Tell Mayor Garcetti: Divest Los Angeles from the war machine!
Dear Mayor Garcetti,
Cities across the U.S. are being deprived of vital funds as the result of an inflated military budget that places war and militarism as higher federal priorities than the true needs of communities and citizens. Over half of federal discretionary spending goes to militarized sectors of the economy. This perpetuates the spread of violence and leaves a too-slim proportion of the federal discretionary budget for education, housing, energy, the environment, and other peaceful sectors. As a result, our communities are deprived of adequate funding for life-affirming sectors while billions of U.S. tax dollars are funnelled directly to weapons companies each year.
In 2017, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the nonpartisan national association of cities with populations over 30,000, has unanimously “call[ed] on the President and Congress to reverse federal spending priorities and to redirect funds currently allocated to nuclear weapons and unwarranted military spending to restore full funding for Community Block Development Grants and the Environmental Protection Agency, to create jobs by rebuilding our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, and to ensure basic human services for all, including education, environmental protection, food assistance, housing and health care.”
Building on this call, our cities must divest public funds from weapons companies. I urge you to commit to work with the City Council to divest Los Angeles from the war machine with legislation to:
- Make no new investments in nuclear and conventional weapons producers. City funds come from the public, and should be held accountable to the desires of the City’s residents.
- Sell existing investments tied to these companies within 1–2 years. The City should assess its holdings, pull any stocks that support the manufacture of weapons, and work to get rid of stocks, bonds, or investment funds that are invested in major arms producers. New requests for investment should also be declined. The City should apply this divestment strategy to all of the City’s activities: commercial banking, investment banking and asset management. All of these activities actively assist a company in the production of weapons.
- Adopt a Socially Responsible Investment Policy and reinvest in clean, life-affirming solutions. The City should adopt a policy prohibiting investment in weapons producing companies. When reinvesting assets, the City should make deliberate choices about how money is invested — and should make those choices represent values of sustainability, community empowerment, action on climate, establishment of a renewable energy economy, and more.