War Profiteers

WRI activists disrupting the welcome dinner at the ADEX arms fair
WRI activists disrupting the welcome dinner at the ADEX arms fair

Economics is one of the key causes of war - wherever there is a military conflict, someone is profiting from it. We call this "war profiteering".

WRI looks at war profiteering in a broad sense - we consider all companies and initiatives that benefit financially from military conflict as war profiteers, in some sense. This includes the arms trade and companies profiteering for the privatisation and outsourcing of the military, but also those extracting natural resources in conflict zones, financial institutions investing in arms companies, and many others.

WRI publishes a quarterly magazine called War Profiteers' News (in English and Spanish), and organises events to bring campaigners and researchers together to share strategies against war profiteering. In 2017 we will gather members and friends of the WRI network in London, for a seminar called “Stopping the War Business”. Campaigners will share experiences and strategies of countering the arms trade and other war profiteers. The seminar will take place at the same time  as the DSEI arms fair, where we will also take nonviolent direct action together. In 2015, we organised a similar event in Seoul, South Korea, which took place at the same time as the ADEX arms fair.

This week the Eurosatory arms fair is taking place in Paris. The 'Defence and Security' fair, one of the largest in the world, takes place every two years. For many years, opposition to Eurosatory took the form of one woman, Yvonna Kressman, faithfully standing outside on her own, over decades.

On 19th May, peace activists in Belgium took direct action at the arms company Advionics in Oostkamp, They climbed onto the roof of the company, put up banners and set up their tents. With their action they denounced the export of arms to Saudi Arabia, and demanded that the Flemish government fixes the loopholes in the Flemish arms export laws.

During her time working as an intern at War Resisters' International, Taya Govreen-Segal, a consceintious objector, delivered a talk to the “Britain and Palestine: Past History and Future Role” conference, held at Sarum College, Salisbury, UK, on 13th February. Below is a transcript, providing detailed analysis of the role of the arms trade in the ongoing occupation of Palestine.

A protester was violently arrested at a pre-Anzac Day demonstration at the Ministry of Defence staged by Peace Action Wellington on Monday 18 April to mark the Global Day of Action on Military Spending.

The peaceful protest highlighted the government’s recent invitation of US warships to Aotearoa, and spoke out against out against military spending.

Alongside other peace activists, WRI members from around Europe are in court in London from next Monday on trial for their disruption of the DSEI arms fair in September last year.   Anyone available to join us in solidarity in the Court next week, check out Stop The Arms Fair Facebook event for info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1716179711938981/   Use #stopDSEI to share you solidarity with Javier, Bram, Luis and others in the run up to their court appearance next week.


Pacifists in Europe will be travelling to Paris in June to protest the Eurosatory arms fair. Some will travel as part of a pilgrimage from Germany, via Strasbourg and arms factories. There will be actions on train stations as delegates arrive, vigils, and a demonstration on Tuesday 14th June at 6.30pm at Les Invalides. Follow @noneurosatory on twitter and sign their petition online. Also this week in Wales, activists have been disrupting the Defence Procurement, Research, Technology and Exportability Fair in Cardiff. The event was previously held in nearby Bristol, but had to be moved because of protests here. Find photos here.

Read more, or write to noneurosatory2@gmail.com for more info...

Four days after the assassination of Berta Cáceres, a human rights and environmental activist from Honduras, activists in Canada entered the world's largest mining convention taking place in Canada, to protest extractivist projects that lead to militarisation, violence and human rights absuses. The group named some of those killed because of their activism against large-scale mining projects before being escorted from the event by police.

Activists from Peace Action Wellington (PAW) organised two days of nonviolent direct actions against the annual Weapons Conference held in New Zealand (NZ) last November. Following their peaceful protests, dozens were arrested and taken to court. 26 activists returned to court on 18 February to defend their right to peaceful demonstration. As an outcome, 25 protesters are still facing charges and were remanded to appear again on 11th March.

The European Parliament has voted in support of an arms embargo against Saudi Arabia. The European Network Against the Arms Trade (ENAAT) were part of efforts to lobby Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to impose the European-wide arms embargo. The lobbying action included groups from Germany, UK, Spain, Finland, France, Italy, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Belgium.

“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

For anyone involved in anti-militarist campaigning, the Seeds of Hope action has almost mythical status. Not only as an extremely radical and inspiring action; but as an example of how a jury's verdict can be decided on moral grounds on the basis of trying to prevent a greater crime. I have been running direct action trainings for a few years and I don't think there's a single one where Seeds of Hope didn't get mentioned, and its reach extends far beyond the anti-militarist movement.

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