RoR’s action team are planning away, in preparation for what we hope to be the largest gathering of Quakers at an arms fair to date. Our plans are focused on inclusivity, as our presence will be formed of people with lots of experience of protest and none, engaging with our shared action in in different ways. We will all be there together in solidarity, upholding each other, and driven by the same call of love in our hearts to stop the evil that begins at DSEI Arms Fair.
This blog will share reflections of those who have acted before, and those who are being driven to do so in 2019. We will hear of conviction and passion as well as hesitancies and concerns, through which we hope to encourage, uphold and mobilise.
And to kick us off with eight months to go, we hear from Sam, who at this point 2 years ago began mobilizing in Hull to join the 2017 protests…
“In Dec 2016, after a couple of days of celebration, having been found with “no case to answer” along with four other Quakers who blockaded AWE Burghfield last year, I set my sights on DSEI 2017. I had nine months ahead of me and so set about organising.
I emailed everyone I knew in Hull who might be vaguely interested and organised a gathering. A group came together and by the end of the meeting there was a tangible sense of commitment in the room. We decided we would try and get some minibuses to transport people down from Hull to DSEI and so set about fundraising and awareness raising.
Over 9 months we raised £1500, put on two gigs, including a bespoke performance called ‘White Feathers Against the Wind’, had a film showing of Shadow World with Andrew Feinstein coming up to answer questions afterwards, and in the end got over 30 people commit to coming down to DSEI (none of whom had heard of it before).
Three of us from Hull also took part in direct actions. I ended up hanging from a bridge on the No Faith in War day, holding a banner saying “DSEI is State Terrorism”. As always, the process of being involved in direct actions is an intense one, but I left with new and deepened friendships, memories, and lots of lessons learnt.
All of us from Hull were disappointed that the turnout for the stopDSEI protests, while growing, was still so small. Upon return we are already exploring how we can swell those numbers for 2019, to make sure that DSEI 2019 is the last ever DSEI. There is still so much work to do!”