Disrupting arms company recruitment is an effective way to challenge the arms trade. Arms companies rely on hiring graduates to keep their business going. This makes universities an obvious recruiting ground, as there are many people who will soon be qualified and looking to start a career.
Tom Greenwood and Beth Smith reflect upon an excellent year of student campaigning, and outline the ways in which students and staff can get involved in the year ahead.
Arms companies need universities and they need university students. Universities produce the skilled graduates that the industry requires and undertake research necessary for technological developments. Some universities even invest money in the arms industry, often without the knowledge or approval of their students or staff.
This year, students all over the UK have taken action to show arms companies that they are not welcome at their universities. By kicking arms companies off our campuses, we have the power to hit them where it hurts!
I attended the presentation given by the arms company Thales a few months ago as a personal interdisciplinary exercise. The problem was as follows.
Given a group of thoroughly decent academics listening to a presentation of some highly technical problems posed by an organisation devoted to the production, inter alia, of tools of repression, mass slaughter, and arbitrary execution, I was interested to learn how such individuals would cope with a certain cognitive dissonance which they might be expected to experience.
Abi Haque on CAAT’s first-ever alternative careers event.
Our excitement about holding the first ever Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) alternative careers event was well rewarded. The event at the University of York on the evening of 10 February saw a fantastic turn-out of over 60 students. In fact, the room was so crowded we ran out of seats and some people ended up sitting on the floor, so keen they were to participate. Continue reading “Careers in the arms trade – there are ethical alternatives”
On Thursday 15 January a group of Warwick University students, in opposition to the arms trade and in solidarity with Gaza, protested at a recruitment event run by BAE and Warwick University Careers Service.
Why BAE? Is it especially unethical? Just look at their record. BAE is the third largest arms manufacturer in the world. So much has come to light in the last few years with the discoveries, investigations and court cases surrounding the Al-Yamamah arms deal to Saudi Arabia, in which BAE systems was the primary supplier of weaponry. It is alleged that BAE paid over £1 billion in bribes to members of the Saudi regime.
But this case is not unique – BAE is currently being investigated over bribery allegations Arms companies are often not willing to disclose who their customers are (especially for arms components); this may be common practice among many businesses, citing “commercial confidentiality”. However, most businesses do not need to hide that they sold fighter jets to Robert Mugabe (as BAE and Rolls Royce have) or torture equipment for Guantanamo Bay (BAE subsidiary Hiatts). Nor are reputable business alleged to give a cool £1 million in bribes to the late, but not lamented, General Pinochet (BAE again). All good reasons for protesting and the inclusion of Israel in its (very colourful) list of customers made action particularly important at this time for us. Continue reading “Warwick’s unethical career services”