International Seminar: War Profiteering and Peace Movement Responses

Barcelona, 29 September - 02 October, 2011

Justícia i Pau (Centre Delàs), Fundació per la Pau, War Resisters' International and the European Network Against Arms Trade invite you to the seminar: “War Profiteering and Peace Movement Responses” to be held in Barcelona between 29 September and 2 October, 2011.

War profiteering is one of the main pillars that support war. The military-industrial complex has a long record of pushing for the development of a war industry and of battlefields to test its products. War profiteering has many forms and a wide range of impacts. The most notorious forms of war profiteering are the arms industry and the arms trade, but there are also many other forms, such as companies involved in war “reconstruction”, companies to which military functions are outsourced, financial institutions backing warfare, companies profiting from the extraction of resources in conflict areas and many more.

War profiteering has been a target for the anti-war and nonviolent movement for many years. Campaigning against these deadly industries opens up many venues for protest and effective action, as war profiteering can be tackled from different directions. You may hold a rally at your local arms manufacture, attend shareholders meetings of companies engaged in the war economy, publish information on the effects that arms produced in one country have on local communities miles away, lobby your local politicians, carry a disarmament action, and conduct many other kinds of action. These different tactics are reflected in a wide range of networks, campaigns and organisations working against war profiteering.

In working against war profiteering, transnational cooperation offers an important benefit: the economic deals and transactions that are involved in war profiteering are themselves, more often than not, transnational, and a campaign that can oppose such deals on both ends of the money transfer is more effective and has a greater chance to succeed. From our long experience as international networks, we understand that to have fruitful work at the international level, it is necessary for the partners to this work to sometimes meet face to face. We need to know who we are and what we want to do together.

The seminar will bring together activists from groups from all regions of the world, with and among which we see the potential to build long-lasting cooperation. That is, from groups that represent the spectrum of the movement against war profiteering. The seminar will analyse the different trends in war profiteering and its impact on local communities. We then plan to work, using participatory tools, on how to develop successful strategies in our campaigning against war profiteers and on how to strengthen the links between our groups.

Seminar Programme (draft)

Theme groups

New developments in war profiteering:

How do we respond to new developments such as privatisation of war, (the growing use of commercial companies instead of national armed forces.) the use of drones (you don’t go to war, you just use your joystick) and homeland security as a new profitable branch, used for crowd control, catching refugees and spying on opposition. How do we develop arguments, can we make new strategic connections with other campaigns?

Exposing the bad guys:

By challenging the links between governments and the arms industry, we can use the fact that people –even if they are not against arms trade per se – do not like the subsidies and support the latter receive. By exposing the role of the banks, pension providers, etc. in supporting the war profiteers we use the fact that these financers also have a individual consumer connection .By targeting specific companies we can expose the actual transfers and use of specific systems. Can these strategies be improved? What can we learn from each other?

War and the exploitation of natural resources:

Exploiting natural resources is a central economic motive for war and a central feature of war “reconstruction”, such as we see in Iraq. It is an explicit part of strategies of alliances such as NATO or EU. It is also a major factor in the violent displacement of poor and indigenous communities in many parts of the world. How can we connect anti-arms trade strategies and strategies against environmental destruction?

Day 1 - 29 Sept
19.30 Opening Trobada (public event)

Day 2 – 30 Sept
10.00 – 11.00 Opening (seminar)
11.00 – 13.00 Theme Groups (focus: emerging trends)
13.00 – 15.00 LUNCH
15.00 – 16.15 Workshops
16.15 – 16.45 BREAK
16.45 – 18.00 Workshops
19.00 – 21.00 Trobada (public event)

Day 3 – 1 Oct
10.00 – 10.30 Day Introduction
10.30 – 13.00 Theme Groups (focus: campaigning tools)
13.00 – 15.00 LUNCH
15.00 – 16.15 Workshops
16.15 – 16.45 BREAK
16.45 – 18.00 Workshops
19.00 – 21.00 Trobada (public event)

Day 4 – 2 Oct
10.00 – 10.30 Day Introduction
10.30 – 12.45 Theme Groups (focus: internationalising the issue)
12.45 - 13.00 BREAK (snacks)
13.00 – 14.00 Closing