Down with DSEi!

IssueSeptember 2005
Feature by Emily Apple

As PN went to press, activists were gearing up for a week of direct action against the largest weapons fair in the world: DSEi (Defence Systems and Equipment International). Undeterred by reports of a planned exclusion zone around the London's ExCeL centre where the heavily-policed event is to take place, thousands are traveling to the capital from around Britain and Europe in a determined effort to shut down DSEi. In a bid to get you all out of your armchairs and off to the arms fair, Emily Apple issues the following call to action...

London is being bombed, and next month the city is hosting the world's largest weapons fair.    

Everything from guns to tanks, cluster bombs to warships, will be on display; murderous wares used to shock, subdue and terrorise populations around the world. 

Good capitalist business

On 11 September 2001, as planes were flying into the twin towers, DSEi was taking place. On 12 September, as businesses and conferences everywhere shut as a mark of respect, business was booming at the ExCeL centre. Shares plummeted everywhere, but BAE Systems, the world's joint largest arms manufacturer, saw their share prices rise. Terror is good capitalist business and the men in suits line their pockets whilst the rest of the world grieves.

We in London feel under attack. We feel shaky when we leave our houses, when we catch the bus, the tube. Yet this is nothing compared to what the majority of the world's population suffers on a daily basis, whether it be the Sudanese child firing the Britishmade gun, Palestinians murdered using British armaments, or the Acehnese being bombed by British war planes. If anything positive can be garnered from this current wave of terror, it must be this: that our terror is their terror, their suffering our suffering, and vice versa. We must fight back against terror everywhere and we must start with a long, hard, critical look at our own state. We not only have to accept the terror our state has inflicted on Afghans and Iraqis, but also the state-endorsed terror that British arms companies have inflicted across the globe.

Think outside the box

However, these questions are only the start. We have to look beyond this and see how we are bullied and subjugated by the state; how we are terrorised by the threat of violence to tow the party line and play good citizens. We have to see how the constant erosion of civil liberties and the right to protest is yet another example of state terrorism - and our fight has to be against the whole system.

Disarm DSEi is calling for a week of action and resistance against DSEi, the arms trade, and the capitalist system that supports it. Together we can shut down this evil fair. There will be a variety of protests and actions throughout the week but it is essential, if we wish to succeed, to think outside the box. We have to learn from previous years and take effective affinity group actions. We have to target their infrastructure and their comfort zones. We have to hit them where it hurts financially and politically. Only then will they realise that we're serious and that we're not going to go away until they stop profiting from this despicable trade in death.