International Seminar: War Profiteering and Peace Movement Responses / Barcelona


Justícia i Pau (Centre Delàs), Fundació per la Pau, War Resisters' International and the European Network Against Arms Trade invite you to the seminar: “War Profiteering and Peace Movement Responses” to be held in Barcelona between 29 September and 2 October, 2011.

The seminar will bring together activists from groups from all regions of the world, with and among which we see the potential to build long-lasting cooperation. That is, from groups that represent the spectrum of the movement against war profiteering. The seminar will analyse the different trends in war profiteering and its impact on local communities. We then plan to work, using participatory tools, on how to develop successful strategies in our campaigning against war profiteers and on how to strengthen the links between our groups.

Programme (draft)

Theme groups

  • New developments in war profiteering: (Coordinator: Wendela de Vries, Campagne tege Wapenhandel, the Netherlands)
    How do we respond to new developments such as Privatisation of war, (the growing use of commercial companies instead of national armed forces.) the use of Drones (you don’t go to war, you just take your joystick) and homeland security as a new profitable branch, used for crowd control, catching refugees and spying on opposition. How do we develop arguments, can we make new strategic connections with other campaigns?
    Resource people: Chris Cole (DroneWars, UK), Pere Ortega (Peace Study Centre Delas), Switzerland without an Army,
  • Exposing the bad guys: (Coordinator: Ann Feltham, Campaign Against Arms Trade, UK)
    By challenging the links between governments and the arms industry, we can use the fact that people –even if they are not against arms trade per se – do not like the subsidies and support the latter receive. By exposing the role of the banks, pension providers, etc. in supporting the war profiteers we use the fact that these financers also have a individual consumer connection .By targeting specific companies we can expose the actual transfers and use of specific systems. Can these strategies be improved? What can we learn from each other?
    Resource people: Jungming Choi (Weapon Zero, South Korea), Rob Thomson (Ceasefire Campaign, South Africa), Frida Berrigan (War Resisters League, USA)
  • War and the exploitation of natural resources: (Coordinator: Javier Gárate, War Resisters' International, Chile/UK)
    Exploiting natural resources is a central economic motive for war and a central feature of war “reconstruction”, such as we see in Iraq. It is an explicit part of strategies of alliances such as NATO or EU. It is also a major factor in the violent displacement of poor and indigenous communities in many parts of the world. How can we connect anti arms trade strategies and strategies against environmental destruction?
    Resource people: Samarendra Das (India), Lexys Rendón (El Libertario, Venezuela), Jan Van Criekinge (Belgium)


  • Civil society work on military expenditure (Colin Archer, IPB)
    This workshop will offer a brief overview of milex worldwide (SIPRI data etc) & its relationship to arms trade, privatisation, economic crisis etc. Then we will explain the Global Day of Action on Military Spending (April 2011), what we did - why - how - evaluation. There will be short reports from GDAMS organisers present - or via distributed papers. We will debate follow-up strategy: the various levels, approaches and sectors; and we will conclude by sharing some ideas for GDAMS 2012.
  • Drones Wars (Chris Cole, DroneWars)
    Many believe that the growing use of armed unmanned drones which allow attacks to be made at great distances with little or no risk to the aggressor is changing the nature of warfare. With the military becoming more committed to ‘remote war’ and the war industry steadfastly developing autonomous drones, the future may indeed be bleak. This workshop will detail how drones are currently being used, explore how the military industry is developing drones for the future and will share news of how they are being opposed in the UK and elsewhere.
  • Researching the arms trade (Frida Berrigan, WRL)
    When we plan a campaign against a war profiteer, one of the first steps should always be research on the targeted company. It is also important to know what role the company plays in the global arms trade. There are many organisations specialising in research on the arms trade. It is important that the findings of this research gets to the people campaigning against the company, and that the work from action campaigns feeds back to the research groups. Most importantly, campaigning groups should learn how to carry their own research. In this workshop we will look at some general tips on how to conduct research on the arms trade, and learn from each other's research experience. We will also look at the role that research plays or should play in campaigning against war profiteering.
  • Spring revolutions and opportunities for campaigning (Ann Feltham, CAAT)
    The "Arab Spring" was the first time many people realised that their government allowed, and in some cases even promoted, arms sales to authoritarian regimes. Many people were horrified; even some politicians were shocked and questioned arms sales policies. This workshop will look at how we can use this to bring more people into our campaigns, and how we can use the Libya, Bahrain and other examples to argue for an end to arms sales more generally. What extra opportunities for campaigning has the "Arab Spring" opened up to us?
  • Using new technologies for social change (Alvine Andersson, Ofog)
    New technologies and social media are changing the way people communicate, giving activist groups new possibilities to mobilize, coordinate and get their message out. In this workshop we'll look at how new technologies have played a role for various social movements, what tools are available for us and how we can use them in our campaigning against war profiteering.
  • Control regimes on conventional arms trade; the EU Common Position and the UN Arms Trade Treaty (Wendela de Vries, Campagne tege Wapenhandel)
    In the 12 years of its existence the working of the EU Common Position on the export of Military Technology and Equipment is severely criticised by anti arms trade activists. Increasingly, governments use the Common Position as an excuse for arms export instead of as a safeguard against exports to human rights violators, war mongers or countries which are too poor to even have decent education for their population. Some anti arms trade groups decided not to work with the Common Position altogether. For other EU countries however, notably the new EU countries which never used to have any arms export control, the Common Position is an improvement.
    Now a new control regime is in the making, the UN Arms Trade Treaty. Although one cannot really compare it with the legally binding EU regime it has several similarities. Some parts of the defence industry call the Arms Trade Treaty a 'win-win situation' as it will provide them with a level playing field. Other defence industries fear loss of market opportunities. Some NGO's hail the Arms Trade Treaty as if it will solve the problems caused by uncontrolled arms exports. Others are more sceptical. How can we make the Arms Trade Treaty be effective to our use?
  • Mercenaries + The privatisation of war (Yasmin Khan, War on Want)
    For most people war means pain, suffering and poverty. Yet not everyone is made poorer by war. For some companies, war means profit. The last decade has seen a boom in private armies providing services for governments and corporations in war zones. Unregulated by governments and unaccountable to the public, there are currently tens of thousands of contractors working for private armies around the world. In Iraq there are still over 12,000 contractors working for the US government. This workshop will examine the rise of private armies and what we can do to stop them.
  • Linking the movement against war profiteering and the wider movement for social change (Javier Gárate, WRI)
    The movement against war profiteering is part of the larger movement for social change, but how much do we connect with movements outside our field? Is it important to connect with other movements to have a bigger impact in our work? With whom and how? This workshops will look at the importance and the potential of connecting the movement against war profiteering with other movements for social change.
  • Challenging gun violence: Impacts and options for action and activism (Ranveig Svenning Berg, IANSA)
    This workshop will highlight the impact of small arms availability and misuse including gender dimensions; outline the ‘Ship of Shame’ case study of IANSA mobilisation in Southern Africa; and provide information about current small arms control initiatives to help identify options for action and activism.

