“I grew up watching 9/11 happen, the invasion of Afghanistan, the antiwar movement leading up to the invasion of Iraq, and the antiwar movement after the invasion of Iraq. These were the largest mobilizations across the globe to stop the buildup of war. These actions did nothing to stop imperialist war and here we are today decades later caught up in even more military excursions across every continent in the world.
The reality is symbolic protest accomplishes nothing other than making a few folks feel good about themselves for “doing something”. The United State has had a very long problem of nationalism, militarism, and chauvinism. We have been led to believe by the powers that be that these aggressive expansionist actions by our state and military are necessary and purely defensive. Not only this but much of our economy is built around weapons production. Billions of dollars circulate annually between the US state and war corporations, thousands of workers are employed through these contracts, even unions support the mass weapons production used to commit atrocities across the globe.
All ethical people should see that these wars and what’s accompanied them including the torture, the illegal mass surveillance, the CIA black sites, the execution of US citizens without due process via targeted drone strikes, the violation of other peoples’ sovereignty, and overall neocolonialism needs to come to an end. The question is what are we actually willing to do to show our allegiance is not with the war corporation CEOs and their politicians, but with the workers of the world, with the oppressed of the world?
Imperialism is produced and reenforced right here where we live. It is our moral duty to disrupt the production of imperialism and militarism in our own backyard. There is a local network between the local colleges, the Radford arsenal, and war corporations to play an integral role in perpetuating US imperialism. We have to build a mass opposition which works towards a just transition away from imperialist production, and towards socially useful and nontoxic production that benefits our community and doesn’t make us culpable in the human atrocities being committed across the globe.
How many people are familiar with BAE Systems? This is a British multinational corporation which has a long track record of profiting through corruption, intimidation, and collaboration with literal fascist dictators. BAE Systems is the managing corporation over our local Radford Arsenal. They’ve received a billion dollar contract to operate productions at the Radford Arsenal. The Radford Arsenal is the only site in the US which produces nitrocellulose, there would be no missiles produced in the US if the Radford Arsenal stopped production.
The Arsenal has been in operation since the second world war and has produced explosives for every conflict the US has been involved in since. Right now BAE System has one of its primary clients – Saudi Arabia – purchasing billions of dollars of weapons to wage war against the Yemeni people. Yemen is now facing the worlds worst humanitarian crisis.
The Saudis are bombing civilian targets including schools and hospitals, all with the complicity of BAE Systems. These are war crimes. Right here in our own backyard we are enabling war crimes. Holding signs and having peace vigils is not going to stop the production of imperialism within our region. We have to take action to drive out BAE Systems, transition the arsenal into useful production, detoxify our community and lessen the risk of being in a blast zone.”