Who are Smash EDO?
We are people of Brighton who marched and protested with millions of others around the world, and saw our actions fail to stop the atrocities of another war, one more in an endless industrial production line of wars waged for the control of raw materials and energy supplies, for no other reason than to provide fuel for capitalist growth and corporate profit, not as claimed, for our security or defence.
We were sickened to realise that a company in our town, EDO MBM was not only profiting from, but making possible the illegal and immoral slaughter in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Smash EDO is a grassroots response to EDO’s complicity in a systematically murderous and destructive industry that produces not just armaments, but war itself, because this industry is led by and financially benefits those same generals, officials, and politicians who lobby for and launch wars in the first place.
The weaponry used to carry out these wars that both legal and political systems allow to happen with impunity, is built in our communities in a vast network military industrial sites. By learning where to look we can find the essential supply chains and infrastructure of the war machine and set about decommissioning it with our own hands.
Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience imposed by the individual State
- Nuremburg War Crimes Tribunal
Smash EDO is a banner under which people opposed to the impunity of this obscene militarist economic system can rally, disobey, resist and act.
A brief history
Campaigners have been calling for the closure of EDO since 2004. The campaign was kickstarted with a roof occupation and blockade of the factory in May 2004 and hundreds of demonstrations have taken place since. Protest camps have been held outside the factory and mass demonstrations through Brighton over the years have attracted thousands of people.
EDO have lost millions since 2004, money spent on military style security fences, steel shutters, razor wire and CCTV cameras, and misguided legal attacks on our expression of dissent, not to mention the damage and disruption to their business operations caused by our campaign. EDO claim their weapons defend democracy, yet they paid one million for a high court injunction in 2005 that banned anti-war protests outside their factory at the height of the Iraq war. This carried a five year prison sentence if breached. They lost the injunction case after it was disclosed police forces around the country were handing them confidential files on protesters political activities to bolster their case. Sussex Police were even found to be exaggerating the threat to public order and safety by our campaign, in high court witness statements under the direction of EDO’s lawyers.
Later a feature length documentary about the campaign, On The Verge was attacked in a coordinated national effort, again by police forces around the country to stop people seeing it. This was done by threatening public venues intending to show the film with having their bar and entertainment licences revoked. The threat was carried out on one defiant Leeds radical social centre, The Common Place, leading to its eventual closure due to legal costs. However, the obviously nationally directed police attacks on the film ( made on nano-budget of a few hundred quid ), only increased publicity and the demand to see it, and may even have helped nominate it for the Index on Censorship film award.
Later still Smash EDO struck a blow for geopolitical justice when a group of courageous Bristolians, acting in heartfelt response to the criminal 2009 Israeli attack on Gaza, broke into EDO’s factory in the dead of night and disabled its machine tools and computers with hammers, causing hundreds of thousands in damage, before sitting down and waiting for the police to come and arrest them. In June 2010 the EDO Decommissioners were acquitted by a crown court jury of conspiracy to cause criminal damage, even though they had admitted damaging everything.
They won on grounds of a lawful excuse. A jury decided that the Decomissioners’ belief that EDO was supplying Israeli warplanes with F-16 weapon system arming units, based on a substantial supply of public domain documentary evidence, and contrary to three EDO directors’ sworn court testimony over six years saying otherwise, was in fact a well founded and reasonable one.
Since then there have been ongoing demonstrations at the factory and through the town centre, which Sussex Police have sometimes simply mass arrested (with no charges ever brought) in order to stop, and there has been a summer of resistance bringing groups from around the country to take action against EDO.
The Smash EDO campaign continues and will not cease until the company’s activities are shut down or converted to civilian use. Despite politically motivated police obstructions, covert surveillance, and overt harassment, we will continue to take action against the warmongers in our town until this objective is met. We will be here until they’re not.
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
- Mohandas Gandhi
Some Praise for the Smash EDO Campaign
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.”
Andrew Feinstein – author of
The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade and former African National Congress MP
I would like to express my respect and admiration for those who are undertaking non-violent resistance to oppose British participation in Israel’s cruel crimes in Gaza”
- Noam Chomsky on the victory of the EDO Decommissioners June 2010