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.

There are many ways to profit from a war. Some may say that even peace campaigns profit from it! The war profiteers we are talking about here are companies having strategies to make a killing from armed conflicts.

Conventional army suppliers Three main categories are distinguished here: arms traders, equipment suppliers, and companies offering services to armies.

Arms traders must not be forgotten.

Investing in war

Placheolder image

War and tensions imply a very profitable arms race for arms traders. Banks know this well, and are very keen to profit from it. The only problem is uncertainty, which the market doesn't like.

Aug 27- Sep 10: Coulport Disarmament Camp: More information at www.tridentploughshares.org

Sept 10: DSEi, Beat the Bombers! Party for peace. Gather 1pm for location information www.disarmtrade.org/. Cancel the arms fair. 2pm-4:30 pm.

Musical Protest outside the Excel Centre, next to Custom House, DLR Station.

In his Farewell Address in January 1961, American President Dwight D Eisenhower said: "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted.

For the past year, War Resisters' International has been developing a new Nonviolence Programme. The overarching aim of the Nonviolence Programme is to strengthen and deepen our understanding of nonviolence, nonviolent strategies, and nonviolent campaigning, and to develop and provide tools and support to groups using nonviolence (see Broken Rifle No.65).

One aspect of this work is the development of resources for WRI's Campaign Against War Profiteers.

Serco is part of the consortium that runs Aldermaston. Since the company began its involvement with the British nuclear weapons programme, women from the Aldermaston Women's Peace Camp(aign) (AWPC) began organising a shareholder campaign.

As Serco Group plc is a huge and rapidly expanding company AWPC had expected their AGM to be a moderately impressive affair: not a bit! Whilst the coffee and apple Danish were pretty classy, and the atmosphere reeks of money, privilege and power, the meetings themselves are very small and short.

Introduction

War Resisters' International's new project the Global Initiative Against War Profiteers aims to coordinate and promote campaigns against war profiteers. It is inspired by Arundhati Roy's call at the World Social Forum in Mumbai in January 2004 for the movement to focus on major corporations profiteering from the Iraq occupation.

As we remember imprisoned peacemakers, Xabi Agirre Aranburu argues the case for imprisoning those responsible for war crimes as a necessary step in preventing war.

The town of Stolac's position on the front-line had made it an obvious target of Serbian artillery ever since the war In Bosnia begun. One particular morning In the summer of 1992 began with the usual Serbian bombardment. This time, the shells landed, but did not explode.

Subscribe to War Profiteers