CODEPINK / Divest from the War Machine – 2018-02-02 00:46:07
ACTION ALERT: Divest from the War Machine
CODEPINK / Divest from the War Machine
“It is an absurd contradiction to speak of peace, to negotiate peace, and at the same time promote or permit the global arms trade. Is this war or that war really a war to solve problems? Or is it a commercial war for selling weapons in illegal trade and so that the merchants of death can get rich?”
— Pope Francis
The Divest from the War Machine Summit
CODEPINK, in partnership with an array of peace and disarmament groups, is launching a divestment campaign to encourage universities, religious organizations, retirement funds, mutual funds, private investors, and other financial institutions in the United States to take action to reduce violent global conflicts and slow the hyper-militarization of our world by divesting from the US War Machine.
Divestment from the War Machine means divesting (removing invested assets) from companies that derive their profits by supplying and profiting from US military interventions, expansions, and the militarization of our streets. In other words, we are calling for divestment from companies that make a killing on killing.
Through this strategy we plan to:
* Uncover the hold the military-industrial complex has on our government and our foreign policy
* Spark a vital public debate questioning the role of weapons manufacturers and military contractors in perpetuating conflict around the globe
* Expose how our financial and educational institutions are supporting those companies
* Inspire the public and investors to pressure these institutions to divest
* Hold the arms industry accountable in political and financial spheres for its culpability in the death and displacement of millions of innocent people
* Condemn our government’s prioritization of military spending and demand that diplomacy and aid, not militarism, be our country’s response to global conflicts.
The United States’ preoccupation with expanding and protecting its military and economic interests has created a system which prioritizes “defense” over human rights, military spending over diplomacy and aid, preparing for combat over preventing wars, and profit over human life and the health of the planet.
With this divestment campaign we are calling for a radical rethinking of American priorities. Diluting the power of those who profit most from war-making is the first step in building a transformed nation that stops spreading violence and death at home and abroad.
A divestment campaign gives power to the public to dismantle the war economy and demand that our nation operate to uphold the right of every human being, both at home and abroad, to live in freedom and dignity, safe and free from poverty, danger, and despair.
Divest from the War Machine Summit:
Cutting Our Financial Ties to War
WASHINGTON, DC (October 26, 2017) — CODEPINK and a coalition of 67 supporting organizations are pleased to announce the launch of a new national campaign to reel in US wars and militarism: Divest from the War Machine. This campaign is designed to pressure financial institutions and individual investors to divest from the arms merchants that are making billions of dollars from the spread of militarism at home and abroad.
To mark this launch, CODEPINK, the Black Alliance for Peace, the Institute for Policy Studies, Peace Action, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and many other organizations, convened for a two-day summit in Washington, DC this past weekend.
The summit brought together foreign policy experts, researchers, veterans, present and former government officials, and a range of divestment activists to shed light on the current state of the US military apparatus and examine the power of divestment as a tool to educate and mobilize the public around the out-of-control US war machine.
Attendees left having committed to pledge to personally divest from the war economy and to work to cut their communities’ financial ties to war profiteers.
“It’s really the war economy that we need to end. Weapons are at the core of that, and the one group making a killing on killing is the weapons industry,” said CODEPINK co-founder Jodie Evans. “We realize we are up against a Congress and a White House that are indifferent to the needs of people and the planet.
“So how do we bring the cost of war home? How do we build a movement that’s powerful enough to stop the White House and Congress from keeping us in a state of endless war? One way is to divest. This divestment campaign will give local communities the tools they need to cut their financial ties to the war machine.”
Many of the discussions focused on what stories must be told to garner public support. Foreign policy expert William Hartung stressed the importance of puncturing arms manufacturers’ ability to present themselves as corporate patriots or simply high technology companies.
This movement must shed light on their role in the killing and repression of people around the world, and expose them as the true merchants of death that they are.
Black Alliance for Peace founder Ajamu Baraka stressed the importance of bringing the political and historical roots of US war culture to the forefront of this campaign. Rather than reducing the struggle to a technical one focused on the movement of money, this campaign should seek to educate people about the perils of US global hegemony.
The Summit highlighted the need to confront the pervasive war culture in the United States. Historian Vijay Prashad stated that the nation’s militarized, genocidal birth has solidified an acceptance for war and death in the US and said, “the only way to confront a war economy is to confront a culture of war.”
Keynote Speaker Larry Wilkerson, veteran of three wars and former Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, said the nation faces a truly profound moment where it must decide whether to continue as an empire and collapse or choose to scale down into a lesser power. Amidst this state of chaos, the country is in dire need of a long-term, focused anti-war effort like the Divest from the War Machine campaign.
The Summit also touched on the importance of shaping a strong call for reinvestment, and speakers explored what conversion from a war economy to a peace economy would look like. This campaign will seek to inspire people to imagine a demilitarized system in which our investments support clean energy and the needs of our communities, and where the arms industry workforce is transitioned to work that is beneficial to society.
Representatives of other campaigns, such as those targeting the nuclear weapons industry, the fossil fuel industry, and companies that profit from the occupation of Palestine, spoke to the power and mechanics of divestment.
Divestment has long been a way to galvanize diverse groups of people to action and is a major catalyst for coalition-building. And, as Susi Snyder of PAX and producer of the Don’t Bank on the Bomb Report said, “divestment is a long-term commitment but you can have really powerful short-term wins. And winning is fun.”
This campaign comes at a time when the world is suffering from unfettered US militarism. The US is engaged in seven active conflicts. President Trump inches closer to war with Iran and North Korea. US arms companies dominate the global arms trade, and US-supplied weapons are being used to kill civilians and cause mass destruction in Yemen.
Worse yet, the US provides military support to 73% of the world’s dictatorships. And the war machine continues to spread into as our streets, while Trump is loosening restraints on the transfer of military-grade weapons and equipment to US police forces.
In order to circumvent a war-obsessed federal government, divestment is a tactic to return power to the hands of the public in order to create lasting change. This divestment movement is a way for the public to revoke its consent for the war machine by demanding that our communities, our churches, our universities, and our pension funds stop making a killing on killing. Ultimately, this campaign aims to build the peace movement, reel in the war economy, and cut our nation’s cultural ties to violence by cutting our communities’ financial ties to war.
ACTION: Take the Pledge
Divest from weapons companies and invest in ethical, life-affirming solutions
We can only achieve a more peaceful world if we reduce the power of those who profit from war.
Investors face an historic opportunity to cut ties with the corporations at the root of the war machine, and to reinvest in ethical, life-affirming sectors that support our communities and protect our planet.
The Moral Imperative
This is a moral issue for all of us.
It is time to put a stop to the havoc wreaked on people and the planet by the spread of US wars and militarism. We believe it is unethical to profit from weapons companies that fuel US military interventions, the global arms trade, and the militarization of US police forces.
We all believe that killing, oppressing, and violating the rights of others is wrong. Aiming to profit from the companies perpetuating such actions is no less wrong.
Divesting from the war machine is one of the most effective ways for investors, communities, and individuals to align their values with their actions, and take responsibility for the resources they control.
At its core, divestment is a question of doing what we can with what we have.