On June 12th Sussex Stop G8, Smash EDO and Disarm DSEI are calling for a mass Citizens’ Weapons Inspection in the West End. The meeting place will be BAE Systems, 6 Carlton Gardens, SW1Y 5AD. Join Us!
This is a call to all anti-militarists to join us in the West End of London during the week of action against the G8.
The West End is one of London’s financial centres and London is at the heart of global capitalism. The West End hosts private banks for London’s wealthy elites, private investment funds and PR companies to handle the reputational issues of the city’s corporations and mega rich.
All of this is carried on behind closed doors. However, the West End is also host to the private members’ clubs and cocktail bars where the powerful flaunt their wealth.
Wherever there is extreme wealth at the expense of the poor it necessitates military force to protect the powerful from rebellion. The mining companies of the West End require military might to defend their land grabs from the anger of indigenous peoples. Oil companies, like BP on St James’s Square, need state neo-imperialism to exploit the resources of subjugated nations all over the world. Global capitalism requires repression to ensure against revolt.
The West End is a centre of London’s arms trade. Companies like L-3, based at 27B Floral Street, manufacture drone and surveillance technology to ensure that populations remain tame and compliant in the face of global capitalist oppression.
Around the corner at 15 Lower Regent Street is the world’s largest military contractor, the US company Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin’s complicity in global military oppression is almost too large to comprehend, with contracts in everything from missiles to aircraft.
The UK’s largest arms manufacturer BAE has offices at 6 Carlton Gardens. Riddled with long-running corruption scandals concerning the payment of sums of approximately £30m per quarter for more than 10 years to Saudi Prince Bandar as well as other high profile corruption cases in South Africa, BAE have now been forced to pay the US government £48.7m for breach of military export laws -mere pocket-money for them of course.
The West End is also host to the head offices of private military companies, which make money from providing security to corporate contractors seeking profit in situations of military conflict and occupation where they require protection from angry populations.
Erinys, at 66 Chiltern Street, has provided security to Western contractors in Iraq and has been accused of torturing an Iraqi teenager. Aegis, at 118 Piccadilly, had a £225m contract from the US government to oversee all private military personnel in Iraq. When the US Military pulled out of Baghdad, Aegis was one of the eight companies which replaced it.
These actions have human consequences. Millions are killed every year in military conflict, from the more-than-a-decade occupation of Afghanistan, which has brought nothing but death and turmoil to the people of the country, to the Israeli state occupation and apartheid against the people of Palestine to the US’s covert drone attacks in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.
Military companies are benefiting from these bloody conflicts while the net result of all this is to maintain the current status quo — global domination by a handful of capitalist states.
Join us in the West End on Wednesday 12th June to show the CEOs of these companies that they cannot hide from our anger behind the closed doors and nondescript shop fronts of the West End and that the CCTV and surveillance culture that they advocate cannot tame the population forever, that there will be a fightback.
Meet on June 12th at 2pm in theWest End – meeting point to be announced.