Get your city to invest in freedom, divest from state violence
WHAT'S THE CAMPAIGN ABOUT?
Our cities should end their support for Israel’s human rights abuses and all institutions of oppression. Divestment and boycotts are tangible actions to ensure our tax dollars aren’t spent on contracting with or investing in Israel’s apartheid regime or corporations profiting from state violence.
Consider coupling your demands to divest or cut contracts with a demand to reinvest in community needs. There are likely already reinvestment demands being voiced by grassroots organizations in your community. Do the research and relationship-building with those groups to lift up their work and demands.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Pass legislation for your local government to either adopt or pursue a general human rights screen for its business with corporations, and then work to implement it.
Pass legislation for your local government to end or refuse to accept contracts with one or more specific corporations complicit in Israeli human rights abuses.
Pass legislation for your local government/county/state to divest from Israel bonds.
ST. LOUIS & VEOLIA
In St. Louis, MO, a broad coalition of Palestine advocates, environmental justice activists, water workers, faith-based groups, the Organization for Black Struggle, and others waged a year-long campaign to stop a proposed city water contract with the multinational corporation Veolia.
Veolia is known for its anti-labor practices, environmental destruction, water privatization, and involvement in Israel’s occupation of Palestine.
In a spectacular grassroots victory in 2013, Veolia was forced to withdraw its bid from the city, and eventually, after countless campaigns around the world, it withdrew completely from the Israeli market in 2015.
PORTLAND RESPONSIBLY INVESTS
In December 2014, the city of Portland, Oregon adopted a Socially Responsible Investment screen for its $1.7 billion investment portfolio. This was the result of grassroots efforts by a coalition of prison divestment, immigrant rights, climate justice, indigenous rights groups, and Palestine solidarity groups, To help screen investments, the city established a Socially Responsible Investments Committee (SRIC) made up of citizen volunteers appointed by the mayor and City Council. The SRIC was tasked with making recommendations to the city council about companies to be added to the city's Do-Not-Buy list, making them ineligible for investment.
The coalition brought forth concerns about corporations involved in mass incarceration, construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the US/Mexico Border Wall, and the occupation of Palestine. Despite Zionist backlash, the SRIC identified nine companies engaged in egregious practices. The city responded by suspending all corporate investments temporarily in December 2016 and then permanently in April 2017! In addition to being a huge win for Occupation-Free Portland and the Portland Prison Divestment Coalition, this marked the first win of the Freedom Cities campaign anchored by Enlace International, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, and the Black Alliance for Just Immigration.
Image via Active Stills.