Ban BAE

banbae header

Students hold a banner which reads 'get a career in killing with BAE systems'

Raising awareness with a bright banner

masked protester makes a peace sign with their fingers, sitting on a tall gate with a Bristol Against Arms Trade banner beneath them

Protester sits on the gate to UWE conference centre, stopping delegates from getting in.

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Bristol students stage a die-in at their career fair

What’s Ban BAE?

Disrupting and stopping arms company recruitment of higher education students.

Why?

Universities are a very important site for arms companies – they visit university campuses to recruit students and spread the lie that they are part of a morally neutral, acceptable business. Companies like BAE Systems, Thales, Rolls Royce and Cobham have stalls at careers fairs, give presentations and hold individual meetings with students but you will not once hear death or repression mentioned.

Arms companies need graduates in order to survive and to do their work so at recruitment fairs we can really hit them where it hurts. By showing them up for what they truly are (corrupt, unethical and oppressive) we can turn students and staff against arms dealers. There is already a shortage of students wanting to work for arms companies: by taking action against arms companies on campus you will be directly affecting their ability to thrive as weapons producers.

The support given to the arms trade through university participation in arms trade recruitment is therefore a crucial link to break.

What could a Ban BAE campaign look like?

Direct action. Research. Sabotage. Lobbying your university. Fancy Dress. Flyers. Picketing. Spreading the word about ethical careers. Die-ins. Subvertising. Affinity groups. Info nights. Find an ethical career. Articles in the local or campus paper. Sound system. Art. Hold an ethical careers fair. There are hundreds of ways to raise the profile of corrupt and unethical businesses and get them booted off campus!

Where do I start?

Check our recruitment map to see who’s coming to your campus

Here’s a map of careers fairs over the UK where arms dealers are expected to attend but it’s not conclusive! If you know of a careers fair that we’ve missed out, let us know so we can put it up on the map. Get in touch with your careers service to see who’s coming to your campus and when. Look particularly at science and engineering fairs, though arms companies recruit from all disciplines.

View BAN BAE: Counter-recruitment Tour 2013/2014 in a larger map

 

Resources

  • Everything you could want to know about disrupting arms fairs.
  • There are lots of ways to run a BAN BAE campaign. Check out our diverse tactics resource to find tactics that suit your group.
  • Careers Fair flyers: Three designs (AB & C) to give out at your careers fair demonstrations or use as posters.
  • If you aren’t sure where to start, read our campaigning guide.
  • If there isn’t currently a group at your university, then read our advice on starting a group
  • Write an article on the issue for your student newspaper
  • Find out more about the arms companies visiting your university with our ‘Doing more digging’ guide. Clue yourself up so you can answer any student questions.
  • Hold a talk or put on a film to get the word out. We can help with speaker and film suggestions.
  • For lots of advice, help and resources, get in touch

Frequently Asked Questions

Doesn’t the careers service have a responsibility to showcase as wide a range of companies as possible to students?

They have a responsibility to fully inform students, not to blindly promote companies. Students should be given full information about the companies they may be considering working for and a full range of organisations from which to choose. Surely students would choose wind turbines over guns if presented with a real range of options?

Doesn’t banning arms companies from recruitment events violate their right to freedom of speech?

The right to freedom of speech is not the right to be given a platform from which to promote yourself unchallenged. Importantly, the costs for companies to come to careers events mean that smaller companies are priced out. It is not freedom of speech if those who are the richest get the loudest voice.

The careers service should focus on the interests of students; it is not their place to take a political position.

To invite arms companies to careers fairs is to take a political position; the invitation both portrays them as legitimate companies and helps them to recruit more graduates for their devastating work. A number of university students will have had their lives directly impacted upon by the arms trade, and all students live in a more dangerous world because of it.

In the current climate, there aren’t many good jobs for students out there, it’s fair enough for students to take what they can.

It’s understandable for students to be worried in the current climate. However, engineering skills are in demand and the renewables sector is much more vibrant than the arms sector.

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