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Editorial

I have to admit feeling some envy as we at WRI followed, supported and joined the events around the Global Day of Action on Military Spending, which took place on 12 April, organised by the International Peace Bureau (IPB) and the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). The envy is because for several years WRI has been pushing for more cooperation between groups campaigning against war profiteering worldwide. There was even the idea of launching a Global Campaign Against War Profiteers, which did not materialise as it was impossible to agree on a joint focus for it. Since then, we have made further efforts to strengthen the cooperation of groups working against war profiteering - including this newsletter. While we have succeeded in making some new connections, we generally find that groups are swamped with their local work, and that doesn't leave much real and also mental time to think regionally, and even less to think globally.

We welcome the IPB and IPS initiative for a Global Day of Action on Military Spending and hope it becomes established in the anti-militarist calendar. It has great potential. First, because local groups can easily connect the focus on military spending with their own situation, combining both condemnation of global spending with the critique of their own government's military policies. Our case is particularly strong where governments are cutting spending on social needs. Choosing the date when the annual SIPRI report (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) came out was also important, as this is an authoritative reference point. Furthermore, two organisations committed time and resources to make it happen and succeeded in getting other networks and organisations on board. The result of all this work was a mobilisation for the Global Day of Actions, with a long list of activities taking place all around the world, sending a strong message that we don't want more money spent in weapons, and we want disarmament now! As you will read in the main story of this newsletter, the organisers of the Global Day have big plans for repeating it next year and to gather momentum for a global movement for disarmament.

As well as promoting global action, it is also important to create the space for groups to come together to learn from each other and to expand networking opportunities where we can coordinate strategies. This is why WRI has teamed up with ENAAT (European Network Against Arms Trade) to co-organise an International Seminar: War Profiteering and Peace Movements Responses, to be held in Barcelona between 29 September and 2 October. The seminar will bring together activists from groups from all regions of the world, with and among which we see the potential to build long-lasting cooperation. That is, from groups that represent the spectrum of the movement against war profiteering. The seminar will analyse the different trends in war profiteering and its impact on local communities. We then plan to work, using participatory tools, on how to develop successful strategies in our campaigning against war profiteers and on how to strengthen the links between our groups. Improving cooperation will make us more effective, instead of organising events without taking into account what others are doing, or unnecessarily duplicating work already underway instead of joining together to enhance it. In Europe this summer there are many different activities related to war profiteering (see upcoming events), with similar aims, and it is impossible to attend them all. A bit more contact between groups, and we could save a lot of energy and make more impact by planning to integrate some events. Real networking would create the space for cooperation in building a strong movement against war profiteering and for world disarmament.

Finally, I apologize for the delay in producing this issue of War Profiteers' News. The main reason for this was that I was part of a WRI delegation to Venezuela. The War Profiteer of the Month is inspired by this visit, as even though the Venezuelan government has a strong anti US and anti-imperialist discourse, at the same it opens its oil fields to transnational corporations, Chevron having a particularly strong presence in the country. To learn more about the presence of transnational corporations and their impact in Venezuela you can check an online map produced by El Libertario.

Javier Gárate

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Ver Venezuela: Trasnacionales, Militarismo y Resistencias en un mapa más grande