Divest from War Coalition Digest, October 2019

Divest from the War Machine coalition, you make us proud! Read on to learn what our friends across the U.S. have been up to.

Divesting from the war machine can happen anywhere our public and private dollars are invested in the companies who manufacture weapons of war. We’ve followed that money to the investments our cities, public pensions, and universities make and to the campaign contributions our politicians receive. If you haven’t yet asked your congresspersons to divest from war, add your name here!

We’re asking mayors everywhere to commit to helping divest their cities from the war machine. Many folks have tweeted at their mayor and others have sent them the commitment to sign. In Los Angeles, we’re collecting signatures on a petition to Mayor Garcetti and will be delivering them to him as soon as we have enough signatures. If you live in L.A., please sign and share this request of the mayor if you haven’t yet. And if you live anywhere else, will you send a tweet to your mayor? Here’s a sample tweet you can modify:

.[@your mayor’s Twitter handle] will you commit to working w/ city council to divest [city name] from the war machine? A majority of our federal discretionary budget goes to the Pentagon while our cities and communities are hurting. Help us #DivestFromWar today!

Mayors aren’t the only politicians we ask to support our work to divest from the war machine. Campaign contributions from weapons corporations are one way the companies making a killing on killing influence policy at all levels of government. This is why we’re asking all politicians and aspiring politicians to refuse campaign contributions from the top five weapons makers, including the 2020 presidential candidates. Bernie Sanders, Andrew Yang, and Marianne Williamson have all committed! Help us convince the remaining candidates they need to commit too by sending them a message today. Tell the 2020 candidates they need to divest!

Did you miss the webinar this summer on divesting from the war machine? No problem--you can watch the recording, then sign up here to get started working on divestment locally! Or join an existing local team for an upcoming event:

  • The Philadelphia local coalition is presenting their divestment demands to the city later this month. There’s still time to sign the petition if you live in Philly, and save the date for the next coalition meeting on October 19th at 2:30pm
  • The Seattle coalition is preparing to ask the city to divest the cash pool from weapons makers and is in the initial planning and research stage. Let me know if you wish to join the effort by emailing me at maya@codepink.org
  • Oregon’s divest from war coalition, with teams in Eugene, Corvallis, and Portland, is working as a team to pass resolutions in multiple towns, and in asking candidates and elected officials to endorse the campaign and refuse weapons company campaign donations. If you live in Oregon, will you send a quick letter to the editor of your local paper? Even if this is the first letter you’ve written, we make it easy for you: click here for a quick template and link to your paper

CalSTRS

Over the summer, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) met with war profiteer General Dynamics. Thanks to the continued pressure brought on by its members, we received an update on the meeting. Read about it here. We will continue to support the California teachers who are interested in having their pension funds divested from weapon manufacturers and invested into life-affirming programs. Earlier this year, we petitioned the California teacher’s pension fund to make them aware that General Dynamics is partly responsible for the innocent lives lost in Yemen and that the company’s arms sales only contribute to the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in the region. We launched a similar campaign around the California Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS). Read more about the campaign here. 

UT Austin

On Tuesday, October 1, members of CODEPINK Austin at the University of Texas, Austin disrupted an event featuring Samantha Power, former ambassador to the United Nations, who supported the Saudi-backed war in Yemen. As part of their ongoing campaign to divest UT Austin from the war machine, they called attention to the fact that their university also invests millions of dollars in weapons manufacturers that profit from the ongoing war in Yemen. Interested in getting involved? Like their facebook page and contact carley@codepink.org for more information!   

On Friday, September 20, CODEPINK activists around the country joined the youth-led Climate Strike, a global day of action for climate change. We took to the streets from coast to coast to support young people and explain why we need to divest from the war machine and invest in a Green New Deal.

Here are some of our CODEPINK teams in action around the country:

In Washington D.C., the CODEPINK team marched with young people to bring our message to the White House

In Los Angeles, the CODEPINK team made clear the connection between war profits and the continued degradation of the environment. They gathered 400 signatures for their petition urging Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to commit to divesting from the war machine.

Nancy Mancias protested outside of BlackRock offices in San Francisco, drawing attention to the fact that the world’s largest asset manager is also complicit in deforesting the Amazon and investing millions into the world’s largest weapons manufacturers.  

In Kansas City, CODEPINK members tabled and talked to local environmental activists about ways the peace movement and the environmental movement can work together. 

Did you know that the Minnesota State Board of Investment holds a whopping $1.2 million (around 10,000 shares) in Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest weapons company? Elbit Systems is a global leader in weaponized and surveillance drones and border militarization—they are responsible for repression and death from Palestine to Mexico. Join Minnesota activists in calling on Minnesota Governor Tim Walz to divest Minnesota state public retirement funds from Elbit Systems

Meanwhile in NYC, CODEPINK is continuing the fight! Last month, a group of constitient activists from CODEPINK, Jewish Voice for Peace, Brooklyn for Peace, and the NYC Democratic Socialists visited the office of Representative Nydia Velazquez to ask that she use her power in Congress to support the human rights of Palestinian children by co-sponsoring H.R. 2407. This bill would end U.S. funds from being used to detain and abuse Palestinian children by Israeli military forces. H.R. 2407 calls attention to the situation of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system and seeks to ensure United States financial assistance provided to Israel is not used to support widespread and institutionalized ill-treatment against Palestinian children by Israeli armed forces.

You can watch a video of the day of action here

CODEPINK NYC is also continuing its work with community partners to demand that the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) divest from private prisons, weapons manufacturers, and the war machine! Larry Fink, CEO of Blackrock, sits on their board, thus we are calling for Blackrock divestment, as well. This is a movement to demand that ALL of our cultural institutions and museums stop profiting off of state violence. Furthermore, to ensure our tax dollars aren’t spent on the military budget we teamed up with local partners at Brooklyn for Peace for our Move the Money-NYC campaign aimed at our City Council Members in support of Resolution 747 to call on the federal government to move funds away from the military budget to fund our human needs.

CODEPINK and our NYC community partners will continue organizing to build a world without war. Please our local organizer Rose at rose@codepink.org if you’d like to get more involved in anti-war and divestment work in New York City. 

Towards a Weapons-Free Future,
Ann, Ariel, Caroline, Carley, Clara, Emily, Jodie, Leonardo, Maya, Mark, Medea, Megan, Michelle, Nancy, Paki, Rose, Teri, Tighe, and Zena

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