There is a long history of social movements using divestment campaigns as a strategy to undermine extractive and violent industries, when other pathways to change have been blocked. From South African apartheid, to present-day fights against prisons and pipelines, withdrawing money is a potent political tactic to build our movements for justice. Here are some of the organizations who are using divestment-reinvestment as a tool for transformative change:
Movement for Black Lives: “We demand investments in the education, health and safety of Black people, instead of investments in the criminalizing, caging, and harming of Black people. We want investments in Black communities, determined by Black communities, and divestment from exploitative forces including prisons, fossil fuels, police, surveillance and exploitative corporations.”
Enlace International: Prison Divest: “We aim to stop the lobbying power of the private prison industry so that humane and common sense reforms are possible in criminal and immigration policy. The National Prison Divestment Campaign targets the investors of Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group (GEO), the two largest private prison companies in the United States. Profiting from the separations of families, violations of human rights, and general pain caused by these prisons is inhumane and unacceptable.”
350.org and Go Fossil Free: “If it is wrong to wreck the climate, then it is wrong to profit from that wreckage. We believe that educational and religious institutions, governments, and other organizations that serve the public good should cut their ties to the fossil fuel industry...We are an international network of campaigns and campaigners working toward freeing communities from fossil fuels.”
Divestment Student Network: The Divestment Student Network operated for five years as, building a powerful student movement for a just transition in the face of the climate crisis. They trained, mentored, and coordinated students running nonviolent direct action campaigns for fossil fuel divestment and community reinvestment. Although they have recently closed their doors, their website is still rich in resources and tools for divestment organizers.
Divest-Invest: “We are individual, family and institutional investors joining the global movement to divest from fossil fuels and invest in clean energy for all.”
Defund DAPL: An online platform for individuals, cities, tribes, and organizations to track the amount of money divested from the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Mazaska Talks and Divest Your City: A divestment campaign aimed at 15 banks, who are funding four major pipelines that will carry tar sands through indigenous territories without consent
The Responsible Endowments Coalition "(REC) works to build and unify the college and university-based responsible investment movement, both by educating and empowering a diverse network of individuals to act on their campuses, and by fostering a national network for collective action. We empower young people to defend human rights and the environment while making both corporations and universities accountable to global stakeholders. Our goal is to foster social and environmental change by making responsible investment common practice amongst colleges and universities, and to support the next generation of activists with a new and powerful toolkit."
Forgo Wells: “Wells Fargo has been preying on communities across America for years, especially communities of color. Whether it's engaging in discriminatory lending, profiting from private prisons and immigrant detention centers, funding payday lenders, financing the Dakota Access Pipeline, supporting police foundations, or selling predatory municipal finance deals to our cities, states, and school districts, Wells Fargo's business is built on stripping wealth from our communities. We're fighting back.”