Article from the Oct 2004 edition, Socialist Voice

Weapons conference Shut it down!

A MAJOR international arms trade fair, the so-called 'Less Lethal Weapons Conference', is coming to Dublin (Berkeley Court Hotel, Ballsbridge 19 and 20 October).

By Conor Payne

The weapons on exhibition will include plastic bullets, which are known to have killed at least 14 people in Northern Ireland and electro-shock batons, a common tool of prison torture used by some of the world's most repressive regimes. Tools of political repression, such as CS and CR gas, both known to be fatal, will also be on sale. Many of these weapons are used by brutal dictatorships, by the occupiers of Iraq or by western riot police in the suppression of strikes and protests. We have witnessed these "less lethal" weapons in action in Ireland, in Shannon against anti-war protestors, against Reclaim The Streets protestors and most recently to "defend" the EU Summit against unarmed anti-globalisation protestors with hundreds of riot police and elaborate water cannons. These kind of weapons will undoubtedly be used to defend the bosses' profits against workers' protests and strikes in the future. That's why Socialist Youth will be protesting and organising to shut this Conference down.

Unsurprisingly, Ireland's pro-big business government is very happy to welcome the arms industry and its customers.

Arms companies make billions in profits every year from wars and state repression. Worldwide, $800 billion is wasted on arms every year, more than is spent on anything else! It is estimated that the cost of just one British Aerospace Hawk is what would be needed to provide 1.5 million people in Africa with fresh water for life!

This is one of the clearest examples of how the capitalist system places the drive for profit above anything else. That's why, as well as opposing the massive wastage of the arms trade, we are organising to defeat capitalism and to create a socialist society. The massive wealth that's currently wasted on arms could then be used to raise the standard of living of people around the world.

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