Charlottesville to Vote 6/3 to Divest from Weapons, Fossil Fuels

By David Swanson, Executive Director, World BEYOND War, May 19, 2019

A coalition organized as is asking the City of Charlottesville, Va., to divest all public money from weapons companies, major war profiteers, and fossil fuel companies.

At its Monday, May 6, 2019, meeting, and through subsequent discussions, Charlottesville City Council decided that it would vote on a resolution on June 3rd to divest its general operating fund from weapons and fossil fuels. It also sketched out a plan to establish new policies for its retirement fund over the coming summer and into the fall — policies that will include divestment from weapons and fossil fuels and also possibly commitments to more ethical investing aimed at positive social impacts.

What YOU Can Do Now to Help:

1) Ask more people to sign the petition.
2) Plan to be there at the City Council meeting at 6:30 p.m. on June 3. We want to encourage unanimous passage of a strong resolution on the operating fund and a strong commitment to swift action on the retirement fund. Then we want to thank City Council and celebrate.
3) Make sure you are able to speak at the June 3rd meeting. Here’s how. First, beginning May 21st, sign up for a chance to be given a slot to speak. You’ll be emailed on June 3rd and told either that you won the draw and have one of the 8 speaking slots or that you’re on the “waiting list.” Rarely if ever has anyone from the “waiting list” spoken at a meeting. Second, if you did not win out, be one of the first 8 people to the meeting and sign up for one of the other 8 speaking slots; to do this you will need to arrive earlier than most people, probably by 5:30, possibly by 5:00.
4) As soon as the City Council passes its resolution, if it does, check this page for a message that you can send to media outlets and to other cities, which can be asked to do the same.

DivestCville is sponsored by: Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice, and World BEYOND War.

Also endorsed by: Indivisible Charlottesville, Casa Alma Catholic Worker, RootsAction, Code Pink, Charlottesville Coalition For Gun Violence Prevention, John Cruickshank of the Sierra Club, Michael Payne (candidate for City Council), Charlottesville Amnesty International, Dave Norris (former Charlottesville Mayor), Lloyd Snook (candidate for City Council), Sunrise Charlottesville, Together Cville, Sena Magill (candidate for City Council), Paul Long (candidate for City Council), Sally Hudson (candidate for state delegate), Bob Fenwick (candidate for City Council),

Read responses to possible objections.

Watch videos of what we said at City Council on May 6 and on March 4.

Some thoughts on what we might say now:

The collapse of the earth’s climate and the nuclear apocalypse that the war business is risking will cost us literally everything more valuable than money. We appreciate our City Council Members recognizing that and acting on it.

But the notion that there is a trade off in terms of investment income is one that ought to be rejected. That worry ought not to slow us down. The storms and droughts and floods that are coming will not be free. Young people are already suing governments for imposing enormous costs on young and future generations. There have been studies done of the cost of converting the world to sustainable green energy, and the cost is in the negative tens of trillions of dollars. In other words, it would save money, yet it is understood to be outrageously too expensive to even dream about.

The city has a responsibility to benefit its employees when investing their money. But if the earth and our city with it remain habitable, doesn’t that benefit even city employees? And if the city avoids even one major so-called natural disaster, won’t that financially benefit the city and its employees?

Wouldn’t the city leap at a guaranteed financial savings over a year or a month that was susceptible to temporary losses over hours or days? Why, when the same situation involves a decade rather than a year does it become incomprehensible? We need Charlottesville to act swiftly and powerfully and to inspire others to follow. Our future depends on it.

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