Divest from Death

June 2, 2024

Resisting the Complexes of Empire

by Ray Acheson

As we enter the eighth month of Israel’s genocidal campaign against Palestinians, the flow of weapons to Israel continues from the United States, Germany, Canada, Italy, Australia, and other Western countries. Even as some governments claim to have halted transfers or to not be sending weapons at all, they continue to provide licences or parts and components that are instrumental to the continuing onslaught. As people are now being pulled from the rubble in Rafah, in a strip of land already known as the world’s “largest open-air prison,” in a country and people bordered and confined by a violent settler colonial state, the relationships between the profiteers of the military-industrial complex, the prison industrial complex, and the border industrial complex come starkly into focus. And in the demands of the student encampments, the connections of these structures of state violence to universities becomes clear as well.

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Ray Acheson (they/them) is Director of Reaching Critical Will, the disarmament program of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). They provide analysis and advocacy at the United Nations and other international forums on matters of disarmament and demilitarization. Ray served on the steering group of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its work to ban nuclear weapons, and is also involved in organizing against autonomous weapons, the arms trade, war and militarism, the carceral system, and more. They are author of Banning the Bomb, Smashing the Patriarchy (Rowman & Littlefield, 2021) and Abolishing State Violence: A World Beyond Bombs, Borders, and Cages (Haymarket Books, 2022).

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Ray Acheson