Category: Re-post

No Pride in the Arms Trade

The following is a repost of an open letter we have signed, the original is hosted here.

If you would like to add your name to this open letter – please fill in this google form.

We, the undersigned, strongly condemn Bristol Pride’s acceptance of sponsorship money from Airbus for this year’s Pride, and demand that they ditch Airbus as a sponsor.

We want an apology from Bristol Pride, a commitment to never again accept money from those who profit from war crimes, and for them to understand that our community does not exist to be used to pink-wash the arming of oppressive regimes.

Police, dispersing Pride Parade in Istanbul

Solidarity is an action not empty words. For Bristol Pride to claim “we are with” LGBTQ+ activists in Istanbul, who bravely marched despite the ban on Pride, while accepting blood money from a company who supply Turkey’s military is gross hypocrisy. Last week LGBTQ+ activists marching at the banned Istanbul Pride were met with tear gas, rubber bullets, arrests and brutalisation; and the AKP government, led by Erdoğan, is deeply homophobic. [1]

Aircraft that Airbus supply to the Turkish military include the CN235 Maritime Patrol Craft, and the A400M multi-role transport aircraft. [2] The latter has its wings assembled in Filton, Bristol. [3]

Turkey has been invading Afrin, a predominantly Kurdish region in North Syria/Rojava, since January this year. There is strong evidence that Turkey has been employing former ISIS and al-Qaeda fighters for the invasion and occupation. In an interview with The Independent, a former ISIS fighter revealed that “most of those who are fighting in Afrin against the YPG [People’s Protection Units] are Isis, though Turkey has trained them to change their assault tactics.” [4]

Made in Bristol! Turkish Military Transport

In a recent statement, the Rojava Democratic Autonomous Administration Women’s Coordination condemned the abuses of the invading Turkish armed forces and their mercenary allies, saying:
“Erdogan and his mercenaries have occupied Afrin and forced people to leave their homes while at the same time changing the demography of the region. Turkey is also settling mercenaries and their families into the homes of the residents of Afrin”.
“The atrocities against the people of Afrin carried out by the Turkish army and their mercenaries are happening every day under the silence of the international community: women abduction, rape, forcing Ezîdîs to become Muslim, plunder.” [5]

The acceptance of sponsorship money from Airbus is also a specific attack on the Bristol queer community. Anna Campbell, a Bristol-based lesbian, was killed in Afrin, north Syria/Rojava, by a Turkish air strike in March. After going to Rojava to learn from, and support, the women’s revolution; and to fight against ISIS with the YPJ (Women’s Protection Units), she went to Afrin to help defend it against the invasion by Turkey. She was killed with two YPJ comrades, Sara Mêrdîn and Serhildan, while protecting civilians who were evacuating Afrin.

Hêlîn Qereçox (Anna Campbell)

Airbus, along with BAE and Leonardo, also build the Eurofighter jet which they supply to Saudi Arabia, [6] who have used it extensively in their bombing campaign against Yemen. [7] Currently one child dies every ten minutes in Yemen. [8] Saudi Arabia has one of the worst LGBT rights records in the world, with homosexuality criminalised. Being gay or trans in Saudi Arabia means risking fines, imprisonment, torture and even the death penalty. [9]

We call on Bristol Pride to have some integrity and ditch Airbus now!

See More (including signatories)

 

More about our views on Pride:
pride stickers
Battle for the Soul of Pride

Ps.
Don’t think we haven’t noticed you, Babcock, just because you’re a smaller arms company with a smaller sponsorship deal. So small you kind of have to squint to read your name on the promotional material.

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It’s Time To Learn From History, Direct Action and Disobedience Is What Brings Governments Down

If we want to fight the Tories, we must be ungovernable.
We must *not* be united into one organisation.
We must be many organisations, everywhere, speaking and acting in solidarity with each other, trying different strategies, sharing ideas, and not condemning each others diversity of tactics.

the void

matadoscloak

In February 2003 over one million people marched in opposition to the invasion of Iraq.  The mass protest, one of the largest in the UK’s history, was peaceful but determined and organised in full co-operation with the authorities.  An army of stewards prevented sit down protests on the march and ensured that the huge crowd was ushered, efficiently and without incident, into a pre-arranged rally in Hyde Park.   Here trade union bureacrats, Labour MPs and z-list celebrity left-wingers made fiery speeches promising this was just the beginning of a militant peace movement that would stop the war.

