTO: Ambrose Musiyiwa/Civic Leicester


ForcesWatch: Hi Ambrose! Thank you for putting on such a fantastic event in Leicester at the end of last year as part of the Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, ‘This is Belonging: Challenging militarism at home and abroad’. We had a lively and informed discussion, and it was great to be able to take part. Could you tell us a bit about how…