We are appalled by the bombardment of Gaza. We are also uplifted beyond measure by the uprising of solidarity actions for ceasefire, for land back and for peace.
Wage Peace is connected with multiple direct action crews in Narrm, Gadi, Meanjin, Darwin, Mparntwe, on Turtle Island, in Latin America, the Pasifik and in the UK. We are united in our call: Stop Arming Israel.
Thales Bendigo Blockade 05.12.2023
On Tuesday, 5 December 150 Palestine supporters converged on the Thales weapons factory in Bendigo and shut it down. The blockade also voiced solidarity with the people of West Papua. Bushmaster weaponised vehicles, manufactured at Thales Bendigo factory, are sold to Indonesia’s notorious special forces KOPASSUS.
Thales is a multi billion dollar French corporation that makes bombs, missiles, propellants, drones and surveillance tech here in Victoria. Thales has partnerships with Israeli companies Elbit and Israeli Aerospace Industries. Thales’ products are killing in Gaza right now.
The blockade included both Palestinian and Jewish contingents, united in calling for an end to the genocide in Gaza. People of all generations and diverse cultural backgrounds stood together to demand that Thales stop Arming Israel. The blockade was supported by Wage Peace, Black Peoples Union, the Sit Intifada and Unionists for Palestine. Local people from the Bendigo region were also well represented at the barricade.
Thales put shade cloth on their front fence the day before the blockade, but the hundreds of weapons ready to wreak terror were clearly visible. There were moments of anger and outrage as the human beings of the blockade confronted the arms dealers who are literally making a killing from this genocide.
The ethic of community care was closely held by the group. Food not Bombs provided a delicious healthy lunch. Frontline Medics Narrm were on site with wonderful health care and knowledge to share. Melbourne Activist Legal observers were busy recording police interactions and overreach. Solidarity Sound System gave us tunes and amplified our poets. The cooperative spirit of the blockade was a joy to experience.Thales closed their factory for the day. This is a win for the movement for peace and freedom. Justice is still a distant land, however. Actions like the Thales Blockade that materially disrupt the supply of weapons take us one step closer to that land.
Thales HQ Occupation 20.11.2023
Report on a Day of Occupying a Harms Dealer
contributed by Frankie Antispe
On a brisk morning a group of activists gathered by the riverside to enact our plan of occupying the Thales head office at the Docklands in Naarm (so-called Melbourne) to protest the company’s role in abetting war crimes.
Over a slice of cinnamon toast, united by our need to disrupt business as usual for the war machine, we finalised our plans and in small groups of 3 or 4 we walked over to the site – hearts full of solidarity with those oppressed by Thales and other warmongers.
As we stood on the escalators leading to the Thales office, some activists placed Kufiyeh scarves around their bodies as a sign of solidarity with the Palestinian resistance and in preparation for the messaging that would soon follow.
We were able to access the office quite easily and greeted the reception worker with “we are here in peace”. She was quick to tell us we were not welcomed but we proceeded to begin to occupy the space. The space was lacking any sign of life – a few pro-genocide magazines on a small table and a Thales promotional video on repeat.
Around 30 activists collectively began to redecorate the Thales reception area. We quickly transformed the dead office foyer into a space full of resistance and life as we unfurled banners and protest signs in solidarity with those targeted by Thales – “Stop Arming Israel, Free Palestine”, “Thales Drives Death”, “Stop Profiting From Genocide”.
We chanted “Ceasefire now!” repeatedly and the sound of “War crimes start here, end the corporate reign of fear” echoed through the reception area. The activists spoke out against the atrocities committed by Thales in many countries around the world including in Palestine and West Papua. We shared information about Thales, we sang songs of peace and resistance music such LowKey’s track “Long Live Palestine” reverberated throughout the reception area. There was even an impromptu die-in.
We challenged a couple of staff about their connection to a company facilitating genocide and whilst many of the Thales staff members curiously came to observe our occupation, for the most part they were quick to hide around the corner – because who wants to be associated with the war machine? Well apparently not Thales staff.
