Academics to protest at conference to ‘Stop the Arms’

‘Conference at the Gates’ confronts the buyers and sellers of arms

September 9, 2015
Source: iStock
Acaademics will take on the manufacturers of land mines and other weaponry

An academic conference on militarism and global politics is to take place outside one of the world’s biggest arms fairs.

About 1,500 weapons manufacturers and representatives of more than 100 states are due to attend the Defence and Security Equipment 2015 fair at London’s ExCeL Centre on 10 September. As part of an organised week of action against DESI, academics and students will come together for the first-ever Stop the Arms Fair: Conference at the Gates on the roundabout near the eastern entrance.

Topics up for discussion will include “war and moral stupidity”, “Britain’s response to the Arab uprisings” and “identifying tear gas and holding companies to account”. There will also be a workshop presented by ForcesWatch, an organisation devoted to “scrutinis[ing] the ethics of armed forces recruitment practices and challeng[ing] efforts to embed militarist values in civilian society”.

“As government funding is drained from universities,” says co-organiser Chris Rossdale, teaching fellow in international relations at Royal Holloway, University of London, “the arms trade and the military are moving in and are playing a bigger role than ever.

“This conference is our chance to come into their space. It will be an opportunity to build relationships between academics, students and the wider community in ways that are often excluded from corporate university agendas, and to explore our ideas in a more direct fashion.”

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