Something for the weekend: Disarming DSEI

June 15, 2011

On Sunday 12th June, the “Get Ready for the Arms Fair” planning event took place. Blogger Kirsten Bayes took part and had this to say about it…

I spent the day with some of the most amazing people I have ever met (present company excepted, of course).

They were gathered together to work out what to do about about the world’s largest Defence and Security Equipment exhibition, taking place in London 13-16 September.

DSEI is a particularly poisonous event. It has a history of Governmental-invites to representatives from dreadful regimes, of drawing on massive public subsidy, and of using British servicemen to demonstrate tanks, guns, ships to international arms dealers. This in support of multi-billion corporate profits. We will say more about this in future posts.

Standing in opposition to this madness were the people I spent time with today. In my time away from it, while I was so busy in Reading, the global justice movement has moved forward. It is much more calm, assured and professional these days, yet still with the idealism and kindness of earlier times, and this could be seen in the organisation of the day’s events. Breakout rooms, open space sessions, Powerpoint: in some ways like any company seminar. But with D-locks, helmets, concrete blocks, bust cards as training equipment.

But the people, the people. The philosopher Antonio Damasio calls conscience the highest achievement of human consciousness, and the people there embodied it. Giving up the comforts of a family Sunday, here were people ready to march, run, charge unarmed against the most powerful of vested interests. Willing to lock-on, die-in, opt-out, act-up, to meet the most negative power with the most positive, and inspire others to do the same. And just lovely with it.

Many cunning plans were developed, networks established, much laughter shared. The revolution may not be televised, as Gil Scott Heron would have it, but I can say for sure that there will be cake. That, and ordinary people, capable of extraordinary things, standing up to tyranny.

You should be there.

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