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We're Asking Charlottesville to Divest from Weapons and Fossil Fuels

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Charlottesville, Virginia, has yet to take down its racist statues (the ones all the fuss has been about or any of the other ones). Charlottesville has yet to ban guns from public events. It blames the state legislature in both of those and many other topics. But the City of Charlottesville has our public dollars invested in weapons, and it is perfectly capable of changing that.

In this case, excuses may prove hard to come by. Charlottesville has divested in the past from Sudan and from South Africa.

The City has passed resolutions in the past opposing wars and urging Congress to move money from militarism to human and environmental needs. Yet the City has our money invested in weapons companies whose weapons are used in environmentally destructive wars in which most of the victims don't look "white" and often used on both sides of those wars.

And the City has our money invested in fossil fuel companies exactly the entities National Security Advisor John Bolton says will benefit from overthrowing the government of Venezuela.

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The City is perfectly capable of establishing a policy of not investing in weapons companies a policy that would cover whatever companies produced the guns people brought here in August 2017. It is perfectly capable of divesting from fossil fuel companies.

Other cities are passing similar measures. The U.S. Congress has rules for the acceptance of petitions from local and state governments. The rules were written by a guy named Thomas Jefferson, local Charlottesville deity. It is absolutely appropriate for our City Council to represent us to a higher and less representative level of government or to take action on a national or global issue. But this is a local issue. Climate chaos happens here in Charlottesville as everywhere else. Gun violence happens here. The impacts of war culture happen here. And this is our money we're talking about.

At least two companies that Charlottesville has money invested in are big suppliers of Saudi Arabia and its war on Yemen, the worst humanitarian disaster seen in many years. This is not something the people of Charlottesville would vote for, but we've never been asked. So, we're volunteering our opinion.

Charlottesville should set an example for other cities to follow. This is our planet at stake. Here's local TV coverage of our effort to ask the City to divest. We plan to bring the matter to the City Council on March 4th. Three candidates for City Council this year, and numerous organizations have endorsed. The list of endorsers is at DivestCville.org as is this draft resolution:

WHEREAS, U.S. weapons companies supply deadly weapons to numerous brutal dictatorships around the globe[1], and companies Charlottesville currently has public funds invested in include Boeing and Honeywell, which are major suppliers of Saudi Arabia's horrific war on the people of Yemen;

WHEREAS, the current federal administration has labeled climate change a hoax, moved to withdraw the U.S. from the global climate accord, attempted to suppress climate science, and worked to intensify the production and use of warming-causing fossil fuels, with the burden therefore falling on city, county, and state governments to assume climate leadership for the sake of their citizens' wellbeing and the health of local and regional environments;

WHEREAS, militarism is a major contributor to climate change[2], and the City of Charlottesville has urged the U.S. Congress to invest less in militarism and more in protecting human and environmental needs[3];

WHEREAS, the City of Charlottesville's own investments ought to model the changes it has urged on the Congress;

WHEREAS, continuing on the current course of climate change will cause a global average temperature rise of 4.5Â F by 2050, and cost the global economy $32 trillion dollars[4];

WHEREAS, five-year averages of temperature in Virginia began a significant and steady increase in the early 1970s, rising from 54.6 degrees Fahrenheit then to 56.2 degrees F in 2012, and the Piedmont area has seen the temperature rise at a rate of 0.53 degrees F per decade, at which rate Virginia will be as hot as South Carolina by 2050 and as northern Florida by 2100[5];

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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more...)
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