This article by Mike Ludwig was published in TruthOut on April 11, 2017. Let’s see how long it takes for other cities and counties to replicate what happened in Portland, Oregon. Let’s get every local government in the country to disinvest from the corporate state and reinvest in a sustainable local economy. Thank you Portland social movements for lighting the way!
In a sweeping move that follows a wave of divestment activism in Portland, Oregon, and across the country, the Portland City Council voted last week to pull all of the city’s investments in corporate bonds and securities.
The decision was a major victory for a broad coalition of activists who have pushed for the city to end its investments in corporations that have questionable records on the environment and human rights, including ties to the Dakota Access pipeline, the private prison industry and the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
“As their decision stands now, it’s permanent.… We can rest assured in Portland that our money won’t be funding prisons, pipelines and the occupation of Palestine,” said Amanda Aguilar Shank, an organizer with the racial justice group Enlace, in an interview with Truthout.
Portland’s City Council had originally considered adding Caterpillar, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase and six other companies identified by a volunteer committee on socially responsible investing to a so-called “Do Not Buy” list, but the council was unable to come to an agreement on which companies to blacklist from the city’s investment portfolio. Instead, in December, they voted to place a temporary halt on all new corporate investments until permanent decisions could be made.
After activists organized rallies and packed council meetings with hours of testimony, the council agreed last week to end corporate investments altogether.
Hyung Nam, a Portland public school teacher and former member of the Socially Responsible Investments Committee (SRIC) behind the proposed “Do Not Buy” list, said the vote was a victory for “human rights and climate justice.” MORE…