London CAAT indulge their artistic side at Fine Art Fair

Ian Pocock writes about London CAAT’s demonstration at the International Fine Art & Antiques Fair.

CAAT Arms Trade Clarion Banner
Our fantastic banner brought us lots of attention

London CAAT members maintained the pressure on Clarion Events with a demonstration outside the International Fine Art & Antiques Fair at Kensington Olympia on Saturday 11 June. After being moved on by the over-zealous security guards, we took up a position outside the entrance to the tube station.

Our brand new banner ‘This Show is Brought to you by the Arms Trade’ gained a lot of attention and a number of passersby stopped to ask why we were there. Continue reading “London CAAT indulge their artistic side at Fine Art Fair”

“It opened my eyes. I realised I had to do something.”

Modgala, a Buddhist nun working with the Amida Trust, speaks to Kat Hobbs of CAAT about taking action at the DSEI arms fair in 2001 and what action she will take at DSEI 2011.

Why take action?

Modgala at a festival
Modgala at a festival

“I’m in favour of direct action, as long as it doesn’t distress people. I don’t have any qualms about disabling the equipment – just when and where.”

While giving teachings in former Yugoslavia in 2003, Modgala experienced first hand the destruction that conflict brings. Prior to going to her first demonstration on 11 September 2001 she came across a photograph at a John Pilger exhibition: “a photo of an empty bed, where you could see the bloodstains underneath. It opened my eyes. I realised I had to do something.” Continue reading ““It opened my eyes. I realised I had to do something.””

Blood bath and dead ducks at Spirit of Summer

Spirit of Summer fair - Blood bath
Spirit of Summer fair - Blood bath

A report on London Campaign Against Arms Trade action at the DSEI owner’s Spirit of Summer Fair.

London Campaign Against Arms Trade (London CAAT) members brought their own blood bath to the Spirit of Summer Fair to protest about the Clarion Events involvement in the DSEI arms fair. The blood bath was a paddling pool filled with bloody water and ducks representing some of the arms companies that frequent the arms fair. Animal lovers will be pleased to know that the ducks were plastic. Continue reading “Blood bath and dead ducks at Spirit of Summer”

The abolition of slavery in arms

Drawing of a slave
"Am I not a man and a brother" – anti-slavery image

Henry Boddington explores the parallels between the slave trade and the arms trade and explains why ending the arms trade should be a priority for today’s world. 

In 1769  the slave, James Somersett was brought to England. He was the property of Charles Steuart a customs officer from Boston Massachusetts, then a British colony in North America. Somersett ran away in 1771 but was re-captured and imprisoned upon a ship bound for the British colony of Jamaica.  However, people claiming to be Somersett’s godparents made an application before the Court of King’s Bench for a writ of habeas corpus, and the captain of the ship was ordered to produce Somersett before the Court of King’s Bench, which would determine whether his imprisonment was legal.

Continue reading “The abolition of slavery in arms”

The day I went to Downing Street…

CAAT petitioners in Downing Street, 9 March 2011
CAAT petitioners in Downing Street, 9 March 2011

Rhiannon Rees wrtes of her experiences as a member of a CAAT delegation presenting an anti-arms trade petition at the office of the Prime Minister.

On Wednesday, 9 March, I went with Anne-Marie, Henry and Sarah from the CAAT office, and Azeldin El-Sharif, of the British-Libyan Solidarity Campaign, to present CAAT’s ‘This is not OK’ petition at 10 Downing Street.

Nearly 4,000 people had signed the petition and posted their comments to tell the Government that selling tear gas, firearms and crowd control ammunition to Bahrain and Libya, promoting arms exports to corrupt and repressive regimes and holding one of the world’s largest arms fairs in London next September are NOT OK. Continue reading “The day I went to Downing Street…”

Arms trade campaigners target “Destinations”

Anti-arms fairs A report of London CAAT’s protest at the Clarion-owned Travel Show.

Members of London Campaign Against Arms Trade (London CAAT) descended on the Destinations: Holiday and Travel Show in Earls Court on  Saturday, 5 February, to protest about the organiser’s involvement in the arms trade. They are Clarion Events and they also own the notorious DSEI arms fair.

Luckily the threatening rain held off and we handed out a large number of leaflets. Some passers-by engaged with our message, particularly a Palestinian lady who expressed strong agreement with our stance. One of the speakers at the show, Ben Fogle, star of Castaway 2000 and Country Tracks, passed us on his way into the show but declined to take a leaflet.  He was one of the speakers CAAT wrote to prior to the event asking them to raise the issues of Clarion’s involvement in the arms trade with them.