A month later US and UK forces began a series of devastating air strikes on Iraq.  The war had begun, and it would kill hundreds of thousands of people.

Marches against the Iraq war continued, organised by the Stop the War Coalition (StWC), which was now little more than a front for the…

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Solidarity with Anarchist Prisoner Emma Sheppard

Anarchist and Bristol resident Emma was sentenced to 2 years prison today in court, for damaging 4 tyres on 3 separate police cars, which had been called out to assist the 2 cops chasing her (no cops were injured). Despite this being a stand-alone case with no known or proven connection to other recent attacks across Bristol, its clear the authorities had them in mind, especially with the involvement of operation GRhone (only after some marginally more competent officers had actually made the arrest of course).

A well known & liked activist, Emma had no previous convictions and had received numerous good character references.

Solidarity greetings to Emma!

Bristol Anarchist Black Cross - Prisoner Support

Anarchist prisoner, Emma Sheppard was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment on Tuesday 24th February 2015 at Bristol Crown Court for committing criminal damage recklessly endangering life.

The charge relates to criminal damage of police cars in the Bristol area.

Please write letters of solidarity to:

Emma Sheppard
A7372DJ
HMP Eastwood Park
Church Avenue
Falfield
Wotton-under-Edge
Gloucestershire
GL12 8DB

Emma can receive cards, stamps and stationary.

For donations, news & any other solidarity efforts email: bristol_abc@riseup.net

Support Emma

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Is it time to shut down J.D. Wetherspoons? – Mal Content.

Wessex Solidarity

Last orders for the Prince of Wales Cardiff?

There are a few things I like about Wetherspoons; real ale at around £2.50 a pint, plenty of space, and you can always eat for free if you hang around long enough, no one ever seems to finish their dinner and I’m not really that bothered what I eat when there isn’t a transaction involved.

Their selling point is you know what to expect and can more or less budget for it before you walk in, and that’s all they’ve got going for them really, the privileges that come with a large chain, high turnover and the resulting leverage with suppliers. Chairman Tim Martin was heavily influenced by Wal-Mart’s founder Sam Walton, to the extent of making his book required reading for pub managers. His policy was to corner the market by buying up and selling off smaller pubs then open larger ones nearby. Your local struggling independent hostelry may…

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On How Many British Soldiers Tried Not To Kill Any Germans (and vise versa)

Hatred of the enemy, so strenuously fostered in training days, largely faded away in the line. We somehow realized that individually they were very like ourselves, just as fed-up and anxious to be done with it all

Much of the media discussion concerning WW1 over the last few years has been centred on the Courts-Martial and executions of so-called ‘cowards’ from the British Infantry between 1914-1918. This debate has been focussed on getting pardons for those who were shot (often in front of their comrades) on the basis they were ‘shell-shocked’ or suffering from ‘post-traumatic stress disorder’ rather than being ‘cowards’[5]. This victim-orientated narrative (there were 300 posthumous pardons issued by the state in 2006) implies that on the whole the issue of desertion and disobedience was limited to relatively isolated incidents[6]. Arguing about those who ‘refused’ the slaughter of WW1 on the basis of ‘cowardice’ or ‘mental illness’ provides both an exception to the rule (of supposed generally good discipline) and takes away the agency of soldiers, instead presenting the few miscreants as either embarrassing ‘gibbering weak-willed wrecks’ or deserving our sympathy as ‘damaged lunatics’. In contrast, very little attention has been paid to the mass of mutineers, strikers, agitators, shirkers and skulkers who were consciously and actively refusing and/or avoiding front-line combat and the war in general.

Mass refusals, disobedience, mutinies, strikes and out-right rebellion were all part of the British armed forces experience in WW1[7]These were all fairly explicit events and to a certain extent these hidden narratives are becoming part of the historical record despite the attempts of contemporary military censors and government ‘D’ notices on the press as well as the 100 year rule in suppressing military documents. Subsequent post-war collective memory loss related to dominant patriotic ideologies served to smother these events even further, but in the 1960s/70s a critical historical reappraisal of WW1 began, marked in the cultural sphere by the biting satire of the musical ‘Oh What a Lovely War’[8]. This reassessment of WW1 led to a series of historical and sociological examinations of the ‘life in the trenches’ in the succeeding decade. Some of these works provide a new and interesting angle on the subterranean (but at the same time mass) collective tactics British (and German) soldiers used for avoiding combat.

Read More From Bristol Radical History Group…