Coventry Quaker Vicky Cowell explains how Roots of Resistance is opposing the arms trade, and how you can get involved:
Roots of Resistance is a community of Friends building a creative, vibrant and radical Quaker response to the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair.
‘Refusal to fight with weapons is not surrender. We are not passive when threatened by the greedy, the cruel, the tyrant, the unjust. We will struggle to remove the causes of impasse and confrontation by every means of non-violent resistance available’.Quaker Faith & Practice 24.10
Roots of Resistance is planning to build an unprecedented Quaker presence at the 2019 fair, standing together against DSEI and the global arms trade. Our ambition is to mobilise 1000 Quakers to take action against DSEI in September 2019. Taking place in east London every two years, DSEI is a huge trade show bringing together 1,500 arms companies with representatives from militaries from around the world. Some of the world’s largest companies market tanks, planes, drones, rifles, ammunition, surveillance technology, training and a huge array of other weapons.
In witnessing our testimony to peace, Friends have been driven to join the movement of resistance to this arms fair, which brings global human rights violations to our doorstep. Arms fairs like DSEI are a key root cause of the violence and injustice around the world. We’re recruiting area organisers who can act as a point of contact in their area meetings, and work to bring Friends to London in September 2019. If we can recruit 100 area organisers, who each bring 10 Friends, that’s 1000 Quakers at DSEI!
I have signed up to be an area organiser and can confirm action will be focused on a ‘No Faith in War’ day similar to 2017 when Quakers and others sat worshipping in the familiar circle blocking the entrance to vehicles attempting entry to London’s Excel Centre. The day will see various faith groups taking part and is confirmed for Tuesday 3rd September. Another general day of resistance that is being focused on is Saturday 7th September. We can make plans to travel together and Roots of Resistance can help with organising willing Quaker hosts or potentially other accommodation for staying in London if needed.
If you are interested in taking part, I (and Roots of Resistance) would love to hear from you -you don’t have to be an experienced activist! Although our short term focus is mobilising resistance to DSEI 2019, this is just a start. We hope that Roots of Resistance can be a framework for Quaker action against injustice and oppression well into the future.
For more information please contact Vicky Cowell at Coventry meeting, Lynn Morris at Stourbridge meeting, or Pete Doubtfire at Peace Hub.