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From: The Socialist issue 780, 18 September 2013: Fight Royal Mail sell-off!

Search site for keywords: Arms - Newham - East London - Bahrain - Big business

Ban this trade in death

Protest against the Israeli government's attacks on Gaza 24 November 2012, photo Paul Mattsson

Protest against the Israeli government's attacks on Gaza 24 November 2012, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Recently, Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) held its biennial arms fair event at the Excel arena in Newham, east London.

Two trade stands were found to be offering torture equipment for sale until embarrassed event organisers eventually booted them out.

While the Labour-run Newham council is only too happy to allow this trade in death to take place in the borough, it has effectively banned socialists and other peaceful campaign groups from using non-obstructive public stalls in pedestrian areas of the borough.

The arms trade is very big business around the world. In Britain the arms and defence industry employs 400,000 and produces 11.5 billion of exports each year.

Cameron and the Con-Dems may weep crocodile tears over civilian deaths in Syria, but they are only too happy to allow the representatives of dictatorships, such as in Uzbekistan and Bahrain, to buy more deadly equipment to brutally suppress their own populations.

These fairs, touting lethal weapons, should be banned. Moreover, the arms companies should be nationalised, with their factories and the skilled workforce turned over to the production of goods that would benefit society as a whole, and democratically run.

In the 1970s workers at the Lucas Aerospace combine produced a detailed report explaining how arms production in their factories could be converted to the manufacture of socially useful products, such as dialysis machines, and calling for workers' control.

Chris Newby

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