The police liaisons did a great job of keeping the gun wielding cops away from our peaceful occupation and eventually they, alongside a Thales staff member, informed us that they were “revoking our license to be on the premises”. We occupied the space for around three hours. On the way out a comrade helped themselves to a welcome flyer. We’d hate for this information to be of any use for future occupations.
We returned back to our meeting spot to debrief and chat about the occupation, an open and non-hierarchical discussion where people were able to share their feelings about the action and what we could do next.
At the meeting spot, we were greeted by the local ducks and their ducklings. It’s also important to remember that a wide range of weapons are tested on other animals – so for us, the ducks’ presence at the start and at the end of our action was a sign of solidarity and camaraderie.
When we protect all life, everyone wins.
As a speaker stated during the occupation:
“…this is where war crimes begin, where the handshakes happen, where the deals get made, that lead to genocide. Those deals are made in offices like this. War crimes start in corporate boardrooms. That’s why we’re at the corporate headquarters of Thales today in Naarm”.
Thales is a multi-billion $$ French weapons maker, currently partnering with Israeli companies ELBIT and Israeli Aerospace Industries. Thales and ELBIT own UAV Tactical, making killer drones for export and for use in the UK and Israel. The Thales / IAI partnership has produced the ‘Sea Serpent’, a surface-to-surface guided missile with a kill range of 200 kilometres. Thales is one of the richest weapons corporations in the world and they are manufacturing weapons and surveillance technology right here in Victoria.
Over the past six years, the Australian government has approved over 350 individual defence exports to Israel, with 52 items approved this year alone.According to Sweden’s International Peace Research Institute SIPRI, which monitors global arms sales, Australia was the 15th largest exporter of major arms globally in 2022.
The Thales factory in Bendigo produces Bushmaster weaponised vehicles, which they sell to the notorious Indonesian special forces KOPASSUS. Thales Australia is the nation’s largest manufacturer of munitions and military explosives, with weapons factories in Benalla and Mulwala. The Mulwala facility managed by Thales Australia manufactures military propellants used in missiles and explosives while the Benalla factory produces 155mm M795 artillery projectiles (bombs).
It’s bombs like these that rain hell on Palestine.
Direct action against the harms industry is one of the most effective front line defenses we have.
In a space where autonomous actions are encouraged and without a hierarchical top-down approach, the resistance organically disrupts the war machine in unpredictable ways that they struggle to respond to. The war machine is vulnerable.
We will remind them that liberation movements have deep seeded roots in every corner of the world. We will remind them that we breathe new life into the resistance against their death machine with every action of solidarity – small or large. From Gaza and West Papua to Naarm!
On 5 December, our comrades blockaded the Thales factory in Bendigo.
Where harms dealers are, we will follow. We encourage everyone to seek out their comrades and to occupy, block and shut them down! For a few hours or longer!
Free Palestine! Free West Papua!
thanks to Frankie Antispe for this wholesome tale
Thales, ELBIT and IAI are in the business of genocide. Their profits are our losses. Maiming and killing the people of Gaza is their product. Dispossession and displacement are their bottom line. War crimes start in corporate boardrooms, in the offices of Thales and other harms dealers. We stand with the people of Bendigo telling Thales to retool. Make wheelbarrows not warheads. Drop seeds not bombs. Grow forests not profits.
Many hands, much blockade
Monday 27 November, friends from Mparntwe for Palestine and WACA staged simultaneous lock-ons at the entrances to Pine Gap spy base and the US consulate in Narrm. We love to see it!
Since the bombardment began we’ve blockaded the harms dealers Elbit, Thales and Boeing. We’ve disrupted the Defence Minister Richard Marles and the Defence Exports Office in Canberra. Our networks are growing in creative and inspiring ways. The Department of Defence and their weapons industry bosses are certainly aware of our opposition to the corporate killing in Gaza. War makers will always talk about how complicated everything is, and claim that we don’t understand. We assert one simple truth: weapons corporations profit from genocide.
The war on Gaza continues, and the war on West Papua is still underway. Wage Peace people are here for the long haul, for peace, justice, freedom and equality. We welcome all ages, all cultures, all genders and all abilities to collaborate for a future or #earthcarenotwarfare.