On Monday 27 November, members of community union ACORN took simultaneous action against three companies across England, blockading their entrances to protest against their involvement in Israel’s ongoing assault in Gaza.
ACORN: taking action against three arms companies
ACORN is a community union with branches in 25 towns and cities across England and Wales. Known for mobilising people to resist evictions, fighting for rental reform, and with campaigns spanning public transport to community services to the cost of living crisis, ACORN brings people together to win on the issues affecting their communities. Read more about ACORN here. Now, it has turned its attention to Israel’s onslaught in Gaza and the Occupied Territories.
In Birmingham, people linked arms and held banners to block the entrance of Meggitt. In Bristol, workers turned away as people blocked the entrance to Leonardo, as did workers at the offices of BAE Systems in Leeds. All of these companies manufacture or provide components and systems for military aircraft being used in the bombardment of Gaza:
From housing to public transport to the cost of living crisis, ACORN brings people together to take action on the issues affecting our members and our communities. Nurses, shop workers, delivery drivers, carers, and parents come together and organise our communities to fight for what ACORN calls “a better quality of life; a dignified and comfortable life for all”.
For that reason, it said it cannot stand by while the UK government that claims to act in people’s names, and companies in cities, in communities, encourage and profit from the widespread destruction of the lives of nurses, shop workers, delivery drivers, carers, parents, and children elsewhere in the world.
Enough is enough
More than 14,000 Palestinian people, up to half of them children, have been killed by the Israeli state since this war began. Nearly two million people have been displaced and more than 50% homes in Gaza have been damaged or destroyed.
That’s why ACORN came together, it said, to stand with the people of Gaza, community to community, to say:
Enough is enough! No to companies in our communities profiteering from the death of children! Ceasefire now!
Criminal companies complicit in misery
Chelsea Phillips, ACORN Chair, said:
ACORN will not stand by while entire communities are obliterated, while ordinary people just like us are murdered in their tens of thousands by the Israeli government, with the support of our government and using horrific weapons of war built by British companies.
The people running these companies are criminals, profiteers who grow rich from the death and misery of people who, but for an accident of birth could be our neighbours, our friends, our parents, our children.
All ordinary people want and deserve the same things, no matter where we are in the world – safe, happy communities, where we can live with dignity and with hope for the future. These fundamental rights have been denied to the Palestinian people for too long.
We believe that solidarity and the desire for justice are fundamental to being human. We stand with our brothers and sisters suffering in Gaza and beyond.
We demand an immediate and lasting ceasefire, the withdrawal of Israeli military forces from Gaza and an end to the occupation of the Palestinian territories. We call on our government to proactively work towards a ceasefire and that all arms sales from British companies to Israel are halted.
Speaking of the action, Workers in Palestine, a collective of 18 Palestinian Trade Unions, said:
Decisive action against the arms trade with Israel such as that taken by ACORN are critical to ending Israeli impunity. In this difficult time, our hope is in international solidarity from trade and community unions. Keep on taking action and speaking up against injustice – together we can build a better world for all.
Featured image via ACORN