About

Divest Richmond from the War Machine is a coalition of different people and organizations, organized around a single focus of divesting money from militarism and into community-focused programs like education, healthcare, and climate action to the greatest extent possible within Richmond. Our short-term goal is to pass a Move the Money resolution in Richmond to demonstrate our city’s support for redirecting military spending towards human and environmental needs, with a long-term vision of divesting Richmond’s public funds from weapons manufacturers and defense contractors. We also collaborate with organizations across Virginia and the United States interested in furthering our shared goal of combating military interventionism and endless wars.

In a country of crumbling infrastructure, increasing social unrest, and a homeless population of 500,000, 20% of which are children, our country’s national defense budget just gets higher and higher every year. We are told repeatedly that social healthcare reforms are utopian, while Americans pay the highest per capita compared to other developed countries. Put another way, we are simply not investing in the right things.

Divest Richmond from the War Machine believes our tax dollars are better spent on people in our own communities, and not on fueling forever wars like the failed occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. We want a world where our money, our time and our energy goes towards building and maintaining our own communities, not destroying those of others, and believe that building that world begins with direct action at the local level.

According to data from the National Priorities Project, the average taxpayer in Virginia paid $4578.59 on military spending in 2019. At the same time, Virginia currently ranks 41st in per-pupil spending on education across the US. A small decrease in the military budget could provide a range of essential services for Virginians. Studies have shown that just a $1,000 increase in per-pupil spending across four years is enough to raise test scores, graduation rates, and college enrollment rates for students.

Our Campaigns

Move the Money Richmond
Divest Richmond from the War Machine is currently organizing a Move the Money campaign to pass a resolution in Richmond that will call on the federal government and its legislators to move significant funds away from the military budget to fund human and environmental needs. Passing this resolution will show that citizens are standing up to the federal government’s policy of endless war and help us build a foundation on which we can push further activism and more divestment work in the future.

Coalition Members

How Can You Get Involved?

FAQs

Move the Money resolutions have successfully passed in numerous cities across the country, such as in Charlottesville, VA, Ithaca, NY, Wilmington, DE, and many more.

Americans are supposed to be directly represented in Congress. Their local and state governments are also supposed to represent them to Congress. A representative in Congress represents over 650,000 people — an impossible task. Most city council members in the United States take an oath of office promising to support the U.S. Constitution. Representing their constituents to higher levels of government is part of how they do that.

Cities and towns routinely and properly send petitions to Congress for all kinds of requests. This is allowed under Clause 3, Rule XII, Section 819, of the Rules of the House of Representatives. This clause is routinely used to accept petitions from cities, all across America.

Our country has a rich tradition of municipal action on national and international issues, such as during the anti-apartheid movement, the nuclear freeze movement, and the movement against the PATRIOT Act.

In and of itself, passing a municipal-level resolution doesn’t reallocate federal taxpayer dollars. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value! Dozens of cities across the country have successfully passed Move the Money resolutions to demonstrate that Americans want an end to endless war and the redirection of military spending towards human and environmental needs. As the movement grows and more and more cities pass these resolutions, it puts pressure on the federal government to take action.

Karen Dolan of Cities for Peace highlights the efficacy of local campaigns on influencing national & international policy in the following: “A prime example of how direct citizen participation through municipal governments has affected both U.S. and world policy is the example of the local divestment campaigns opposing Apartheid in South Africa…As internal and global pressure was destabilizing the Apartheid government of South Africa, the municipal divestment campaigns in the United States ramped up pressure and helped to push to victory the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986….The pressure felt by national lawmakers from the 14 U.S. states and close to 100 U.S. cities that had divested from South Africa made the critical difference.”

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