Stop the Arms Fair: Conference at the Gates
A Workshop on Militarism, Resistance and Academic Praxis
Where: ExCeL Centre, East London, E16 1XL
When: Thursday 10th September 2015
This September arms dealers from around the world will congregate in London’s ExCeL Centre for the DSEI arms fair. As one of the world’s largest arms fairs, DSEI brings together over 1,500 arms companies and military delegations from over 100 countries.
On display will be everything from crowd control equipment to machine guns, tanks, drones and even battleships. It’s a crucial event in the business of the international arms trade, and the deals done here play a major role in reinforcing Western militarism, fueling conflict, repressing dissent and strengthening authoritarian regimes across the world.
The Stop the Arms Fair coalition have called a week of action at the venue to disrupt the setup of the arms fair. On Thursday 10th September, the protests will focus on the relationship between militarism and education. As part of this day, there will be an open air academic workshop at the gates of the ExCeL Centre. Read more »
Should arms companies like BAE Systems be involved in educating children?
The idea of Europe’s biggest arms company running a school may seems like something out of an Orwellian nightmare. However, it may be about to happen in Barrow, Cumbria, where BAE Systems is on the verge of taking over the faltering Furness Academy.
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Britain’s largest science and engineering fair for young people, which took place last month, was sponsored and supported by a total of five major arms companies, including the world’s third largest weapons manufacturer, BAE Systems.
General Dynamics, Rolls Royce, Thales and Selex ES also have sponsorship deals with the Big Bang Fair. As part of the deal, the arms companies enjoy a stand at the fair, from which they can promote themselves to young people.
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Why is arms company BAE Systems encouraging schoolchildren to play with LEGO?
The company wants children to develop the skills it needs for developing high-tech weapons platforms, and has hit upon LEGO’s programmable robot kits called Mindstorms as a fun way to get kids interested.
Children making robot vehicles at the BAE-sponsored FIRST LEGO League
BAE Systems runs LEGO Mindstorms sessions in British classrooms, and last year the company enlisted the help of Eastenders actor Todd Carty to front a school roadshow in which children worked to create a robotic LEGO vehicle. Meanwhile, in the US, BAE heavily sponsors the FIRST LEGO League, in which children compete to build the best LEGO robot.
For BAE, this is part of a wider involvement in schools aimed at steering the best and brightest pupils into a career making military machines. Read more »