Anne-Marie O’Reilly writes on the Right Livelihood Award presentation and the inspirational people she met there.
Last week my CAAT colleague Henry McLaughlin and myself were lucky to represent thousands of people’s contributions and years of work when we travelled to Stockholm to accept the Right Livelihood Award for CAAT. The experience was both humbling and inspiring. Humbling to stand alongside the other incredible award winners, who have dedicated their lives to making change; inspiring to make connections between our work and what others across the world are doing.
Yesterday around 200 arms dealers from the ‘defence’ sector of the aerospace industry and their guests (military ‘top brass’ and high-ranking officials from the Ministry of Defence and foreign embassies) gathered for a dinner. At these events companies that manufacture and sell weapons entertain their clients, network and promote their deadly wares. Seven supporters of London Campaign Against Arms Trades and East London Against Arms Fairs went along to remind them of their victims.
Paul Tippell is a member of Twickenham, Richmond and Kingston Network against the Arms Trade (TRAKNAT, www.traknat.org.uk), which is co-ordinating a public meeting on 29 November to quiz Vince Cable and Zac Goldsmith on the arms trade. We spoke to him about how constituents are lobbying the Business Minister, and his tips for the future.
Needless to say we were overjoyed about receiving the award, both for the international public recognition that it creates and the substantial cash award of 50,000 euros that comes with it. While CAAT staff had known of the award for over a week we had to stay silent as the announcement was under strict embargo. So it was a relief for us all when the Right Livelihood Awards were officially announced and we could tell the world.
In Nottingham, Shut Down H&K picket their local arms company Heckler & Koch every month. Here they report on leafleting as people arrived at a conference at the church next door to the arms company’s industrial unit on Wed 26th September.
It was one of the best and most successful pickets so far with many, many leaflets given out to people attending the conference. Almost every car stopped to take a leaflet or two. As is usually the case when people learn of the filthy business conducted by Heckler & Koch on this ‘quiet little industrial estate’, most were clearly disturbed to find out.
DSEI, one of the world’s biggest arms fairs, is scheduled to return to London’s docklands in September 2013. One year before it plans to open its doors, Stop the Arms Fair pledges to resist the arms fair and is calling for a massive day of action on 10 September 2013 if the fair goes ahead.
For fifteen years, a dedicated group of campaigners have kept a monthly presence outside the gates of their local arms factory – BAE Warton in Lancashire. In the run up to September’s month of action against the arms trade on our doorstep, Jan Harper spoke to us about what inspires them to action.
At the end of May Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) moved from 11 Goodwin Street, Finsbury Park, to a more modern office in nearby Wells Terrace. I wrote a nostalgic account of CAAT’s quarter of a century in Goodwin Street, celebrating its history as the home of many peace organisations and radical groups.
And that, I thought, was that. Then I received a message from Brenda, telling me that 11 Goodwin Street was her childhood home and she would love to see it again before it was demolished. There followed another message, this time from Brenda’s sister Jean, with the same request, and as it turned out, there was yet another sister, Dot, who also wanted to visit. Good things definitely come in threes.