Smash EDO’s Summer of Resistance — three months of action against the EDO arms factory in Brighton – has drawn to a close. The summer has been a huge success, with activists campaigning in all sorts of creative ways.
The usual noise demos were complemented by a range of other actions at the factory: bad music/karaoke demos, an “art not war” painting session, a “Down the Drones” kite-flying afternoon, and the naming of those who have been killed in Israeli air strikes since 2009.
There have also been phone and Twitter blockades of EDO MBM and its parent company, ITT Exelis, where the factory was bombarded with calls and tweets. One irate EDO worker told an activist to “shoot yourself in the head with a gun!”
We have also held critical mass bike rides through Brighton, pickets outside Barclays bank (Barclays is the largest global investor in the arms trade), direct action workshops, and we have hosted guest speakers, who have visited to talk to the public about the arms trade.
There were two huge mass demonstrations. At the Don’t Attack Iran demonstration, protesters marched through Brighton to raise awareness about the prospect of an attack on Iran. The second march, the Brighton Citizens’ Weapons Inspection, saw concerned citizens from all over the country join in solidarity and march in weapons inpectors’ suits to the factory. The protesters were greeted by a steel wall, erected by the police, as well as riot cops and horses. Not to be deterred, a group of activists locked onto the wall, and traffic to and from the arms factory was stopped dead.
In the final week of the Summer of Resistance, London’s Campaign Against Arms Trade travelled down to Brighton in solidarity. They campaigned outside Barclays and also up at the factory, with a banner stating , “EDO – Peddlers of Death”. We were also privileged to host guest speaker Andrew Feinstein, author of Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade, and former member of parliament for the ANC. He informed the enthralled audience of the harrowing and secretive world of the global arms trade.
Feinstein stated that 40% of corruption in world trade takes place in the arms trade, and he talked about the link between arms companies and the funding of political parties. Aptly, Feinstein told the audience that Barclays bank is the bank of choice for arms dealers, and in South Africa, Barclays has the right to veto any government spending over a certain level until 2018!
Feinstein states that ‘SmashEDO’s resistance to the shameful, corrupt global arms trade is a living example of Margaret Mead’s belief that action by a small group of committed citizens is the best, the only, way to change the world. I endorse the campaign’s credo that “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 would like to thank everyone who has shown their support and participated in the Summer of Resistance. We are taking a break in August, but will be back in September with lots of energy for a winter season of resistance against the arms trade.