Divest Chattanooga from War!

We, the undersigned individuals, call on the City of Chattanooga, Tennessee to pass the following resolution calling on the City of Chattanooga to divest public funds from weapons manufacturers and war profiteers:

WHEREAS, Chattanooga is currently investing taxpayer dollars in the War Machine through its pension fund, which is invested in weapons manufacturers and war profiteers. The General Pension Plan (GPP) is managed by groups that hold direct investments in weapons manufacturers, including but not limited to Brandywine Global, Eaton Vance, Kennedy Capital Management, and Patten & Patten Large Cap Equity. These investments prop up violence and militarism both at home and abroad, a direct contradiction to what should be the City’s central role of protecting the well-being of its residents; and

WHEREAS, the War Machine is the massive, global U.S.-based military apparatus that prioritizes corporate interests 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; and 

WHEREAS, in 2018, the U.S. spent $777 billion+ on foreign and domestic militarism, which is 55% of the federal discretionary budget. Over $300 billion of those dollars went directly into the pockets of private military contractors who literally make a killing on killing. American taxpayers have spent so much subsidizing private military contractors, the Pentagon has sent over $5 billion worth of “surplus” military-grade weaponry to local police forces around the country since the 1990s. The militarization of police perpetuates violence on our streets and results in the disproportionate targeting of communities of color; and 

WHEREAS, U.S. private military contractors supply deadly weapons to numerous brutal dictatorships and conflicts around the world, including supplying weapons to Saudi Arabia’s horrific war on the people of Yemen; and 

WHEREAS, federal and citywide investments in the War Machine are startling considering over 43 million people in the U.S. and over 31,000 people in the city of Chattanooga, TN live in poverty or qualify as low-income, whose needs could and should be met by the money spent on building weapons of war. Our communities are deprived of adequate funding for life-affirming sectors while billions of tax dollars are funneled directly to weapons companies each year; and

WHEREAS, U.S. militarism contributes significantly to climate change. The U.S. military is the single largest producer of greenhouse gasses in the world, creating an estimated fifty-nine million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. The City of Chattanooga adopted the Chattanooga Climate Action Plan in 2009, demonstrating a commitment to reducing the City’s carbon footprint, as Chattanooga will be vulnerable to increased “storms, floods, and other catastrophic weather events” brought on by climate change; and

WHEREAS, studies have shown that investments in healthcare, education and clean energy create more jobs by orders of magnitude than military sector spending. Additionally, 2020 was a record year for ESG (environmental, social, and governance) investing with sustainable funds seeing record inflows and high performance. ESG funds outperformed traditional equity funds in 2020, and experts expect continued growth; and 

WHEREAS, divestment is not only financially sound but is feasible; Burlington, VT; Pittsburgh, PA; Charlottesville, VA; Berkeley, CA; and San Luis Obispo, CA are just a handful of cities that have recently passed resolutions to divest their municipalities from weapons manufacturers and war; and 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the City of Chattanooga assess its holdings, sell existing investments in all weapons manufacturers listed on this linked database, and adopt a Socially Responsible Investment Policy prohibiting future investments in weapons producing companies within two years; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City should apply this divestment strategy to all of the City’s activities: commercial banking, investment banking and asset management. City funds come from the public, and should be held accountable to the desires of the City’s residents. When reinvesting assets, the City should make deliberate choices about how money is invested, choices that represent values of sustainability, community empowerment, racial equity, action on climate, establishment of a renewable energy economy, and more; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this Resolution shall be binding City policy and shall be in full force and effect after adoption by the City Council.

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