2011 sees the launch of Campaign Against Arms Trade's (CAAT) new campaign "This is not OK". The simple slogan highlights the unethical basis of the Government's enthusiastic support for the arms industry and arms exports.
"This is not OK" is launched today (17 January), on the 50th anniversary of President Eisenhower's farewell address, where he warned against the unfettered growth of the "military-industrial complex". He stated: "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
"We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defence with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."
In the coming year, CAAT will focus its anti-arms trade message on three separate but interlinked groups and organisations:
*The Coalition government, its Ministers, and MPs from the main political parties, in and out of government.
*UK Trade & Investment Defence & Security Organisation (UKTI DSO), the government organisation responsible for promoting arms exports and organising and inviting foreign government delegations to UK arms fairs.
*Clarion Events, the private company that owns and organises international arms fairs, including DSEi, Defence and Security Equipment International, the biennial London arms fair.
Throughout the year, there will be public actions and demonstrations to bring home the message "This is not OK" to the public, to government decision-makers and to DSEi's organisers. The climax of the campaign will be the DSEi arms fair which takes place in London docklands on 13-16 September 2011.
Sarah Waldron, Core Campaign Co-ordinator at CAAT, says "Eisenhower's concerns about the military-industrial complex are as relevant to the UK today as they were to the USA 50 years ago. The arms industry has a devastating impact on people and countries round the world, as well as funnelling money from more socially useful areas. This is not OK. We want an end to government support for the arms industry and the cancellation of arms fairs, especially the DSEi arms fair."