- Who We Are
- What We Do
- Partnership Model
- Focus Areas
- Campaigns and Actions
- Public Policy
- UU College of Social Justice
- What You Can Do
- Ways to Give
- Get Involved
- Enlist Your Congregation
- Read Our Blog
- Shop in Our Store
- Media Center
- Volunteer Network Resources
- Campaign Resources
- Multimedia Resources
- Congregational Resources
Not long ago, our good friend Bill Baar brought up the question of Sudan divestment in relation to one of our posts. Somebody arose from their slumber to slam him for stalking this blog, but we took his question seriously. Where would we be without Bill's comments?
In any case, as my erstwhile colleague Dick Campbell noted, UUSC's investment managers have assured us that the institution is in compliance with the recommendations of the Sudan Divestment Task Force. That does not, however, amount to a complete embrace of the Sudan Divestment Campaign, which would also involve publicizing our stand and promoting divestment to peer organizations, UU congregations and the 40,000+ members of UUSC. We're working on that. Today, I sat in on a web conference hosted by KLD, an investment firm that has taken a special interest in helping institutional investors understand the debate around Sudan divestment.
The conference included several speakers that addressed the issue from a variety of perspectives. Eric Reeves, a Smith College professor, drew on his experience as a Sudan researcher to outline the moral and political argument for divestment. Reeves also took on the "slippery slope" argument that institutions often use to avoid facing the moral responsibility of their investments. Joseph Clary, a lawyer advising the Illinois State Senate came ready to talk about the first successful attempt to craft legislation at the state level to mandate divestment from Sudan, but the threat of litigation by a group purportedly led by the Swiss technology firm, ABB, clamped a muzzle on Clary. Why would ABB want to sue the state of Illinois for divesting from Sudan?
Daniel Millenson and Adam Sterling, two very articulate and knowledgeable student activists from opposite ends of the country (Brandeis and UCLA) described the evolution of the Sudan Divestment Task Force into a movement that has captured the imagination of lots of people.
KLD's own Peter Kinder spoke to the timeliness of Sudan divestment, and compared the current movement to the South Africa divestment movement that became so popular during the latter stages of the apartheid era.
Three themes surfaced in almost all of the presentations.
1. There can be no justification for providing resources to a government like that of Sudan.
2. A model of "targeted divestment" that promotes divestment of only those companies that are most in bed with the government of Sudan makes the most sense in the current circumstances.
3. No one believes that divestment, alone, will end genocide in Darfur, but divestment may well help keep the story of Darfur "above the fold" in the U.S. press.
All that said, Bill Baar's question still stands. Why hasn't UUSC joined the Sudan divestment movement? It is, perhaps, time for all of the institutional pillars of the UUniverse to take a look at our investments from the Sudan Divestment perspective. Let's see what happens...