Campaign Against Arms Trade by David Turner
Those of us who have been campaigning committedly, year in, year out over decades to end the arms trade have done so with no illusions as to the formidable nature of the task, or the very long process that will be involved. This process has to take into account the economic, social and political context, both national and global which is ever changing.
At national level there is an awareness of the extent of the entrenchment of arms dealing in a system which, irrespective of which political party is in power, represents an establishment cemented by common educational privilege, based on wealth, and tightly enclosed access to positions of power in finance, industry and politics…
Yet we stay hopeful on the basis that, whatever the outcome in terms of radical change in the short term, a great evil, at least as hideous as the slave trade in its impact on many millions of victims, must be challenged on the grounds of morality and common humanity. A great source of encouragement is our links with peace and justice movements worldwide – we are part of something indestructible. Another is the extent of common concern on the issues encountered on the streets of the city, and at campaigning events.
So what are we doing in practical terms? A major focus is on education – in a world when there is a mountain of distortion on the one hand, and , on the other a refusal on the part of the media to allow informed discussion of the case for ending, or even limiting arms trading. The Amnesty campaign for an international Arms Trade Treaty is an illustration of the muzzling of debate in the media – not one example of serious engagement with the issues.
The Edinburgh CAAT Group puts much effort into encounter with the public, our stalls offering a wide range of information that is factual, opportunities for people to express their views, and to take action in various ways. For some this is truly liberating from a sense of hopelessness , and a pathway into active involvement. Public displays in churches and other venues have had good responses over the years as new forms of protest emerge.
We challenge at arms factories and at Graduate Careers days where arms companies exhibit, providing information about what these firms actually do. We offer modules to schools, presented by members trained in facilitating discussion with young people, MP’s and MSP’s are approached on questions of disarmament, and arms conversion that will actually preserve skills needed for renewable energy projects.
Our Group meetings are for planning ahead, information exchange and mutual encouragement. They are open to the public and all with a concern are invited to involve themselves with some aspect of the Group’s work that appeals, however small, as time and talents allow. Suggested reading for enquirers:
- Introduction to the Arms Trade
- Cost of the Arms Trade
- Private Gain, Public Pain -the case for ending arms trading
- Making Arms, Wasting Skills
- CAAT News
These publications are available, free, except for postage, from:
7/2, Straiton Place,
Edinburgh EH1 2BA
Tel No 0131 669 1308
idturn_08 (at) btinternet
caatedinburgh (at) live.com
You can see the talk which David gave on his involvement in campaigning against the arms trade here: