Divest from the War Machine

Campaign Overview

"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.

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Summit Speakers

Screen_Shot_2017-09-07_at_8.37.57_PM.pngMedea Benjamin

Medea, co-founder of CODEPINK, has been an advocate for social justice for more than forty years. Since the September 11, 2001, tragedy,  Medea has been working to promote a U.S. foreign policy that would respect human rights and gain us allies instead of contributing to violence and undermining our international reputation. She has organized many protests against the U.S. interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria. Medea has also been on the forefront of the anti-drone movement. Benjamin is the author of nine books, including Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S.-Saudi Connection. Her articles appear regularly in outlets such as The Huffington Post, CommonDreams, Alternet, The Other Words, and TeleSUR.


Screen_Shot_2017-09-07_at_8.35.06_PM.pngVijay Prashad

Vijay Prashad is a world-renowned journalist, historian, and professor whose books, essays and lectures have inspired millions. A prolific writer, his 20 books include The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution, The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World, and Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South. Known as a modern-day Franz Fanon, he is a frequent contributor to The Real News, Democracy Now, Counterpunch, and Alternet. Vijay has a sweeping worldview of both history and the present-day conflicts, which he weaves together brilliantly—and with wry humor.


Screen_Shot_2017-09-07_at_8.40.52_PM.pngWilliam Hartung

William Hartung is the Director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy. He is the author of Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex (Nation Books, 2011) and the co-editor, with Miriam Pemberton, of Lessons from Iraq: Avoiding the Next War (Paradigm Press, 2008). His previous books include And Weapons for All (HarperCollins, 1995), a critique of U.S. arms sales policies from the Nixon through Clinton administrations. From July 2007 through March 2011, Mr. Hartung was the director of the Arms and Security Initiative at the New America Foundation. Before that, he served as the director of the Arms Trade Resource Center at the World Policy Institute. Bill Hartung’s articles on security issues have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The Nation, and the World Policy Journal. He has been a featured expert on national security issues on CBS 60 Minutes, NBC Nightly News, the Lehrer Newshour, CNN, Fox News, and scores of local, regional, and international radio outlets. He blogs for the Huffington Post and TPM Café.


nGefAy4n.jpgAjamu Baraka

A human rights defender whose experience spans four decades of domestic and international education and activism, Ajamu Baraka is a veteran grassroots organizer whose roots are in the Black Liberation Movement and anti-apartheid and Central American solidarity struggles. Baraka is an internationally recognized leader of the emerging human rights movement in the U.S. and has been at the forefront of efforts to apply the international human rights framework to social justice advocacy in the U.S. for more than 25 years. Baraka has also served on the boards of various national and international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International (USA), the Center for Constitutional Rights, Africa Action, and the Mississippi Workers’ Center for Human Rights. He is currently an editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report, a writer for Counterpunch, and is the National Organizer and National Spokesperson for the Black Alliance for Peace.


jodie-evans.jpgJodie Evans

Jodie Evans, co-founder of CODEPINK, is a political activist, author, and documentary film producer who has been a visionary advocate for peace for several decades. Since the start of the 2003 Iraq War, Jodie has traveled to Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and Jordan on several occasions as a citizen diplomat. She has also traveled to Cuba to protest the prison facility at Guantanamo, and in 2015 she was one of 30 women activists from fifteen countries who crossed the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, calling for peace and reconciliation between the two countries. Jodie is the co-editor of two books, "Twilight of Empire: Responses to Occupation" and "Stop the Next War Now: Effective Responses to Violence and Terrorism" and a contributor to “Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution.”  She is currently writing a book about divesting from the unjust, extractive war economy and building a just, sustainable peace economy.


MiriumMiriam Pemberton

Miriam Pemberton is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and directs its Peace Economy Transitions Project focused on helping to build the foundations of a postwar economy at the federal, state and local levels. She co-chairs the Budget Priorities Working Group, the principal information-sharing collaboration of U.S. NGOs working on reducing Pentagon spending. In addition to articles and op-eds, her publications include two report series. “Military vs. Climate Security” compares federal spending on the two security domains, and argues for a shift of security resources toward mitigating climate change. “A Unified Security Budget for the United States” examined the balance of spending on military forces, homeland security and non-military foreign engagement and argues for a more peaceful, rebalanced security budget.


speaker.jpgMaggie Martin

Maggie Martin is a Co-Director and Director of Organizing with Iraq Veterans Against the War. Maggie was in the Army from 2001-2006, and had three deployments to Kuwait and Iraq before leaving the army as a Sergeant in 2006. She joined Iraq Veterans Against War in 2007, joining a chorus of Iraq war veterans calling for immediate withdrawal of all occupying forces in Iraq; reparations for the human and structural damages Iraq has suffered, and stopping the corporate pillaging of Iraq so that their people can control their own lives and futures; and full benefits, adequate healthcare (including mental health), and other supports for returning servicemen and women. Iraq Veterans Against War is at the forefront of confronting military culture and reeling in the unbridled militarism that fuels the war machine both abroad and in our streets.


