In Support of ASM Legislation: Social Responsibility and University Divestment from Corporate Human Rights Abuse

Global solidarity means that our struggles for social, economic, and ecological justice and a transformed world are interdependent. The last several decades have seen a rise of color blindness, militarism, capitalism, institutionalized racism, and state sanctioned violence that has continued to target Black, Latinx, Palestinian, Jewish, Indigenous, and Mixed Race bodies. There has been resistance, as oppressed communities have laid their bodies on the line to rupture unjust systems and carve out small spaces to live in justice. Much of this resistance has been successful, and, yet, white supremacy, patriarchy, neoliberal capitalism, and occupation continue to dominate. Our Earth and our hearts bear the scars, and the scale of such injustices puts us all at risk.

We know that our resistance must match this scale. We are no longer satisfied with carving out small spaces to breathe while our families, our friends, our communities, and our earth bear the consequences of uninterrupted exploitation and violence. We recognize that oppressed people share a common struggle and that our collective liberation will be a product of all our work.

We recognize that some of the primary purveyors of these social, economic, and ecological injustices are corporations who profit from the oppression and exploitation of Black, Brown, and Indigenous lives. These corporations include:

~G4S, which runs an Israeli National Police Academy and operates private prisons throughout the United States
~Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, which supply weapons and equipment to both the Israeli and the United States Militaries, and contribute to police militarization through the 1033 Program which allows local police departments to purchase military equipment.
~Combined Systems, Inc, which sells the tear gas that is used to suppress resistance movements around the world, including Palestinian and Jewish protesters in Jerusalem, and is similar to that used at Standing Rock, and Immigration and Black Lives Matter activists in the US. Point Lookout Capital Partners, which owns a controlling stock in Combined ~Systems Integrated, but also in companies that manufacture firearms for military and police forces.
~Elbit Systems, which built the wall that keeps out Palestinian workers trying to earn a living in their native hometowns in Israel and is designing the surveillance system on the US Border wall.
~CoreCivic and Geogroup, which account for 85% of the private prisons in America and who make a majority of their profits by detaining immigrants. These two companies have seen sharp increases in stock prices since the election of Donald Trump.
~Bank of America, Wells Fargo, First Republic Bank, J.P. Morgan Chase, Citibank, U.S. Bancorp, which collectively own 9 million shares of CoreCivic and Geogroup, the two largest private prison corporations in America, and have invested over $2 billion into the construction of the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline.
~Genie Energy, which is building oil drills in occupied lands in Israel and is conducting Oil Shale in extraction in Colorado. This process produces five times the carbon dioxide than traditional fossil fuels.
Veolia, French company which is invested in Jerusalem Light Rail and is the company responsible for the drinking water in Flint, Michigan.

We demand that the UW - Madison adhere to it’s already affirmed Regent Policy 31-13 “Social Responsibility and Investment Considerations” and divest from these corporations as it states “all investments made in any company, corporation, subsidiary, or affiliate that practices or condones through its actions discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, creed or sex, shall be divested in as prudent but rapid a manner as possible.” Moreover, we demand that the UW Foundation enact policy pledging the Foundation will never invest in these companies in the future unless they endtheir discrimination and human rights abuse of Black, Brown, and Indigenous lives. In 1978, the Board of Regents voted to divest from Apartheid South Africa because of racial discrimination and systematic oppression, and it remained the largest single divestment from the Apartheid state.

We also demand UW - Madison administration to conduct a thorough review of all business contracts and investments, to cancel any contracts with the aforementioned companies, and to pledge to never initiate future contracts with these companies as long as they are complicit in the violations of Black, Brown, and Indigenous lives. We demand public transparency in university investments and contracts and to create a system by which to review all investments and contracts that violate human rights.

Furthermore, We demand administration invests in Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities by working with alumni, donors, and other organizations to set up specific scholarships and programs for Palestinian students from the West Bank and Gaza and increase funding and support for local Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities.

Finally we demand the administration draft a public statement condemning all forms of racism including the Occupation of Palestine and the Apartheid Regime of Israel and calls for peaceful solutions that allow Israeli and Palestinian communities to democratically decide the best course forward that secures peace, justice, and human rights for all who live in Israel/Palestine.

#BlackLivesMatter #BlackPalestinianSolidarity #NoBanNoWall #NoDAPL

Signed,
Students for Justice in Palestine UW-Madison, Jewish Voice for Peace, MEChA, Wisconsin Black Student Union, TAA Palestine Solidarity Caucus, Wunk Sheek, Madison General Defense Committee of The IWW Local 100, International Socialist Organization

For annotated petition: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6ZFZ9pCr4ZWaUhkcFlSX0pJbVE/view?usp=sharing

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