Roots of Resistance will take action as part of the No Faith in War day on Tuesday 3rd September, at the East Gate of the Excel Centre, in London. Read about what is happening across the whole day here. This is part of a week of action coordinated by Stop the Arms Fair, in the run up to the DSEI arms fair, and in disruption of its set up.
We will gather for a briefing session at Friends House from 2pm on Monday 2nd September. If you can’t make that session, please make sure you’ve had a look at this Know your rights briefing from Stop the Arms Fair.
The Meetings for Worship on Tuesday 3rd September will be held at 9am and 2pm, and each will be followed by protest singing – get ready to join in with this by singing along here. There will also be time for some Quaker worship and reflection from 18:30 in an “equinox” evening gathering.
There are three key elements to our action: meeting for worship, a collective Quaker “craftivist” tapestry, and protest singing. More details of these are below.
This page also includes an action consensus, which outlines how we hope to take action together.
A PDF version of this briefing – including an introduction to the DSEI arms fair – can be downloaded here. For printed versions to distribute to members of your Quaker meeting, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To register for updates about our plans, make sure you’ve signed up here.
Working together: buddies and affinity groups
With 1000 Quakers (hopefully) coming together at DSEI, we want everyone to feel safe and connected on the day. For this to happen we will work in smaller groups to look after everyones wellbeing. Click here to read our briefing exploring a number of different ways we can organise in small groups.
Monday 2nd September: hearts and minds prepared
We also intend to organise preparation meetings and trainings around the country for Friends planning on joining us to take action against the fair. If you would like to help us organise a training in your area, please email email@example.com.
For several years, the focus of protest against DSEI has been to target the setup of the fair, in the week preceding the event, and we will continue this strategy this year. DSEI takes place from 9-13th September, and during the week before the event trucks laden with military equipment – as well as all of the other equipment and consumables needed for an event attracting 30,000 visitors – will be entering the ExCeL exhibition centre. Protesting the setup is a much easier point to resist, has a bigger impact on the organisation and preparation of the event, and gives a longer time to build interest and pressure in the media and with politicians.
1. Meeting for worship
Our resistance to DSEI will be rooted in our Quaker faith. Throughout the day, we will organise opportunities to gather in worshipful silence, close to the ExCeL Centre. Over the coming months Roots of Resistance will be organising and preparing Quakers across the country to take collective, worshipful action.
Our meetings outside DSEI will be a little different from what occurs in meeting houses on a Sunday morning – they will be outdoors, and open to the elements! But they will also be an opportunity for individuals and groups to take nonviolent direct action, and for others to witness, uphold, and support such action. Roots of Resistance will support and enable those willing and able to take such action.
We will organise legal support, media and social media cover, people supporting the wellbeing of everyone involved, and various other arrangements to enable everyone to take action in a manner that is safe, effective, and rooted in our Quaker values. If you have particular skills in any of these areas (or would like to learn!) then please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The whole day is being organised by a coalition of other faith groups, and our meetings will take place in and amongst prayers and acts of worship led by other faith groups. Roots of Resistance are working with other faith groups to organise a number of interfaith elements, such as collective prayer/worship, or a shared meal. Again, the details of these will be announced closer to the time.
2. Quaker tapestry
As well as directly resisting the fair, we will also engage in a collective Quaker “craftivist” project – and what’s more Quaker than a tapestry?! Over the coming months, we would like to invite you to produce a mini-banner. Using cross- stitch, appliqué, fabric pens, or any other method, we would like you to illustrate the impact of the arms trade and our resistance to it on a small piece of fabric. We will bring our mini-banners together at DSEI to form a big tapestry, and after our action we’ll use them around London to highlight DSEI and the impact of the international arms trade.
When thinking about your piece of the tapestry, you might want to illustrate:
- the impact of the international arms trade in wars and conflict around the world,
- the arms trade at work – the meetings, the deals, the exhibitions…
- our movements resistance to the arms trade,
or your vision of a peaceful world, free of the arms trade.
You might want to work with others in your meeting to produce a piece, or a number of pieces. Contributing to our collective artwork provides an opportunity for members of meetings unable to travel to London to engage and contribute to our action.
Each mini-banner should be around 15x20cm in size, and ideally backed onto another piece of fabric strong enough for eyelets (so we can attach pieces to lampposts, railings, etc). You can use a combination of words or images, whatever feels appropriate. Please bring your mini-banner to the briefing session on Monday 2nd, or along to the action.
This idea comes from the Craftivist Collective and has been used in other campaigns. For more information and ideas see www.craftivist-collective.com
3. Protest singing
It’s difficult to imagine a peace action without song!
As we build up to the action, we’ve gathered songs of peace, justice, love, and equality, that we can sing together on the day.
We’ve chosen simple, well known songs, so that we don’t need to be faffing around with bits of paper on the day. This does mean it’s useful to have a practice beforehand – here are videos of each of the 11 songs to help you. Why not arrange a singing session after meeting one Sunday?
Roots of Resistance is a community of Friends preparing to take creative, vibrant, nonviolent action to resist the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair. This action consensus outlines how we hope to take action together.
We understand that throughout our action we will encounter many different people, including staff from the ExCeL centre, police officers, security guards, truck drivers, members of the public. We will recognise the humanity of all those we encounter, approaching them with dignity and respect.
We will direct our protest at the government, the Excel Centre, Clarion Events, and the many companies present at DSEI.
Everyone is welcome to take action with us, regardless of whether they have any previous experience of nonviolent protest.
Safety is important, and we will act in a way that minimises the risk of harm to ourselves and others. If roads are blocked, we will ask drivers to turn off their engines.
Those under the influence of alcohol or drugs will not be welcome to take action with us.
We won’t carry weapons, or anything that could be misconstrued as a weapon.
We will behave in a cool, calm, and measured way. If conflict arises, we will seek to de-escalate the conflict. We will remain nonviolent at all times.
If our protest is taking place in the road, we will move to allow emergency vehicles (but not police) to pass.
Regarding police officers present on the day, we will remain aware:
- that different people have different experiences of the police,
- that the police react differently depending on an individual’s race, sex, gender, class, age, or other aspects of their identity,
- the police collect, store, and process information on our movements,
- that police forces from across the world will be attending DSEI.
We hope to act in solidarity with all those who have experienced violence from the police, or are likely to in the future. This means we will not share information about other individuals or groups with the police. We will also avoid extended conversations, we will make sure we know and assert our own and others rights, and we will question individual officers and the wider police operation surrounding our action.