Country/Region Focus

  • Israel: Although a small country of less than 7 million inhabitants, Israel is one of the world’s largest recipient and suppliers of conventional weapons. As its arms industry is very sophisticated and its arms are ‘combat proven’ Israeli weapons and military know-how are in demand by armies all over the world. Israel is major exporter of drones and homeland security equipment. In July 2011 Palestinian NGO’s called for a military embargo on Israel.
    Resource people: Maren Mantovani (Stop the Wall BNC), Wendela de Vries, Eness Elias (Who Profits, Israel)
  • Saudi Arabia: The Saudi kingdom does not even pretend to be a democracy and is a severe human rights violator. Although since the Arab spring much arms exports to the Middle East are kept on hold, military exports to Saudi Arabia continue. In the UK scandal arose about corruption in a big arms deal with the Saudi’s, causing the Prime Minister to intervene and stop the investigation. In Germany the long-time ban on arms exports to Saudi Arabia was broken by an intended export of Leopard tanks, leaked to the German press and causing much protest.
    Resource person: Ann Feltham
  • Latin America: According to SIPRI, Latin America was the region with the biggest increase in military spending in the past year. This session will look at the general trend in Latin America of increasing military spending, its consequences to the region, who are the main exporters to Latin America, what is the situation of its own war industry and possibilities for campaigning against military spending and war profiteering in the region.
    Resource people: Lexys Rendón, Javier Gárate
  • Africa: This session will focus on the impact of small arms in Africa, who are the main players, what are the impacts to the region, past experiences of campaigning and potentials for more cooperation between different networks.
    Resource people: Rob Thomson, Ranveig Svenning Berg, Jan Van Criekinge


Day 1 - 29 Sept
19.30 Opening Trobada (public event)

Day 2 – 30 Sept
10.00 – 11.00 Seminar opening (Pere Ortega, Centre Delas/ Howard Clark, WRI / Ann Feltham ENAAT)
11.00 – 13.00 Theme Groups (focus: emerging trends)
13.00 – 15.00 LUNCH
15.00 – 16.15 Workshops

  • Civil Society work on military expenditure
  • Drones Wars
  • Researching the arms trade

16.15 – 16.45 BREAK
16.45 – 18.00 Workshops

  • Control regimes on conventional arms trade; the EU Common Position and the UN Arms Trade Treaty
  • Spring revolutions and opportunities for campaigning
  • Using new technologies for social change

19.00 – 21.00 Trobada (public event)

Day 3 – 1 Oct
10.00 – 10.30 Day Introduction
10.30 – 13.00 Theme Groups (focus: campaigning tools)
13.00 – 15.00 LUNCH
15.00 – 16.15 Workshops

  • Mercenaries + The privatisation of war
  • Linking the movement against war profiteering and the wider movement for social change
  • Challenging gun violence: Impacts and options for action and activism

16.15 – 16.45 BREAK
16.45 – 18.00 Country/Region focus
19.00 – 21.00 Trobada (public event)

Day 4 – 2 Oct
10.00 – 10.30 Day Introduction
10.30 – 12.45 Theme Groups (focus: internationalising the issue)
12.45 - 13.00 BREAK (snacks)
13.00 – 14.00 Closing


Index page

Attached file

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