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.

During the NATO exercise Trident Juncture 2015 the alliance will practice military interventions in North Africa

Marines from the US train in la Sierra del Retin, Barbate

The NATO exercise Trident Juncture 2015 will take place during October 2015 and until early November in Italy, Portugal, and the State of Spain. According to a variety of sources, this will be the “largest exercise of NATO since the end of the Cold War”1, “largest exercise conducted by the Alliance since 2002” (…) and “the Alliance’s most important exercise in 2015”2, or “the largest deployment of the Alliance in the last decade”3. The exercise consists of two clearly distinguished phases, a command post exercise (CPX, 3-16 October) and a phase of real action (Live Exercise, LIVEX, 21 October-6 November).

The United Nations has released a damning report into the operations of Canadian mining company Nevsun Resources in Eritrea, which accuses the company of using conscripted labour at it's Bisha Mine in the country. Nevsun estimated that the mine held over a billion pounds of copper and 2.7 billion pounds of zinc.

Stopping the War Business, our international seminar on war profiteering, starts in Seoul in two weeks time!

Disrupting war profiteering takes a whole range of activities, from research, lobbying and legal challenges to mobilisation, direct action and creative campaigning techniques. This seminar will provide a space for activists using a whole range of different methods to gather together, learn how a spectrum of tactics interlink and help each other to be more effective.

The seminar is being jointly coordinated by World Without War in Korea and War Resisters' International.

What is war profiteering?

'War profiteering' includes all those who profit financially from war and militarisation, or whose money makes war possible. That includes a complex network of companies, financial institutions, and individuals. The obvious thing that people think of when you talk about war profiteering is weapons manufacturers, but it goes much further than that.

We believe that so long as violence remains profitable, war will persist, because the short-term economic interests of the powerful will be put before longer-term peace and liberation. So that's why it's important – because without preventing war profiteering, we can never see an end to war.

This September, one of the world’s biggest arms fairs arrives at London’s ExCeL centre. The arms fair, due to take place on 15-18 September, involves more than 1000 companies and 30,000 attendees. A week of action will take place in the week before the fair, from 7 – 12 September, to make it as difficult as possible for it to go ahead. Each day different groups will be organising actions highlighting the different impacts of the arms trade and repression. Many groups will be using the #WarStartsHere slogan, also used by the European Antimilitarist Network.

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During the NATO exercise Trident Juncture 2015 the alliance will practice military interventions in North Africa

Marines from the US train in la Sierra del Retin, Barbate

The NATO exercise Trident Juncture 2015 will take place during October 2015 and until early November in Italy, Portugal, and the State of Spain. According to a variety of sources, this will be the “largest exercise of NATO since the end of the Cold War”1, “largest exercise conducted by the Alliance since 2002” (…) and “the Alliance’s most important exercise in 2015”2, or “the largest deployment of the Alliance in the last decade”3. The exercise consists of two clearly distinguished phases, a command post exercise (CPX, 3-16 October) and a phase of real action (Live Exercise, LIVEX, 21 October-6 November).

In October, WRI and South Korean affiliate World Without War will host an international seminar focused on resisting war profiteering. 'Stopping the War Business' will bring activists together who are resisting war profiteering in a wide variety of contexts – from the militarisation of police, to the arms trade, to extractive industry and profiteering from occupation. There is still time to register for the seminar, which will also take place alongside a WRI council meeting.

This year, the annual ENAAT (European Network Against Arms Trade) meeting took place from 15th to 17th May in Brno, Czech Republic. Organized by NESEHNUTÍ, a local NGO, the aim of the meeting was to strengthen the cooperation among the ENAAT members, and to come up with some new ideas regarding ENAAT’s future and discuss the trends of the arms trade of European countries, many of which keep preferring business to human rights by selling arms and weapons to authoritarian and oppressive regimes.

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