Tell Denver City Council: Divest from the War Machine!
Dear Denver City Council:
In 2016, the U.S. spent $741.3 billion on foreign and domestic militarism. That’s 64% of the federal discretionary budget. $304 billion went directly to corporations. 43 million people in the U.S. live in poverty or who qualify as low-income, whose needs could and should be met by the money spent lining the pockets of weapons manufacturers.
Denver currently has approximately $5 million invested in General Dynamics, one of the top five weapons manufacturers in the world. Cities across the country are uniting their voices to decry this profit-centered and war-driven allocation of funds and call for divestment from the war machine. Denver has a responsibility to help set the standard for what it means for a city to live its values.
Denver has already shown immense leadership on addressing climate change by divesting their portfolio from Chevron and Exxon, corporations which continue to extract fossil fuels. As a city committed to sustainability, however, Denver must also recognize tackling climate change requires cutting financial ties to war. The Pentagon is the world’s largest polluter, emitting more greenhouse gases than 140 other countries combined.
By divesting from General Dynamics, Denver can continue to lead and demonstrate the power of aligning our investment practices with our values of sustainability and social justice.
Building on this, Denver must divest public funds from weapons companies. I urge you to commit to work with the Denver City Council to pass a resolution to:
- Make no new investments in nuclear and conventional weapons producers. City funds come from the public, and should be held accountable to the desires of the City’s residents.
- Sell existing investments tied to these companies within 1–2 years. The City should assess its holdings, pull any stocks that support the manufacture of weapons, and work to get rid of stocks, bonds, or investment funds that are invested in major arms producers. New requests for investment should also be declined. The City should apply this divestment strategy to all of the City’s activities: commercial banking, investment banking and asset management. All of these activities actively assist a company in the production of weapons.
- Adhere to and update the city’s social responsibility clause within the Department of Finance’s investment guidelines. By investing in General Dynamics, Denver is violating the existing social responsibility clause which states it shall not invest in companies that disrespect human rights or do business with terrorist-sponsoring states, and reinvest in clean, life-affirming solutions. The social responsibility clause should also be updated to explicitly include a policy prohibiting investment in weapons producing companies. When reinvesting assets, the City should make deliberate choices about how money is invested — and should make those choices represent values of sustainability, community empowerment, action on climate, establishment of a renewable energy economy, and more.