How To Divest From The War Machine
Above Photo: Flickr/ David Owen
“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
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 U.S. War Machine. Divestment from the War Machine means divesting (removing invested assets) from companies that derive their profits by supplying and profiting from U.S. 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.
To learn more about the U.S. War Machine and alternatives to the war economy, refer to the following resources:
- “The Shadow World” by Andrew Feinstein
- “The American Way of War” by William Hartung
- “The Military Budget and the Cost of War” by William Hartung and Catherine Lutz
- “War Comes Home” a report by the American Civil Liberties Union on the militarization of America’s police forces
- “Project Indefensible” to learn about the myths that sustain the Global Arms Trade
- Airwars.org to understand the human costs of the U.S. War Machine
- National Priorities Project, in particular its “Protecting Our Communities: A State’s Guide to Demilitarizing for a Brighter Future” project to see what a demilitarized budget could look like.
- “A Global Security System, an Alternative to War” from World Beyond War
- “Shadow World” Documentary based on Andrew Feinstein’s book of the same name