John.pngJohn Qua

John is a national organizer with Global Zero, a leading international group dedicated to achieving the elimination of nuclear weapons, where he spearheads volunteer recruitment and mobilization across the United States. Global Zero is dedicated to eliminating the nuclear threat – including proliferation and nuclear terrorism – by stopping the spread of nuclear weapons, securing all nuclear materials and eliminating all nuclear weapons. They have spent years building a massive international coalition of influential political, military, business, civic and faith leaders – matched by a powerful global grassroots movement- that work to achieve true global zero. John is an avid national field organizer, and has organized on several progressive political campaigns with the Sierra Club, MoveOn.org, and Food & Water Watch.


speaker.jpgJacqueline Cabasso

Jacqueline Cabasso is the Executive Director of Western States Legal Foundation, a legal organization dedicated to serving nonviolent peace and environmental activists. Jackie also serves as the North American Coordinator for Mayors for Peace, a coalition of cities around the world working toward the total abolition of nuclear weapons. Mayors for Peace has 7,453 member cities globally from 162 different countries and regions, who work to raise international public awareness regarding the need to abolish nuclear weapons and contribute to the realization of genuine and lasting world peace by working to eliminate starvation and poverty, assist refugees fleeing local conflict, support human rights, protect the environment, and solve the other problems that threaten peaceful coexistence within the human family.


Screen_Shot_2017-09-07_at_8.43.30_PM.pngLisa Renstrom

Lisa Renstrom is the Co-Founder and Council Chair of The Divest Invest Initiative’s campaign to engage individuals across the economic spectrum in the global fossil fuel divestment and sustainable investment movements. She has served as the Executive Director of Voice & Choices, which advanced economic and environmental sustainability through large-scale change models and civic engagement. Later, as President of the national Sierra Club, she strove to engage all Americans in environmental protection and place energy and climate at the top of the Clubs priorities.


speaker.jpgGarick Ruiz

Garick Ruiz is the North American Advocacy Advisor for the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC). Garik is heavily involved in the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS), the global movement to end international support Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law. The BNC works to strengthen and spread the culture of boycott as a central form of civil resistance to Israeli occupation, colonialism, and apartheid. The BDS movement is an anti-colonial movement, and Garik and the BNC work with other groups across the world to oppose colonization in all of its forms.


speaker.jpgSusi Snyder

Susi Snyder is the Nuclear Disarmament Programme Manager for Pax in the Netherlands. Mrs. Snyder has published numerous reports and articles, notably, the 2014 and 2015 Don’t Bank on the Bomb: Global Report on the Financing of Nuclear Weapons Producers. She is an International Steering Group member of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, and a 2016 Nuclear-Free Future Award Laureate. Previously, Mrs. Snyder served as the Secretary-General of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.


speaker.jpgLarry Wilkerson

Larry Wilkerson is a retired U.S. Army colonel and former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell. He is the Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Government and Public Policy at the College of William & Mary in Virginia. In addition, he has been published in The American Conservative, Playboy Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, the Baltimore Sun, the Miami Herald, the New York Daily News, and other magazines and newspapers across the country, as well as appeared on television with Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, Keith Olbermann, Ed Schultz, Lawrence O’Donnell, Rachel Maddow, Wolf Blitzer, the BBC’s Hardtalk and Newsnight, and others. He has appeared in several recent documentaries also, including Alex Gibney’s “Taxi to the Dark Side” and Charles Ferguson’s “No End in Sight”. He was also chairman of the U.S.-Cuba 21st Century Policy Initiative at the New America Foundation from 2006-2010.

Learn More

To learn more about the U.S. War Machine and alternatives to the war economy, refer to the following resources:

Primary Research Resources:

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute- Leading resource on global arms trade research. Each year SIPRI produces a “Top 100 Arms Producing Companies and Military Contractors” List that tracks the annual profits of global arms corporations (and of course, US corporations always top the list). They also have an extensive database that logs global arms transfers.

Costs of War Project from the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs at Brown University- The Costs of War Project is a team of 35 scholars, legal experts, human rights practitioners, and physicians that use research and a public website to facilitate debate about the costs of the post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the related violence in Pakistan and Syria. Read here a report by William Hartung and Catherine Lutz on the financial, human, and environmental costs of war: “The Military Budget and the Cost of War

National Priorities Project- Leading research organization that examines how much of our taxes go to wars and militarism. Take a look at its Protecting Our Communities: A State's Guide to Demilitarizing for a Brighter Future project to see what a demilitarized budget could look like and pull some good stats in support of reeling in the war machine.

