Challenges

Key issues in resisting the arms trade.

The arms industry is a multi-billion pound industry that relies on extensive political and economic support from complicit governments.

Arms companies rely on secrecy. We aim to expose the deadly consequences of this terrible trade, and the role of arms dealing governments like the UK in promoting it.

This section of the website will explore what we mean by the arms industry, the ways that it has gained so much power, the ways that it uses that power, and the different challenges that it presents for campaigners.

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A Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet being viewed by arms dealers with a BAE Systems logo in the background

The Arms Trade

The arms trade fuels wars and armed violence, supports repressive and authoritarian regimes, reinforces global systems of oppression and inequality, diverts scarce resources from human needs, and is a source of massive corruption.

Seven men in suits talking, all with short greying hair

Government support

The UK arms trade would not be possible without the unwavering support of the UK Government. It does not just oversee the arms trade. It is an active participant, working to promote and secure arms deals around the world, with little regard for the impact of these sales.

HMS Queen Elizabeth class carrier with complement of helicopters and sailors standing in rows on deck. Tugs escorting. Helicopter flying in foreground with green and red lights

Militarism

What does militarism mean? What are its impacts, and what are the alternatives?

Linked issues

Activists protest against borders at the Stop DSEI arms fair week of action, September 2019

Borders

Migration is framed by governments as a security problem and a threat - a narrative pushed by the military and security industry, who make a killing from selling the equipment used to maintain borders: from border patrol ships and razor wire fencing, to fingerprint databases to monitor migrants' movements.

Police with shields and helmets in front of the House of Commons

Bob Bob, CC BY 2.0

Policing

State violence is the same whether it’s carried out by the military or police. The line between the two has always been blurred and, via equipment, tactics and terminology, this is increasing.

Ways to Change our world from arms to renewables banner, with drawings of falling nuclear bombs and picture of windmill and waves.

Climate crisis

Real security involves tackling the causes of problems, not creating more, and climate change is one of the biggest that we face. A full transition away from arms manufacturing and towards the development of renewables must and can start now.

See also

Seven men in suits talking, all with short greying hair

Arms companies

Arms companies produce the weaponry and equipment that facilitate conflict and repression. They sell to whoever it’s in their commercial interest to sell to, and use their massive political influence to ensure they receive government support. Sales are presented in terms of ‘defence’ and ‘allies’, but this is a smokescreen. A buyer is a buyer.

A Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet being viewed by arms dealers with a BAE Systems logo in the background

Arms fairs

Arms fairs are major events that are crucial to the smooth-running of the arms trade. They promote weapons sales by giving arms dealers the chance to meet and greet military delegations, government officials, other arms companies and a host of individual visitors.

People looking at a combat aircraft at an arms fair

Who buys UK arms?

UK arms are sold widely around the world. Export drives are determined by the ability of buyers to pay and their willingness to buy from the UK. The UK government applies token restrictions which they use to legitimise sales.

CAAT would not exist without its supporters. Each new supporter helps us strengthen our call for an end to the international arms trade.

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