Two members of London CAAT entered the show to talk to stallholders, focussing on the smaller exhibitors as they were more likely to be staffed by people who could have a say on their company’s presence at the fair. They were all interested in what we had to say but, unfortunately, there were no firm commitments to talk to Clarion.

We will continue to keep the pressure on Clarion. We will be at their next show, the Baby Show, on Sunday 20 February from 11am-1pm at the ExCel Centre (nearest tube Custom House DLR).

Want to know more: contact London CAAT at: londoncaat(at)riseup*net

Diary of a peace campaigner

Rhiannon Rees recalls her busy week of meetings and actions in October 2010.

Peace campaigners in the London area have had a busy week, and I have been fortunate to get around and meet some fantastic people. Last week was also ‘Quaker Week’, and I went to two of the talks at the Quaker Centre in Euston that illustrated how Quakers are involved in working for peace.

Tuesday 5 October: Andree Ryan spoke at the Quaker Centre about the time she had spent as an Ecumenical Accompanier in Israel/Palestine. These are trained volunteers of all faiths, who spend several months living and working alongside Palestinians and Israeli peace activists, observing and reporting on the daily brutality and hardships of the Israeli occupation and helping to negotiate some mitigation of the hardships and defuse some tense situations by their presence. The programme is co-ordinated by Quaker Peace and Social Witness (QPSW) under the auspices of the World Council of Churches.

Inspired by the courage of the Ecumenical Accompaniers, I took the rather less brave step of joining the monthly vigil against Trident in Parliament Square, which is organised by London Region CND and takes place from 5-7pm on the first Tuesday in the month. Since the Peace Camp was ejected and the green has been blocked off by hoardings, we have to display our banners on a narrow strip of pavement close to the rush-hour traffic, but we gave out 350 leaflets and I hope reached some MPs. Continue reading “Diary of a peace campaigner”

Clarion call from “The Spirit of Christmas”

DSCN5631 by Ian MacKinnon
Clarion's ideal of "The Spirit of Christmas"

Dan Viesnik explains why CAAT supporters dress up for the Spirit of Christmas and the message they are bringing to visitors.  Photo by Ian MacKinnon.

Members of London Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), East London Against the Arms Fair (ELAAF),  the London Catholic Worker and Trident Ploughshares met vistors outside  the Spirit of Christmas Fair at London’s Olympia, on 7 November 2009.

This was the second year running they had descended upon this area of west London. Why? Was it to spread Christmas cheer among prospective visitors?
Hardly. Rather, they were there to  alert visitors to the fact that the organisers, Clarion Events, are the owners of five international arms and security fairs, including one of the world’s biggest, the euphemistically titled Defence Systems and Equipment International (DSEI), held biennially in London’s Docklands. DSEI 2009 took place in September, attracting both hordes of arms dealers and much publicity.
Continue reading “Clarion call from “The Spirit of Christmas””

BABY SHOW

baby-show-1-march-2009-001baby-show-1-march-2009-009

London CAAT members descended on the Excel Centre on the weekend of the 27th February as Clarion Events, owners of the DSEI arms fair, were holding a Baby Show there. Two hours of leafleting took place on the Friday and there was a musical protest by East London Against the Arms Fair on the Saturday. But the main London CAAT action was on the Sunday, when a particularly angry baby turned up laden with missiles, guns and a globe which he proceeded to destroy with the aforementioned items. Some passers-by and even exhibitors were drawn towards this strange sight and gladly took leaflets and/or signed the petition we had. There was a preview article by the local website Wharf, which can be found here (www.wharf.co.uk/2009/02/first-it-was-nuclear-santa-now.html) and they also sent down a photographer to cover the action. Photos can be seen at www.flickr.com/photos/londoncaat

Welcome to the CAAT blog !

We’re a group of activists, who are passionate about campaigning against the arms trade.

We’re fed up with the extent to which arms trade and arms companies are enshrined in our everyday lives: Our local authorities invest in arms companies, our government finances an agency (DESO) which helps arms companies push for deals and even our universities hold arms shares.

So what do we do about it?

Well – we’re out and about campaigning! We want to blog about our passion, our enthusiasm and our ideas on campaigning against the arms trade. We want to tell you what we’ve been up to, where things are happening and what’s in the news.

Let’s be realistic here: campaigning can be frustrating. But it can also be inspiring and great fun. We’d like to share the ups and downs with you. And: we’d like to hear from you! Do get involved and tell us your thoughts, ideas and experiences.