Airwars.org- This is a website that monitors and assesses civilian casualties from international airstrikes in Syria, Iraq, and Libya and enables us to understand and witness daily the human costs of the U.S. War Machine.

Don’t Bank on the Bomb: Don't Bank on the Bomb is a project from PAX supporting the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons (ICAN) in efforts to stigmatize and outlaw nuclear weapons. Here, find a report with information on major weapons producers and their investors.

Books/ Articles/ Reports that are helpful or relevant to the campaign

The Merchants of Death Survive and Prosper: Outlines the dominant role played by U.S. corporations in the international arms trade.

Trump Is Turning the State Department into a Global Weapons Dealer: Article by CODEPINK’s Jodie Evans and Haley Pedersen on the Trump administration’s plan to turn State Department officials into sale-people for weapons corporations.  

The Job Opportunity Cost of War: A report published by Brown University's Watson Institute that finds federal spending on domestic programs in health care, education, clean energy and infrastructure creates more jobs, dollar for dollar, than military spending.

William Hartung, leading military analyst and director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy has written an extensive body of material over the years on U.S. wars and militarism and the role of weapons companies in fueling war. He also spoke at our Divestment Summit in October 2017, and you can view his speech here. Some of William Hartung’s Articles:

War Comes Home: The 2014 report by the American Civil Liberties Union on the militarization of America’s police forces under such programs as the Pentagon’s 1033 program.  

Lockheed Martin: A global giant in supporting of Israeli war crimes: An article written by two CODEPINK team members about Lockheed Martin’s role in supplying much of the weapons and equipment used to sustain the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

The Shadow World: A book by Andrew Feinstein, and a strong part of the formation of this campaign. The book provides an in-depth analysis of corruption, greed, and collusion inherent in global arms trade. The book also gives a comprehensive history of the global arms trade. Author Andrew Feinstein’s spoke in support of the Divest from the War Machine Summit, and you can view his speech here.

Project Indefensible: This is a book that unpacks and opposes the leading “myths” that sustain the global arms trade. This entire book is available free online.

The Empire’s Hustle: Why Anti-Trumpism Doesn’t Include Anti-War: An article written by Ajamu Baraka, Green Party vice-presidential campaign and Black Alliance for Peace founder (BAP is part of the Divest from the War Machine coalition) analyzes why progressive critique of the Trump administration lacks an anti-war perspective. You can also watch Ajamu Baraka’s speech from the Divest from the War Machine Summit here.

A Country Addicted to War: An article by historian Andrew Bacevich on America’s endless wars and the lack of a mainstream movement to oppose it.

A Global Security System, an Alternative to War” from World Beyond War is a report that provides a strong outline of the call for a demilitarized US from World Beyond War. This is a resource that can help shape the “What do we want instead?” narrative.

Major Danny Sjursen is a U.S. Army strategist and former history instructor at West Point. He served tours with reconnaissance units in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He has written a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge. Some of Danny Sjursen’s relevant articles:

Films

Shadow World: This is a documentary based on the book of the same name written by Andrew Feinstein. The film explores corruption, collusion, and greed in the global arms trade.

Week of Action: Feb 5–11

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Join us! Divest from the War Machine Week of Action: February 5-11, 2018

What are we doing?

Join us for a fun and creative Week of Action the first full week of February to bring the Divest from the War Machine campaign to your community!  

The Divest from the War Machine Week of Action will be a collage: a variety of actions around the country to shine a light on the many different ways the War Machine interacts with our institutions and daily lives, and how we can take action to throw a wrench in the war machine! Groups will host their own creative actions to highlight the pervasiveness of war and militarism in every aspect of our society, and show that we ALL have the power to divest from the war machine.  

What kind of actions are we talking about?

Do something to educate people. Do something to expose how deeply embedded war and militarism is in our culture and in our institutions. Do something to call out those who are making a killing from killing. The options are endless! See an expanded list of suggested actions below.

Organize a street stall to inform people that a local organization is investing in the arms trade. Host a “die-in” at your City Hall and circulate a petition urging your City Council to stop making a killing on killing (collect signatures outside of your local grocery store!). Publish ads in your local newspaper opposing military recruitment in your city’s schools. If you’re a student, head into your school’s quad with pictures of suffering Yemeni children to show your peers what your university is supporting by investing in war pro teers. If you live near a Lockheed Martin facility, grab some friends, make some signs, and gather to expose the role that these merchants of death play in violence here at home and abroad.

How to get involved

Email divest@codepink.org for support and to add your event to the Week of Action!

Click on these images to download resources!

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