By Jeremy Dewar
Lambeth & Southwark 4 Palestine and Southwark Trades Council have launched a campaign to kick BAE Systems out of South London. After a packed meeting in the New Year, where 40 activists gathered, we set up a WhatsApp group and within days over 150 activists joined. Workers Power members have been involved since the very beginning.
BAE is Europe’s largest arms company. It provides the Israel Defence Forces with key components of fighter jets, munitions, armoured vehicles and missile launching kits. In particular these merchants of death make parts for the F-35, the ‘most lethal fighter jet in the world’ which has been used to carry out devastating attacks on Gaza.
Shares in the company have risen 9% since 7 October. It is now valued at £33bn.
We found out they have offices in the Blue Fin Building right next to the Tate Modern. Blue Fin promotes itself as a space where people can ‘come together’ and ‘feel part of a community’. It claims to be ‘a location alive with creative cultural scenes’ where ‘wellness’ can thrive in a ‘natural environment’.
It encourages its tenants to enjoy the works of Picasso nearby. No doubt they don’t want their clients’ workers to look at his painting ‘Guernica’ too closely, as it depicts horrors that are reminiscent of daily scenes in Gaza today!
Over 30 pro-Palestine activists turned out on a bitterly cold morning to leaflet workers in the building and the surrounding cafes and restaurants and the response, especially from the lower paid, ethnically diverse workers was extremely positive. Even the security guards, who were ordered to lock the doors to keep us out, mouthed the words to our chants.
Our demands are simple. Stop all work related to Israel’s war-machine! Evict BAE Systems from Blue Fin now!
We plan to continue our daily leafleting, raising awareness of the crimes being committed by BAE and encouraging workers to join us and call on their employers to demand Blue Fin cut their ties with the arms dealers.
A demo is planned for Saturday 20 January outside Blue Fin Building, 110 Southwark Street.