Divest from America?February 9, 2015
The College Fix was first to report that the board of the University of California Student Association approved a resolution that calls on the UC system to divest itself financially from the United States.
The UC system has investments totally some $91 Billion and are already subject to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing. But the Student Association does not see the UN going far enough alleging the U.S. commits violations of human rights through its allegedly racist criminal justice system, deportation of those in the country illegally and the use of drones to combat terrorism around the globe.
According to The College Fix, in addition to calling on the Board of Regents to divest all UC holdings from U.S. treasuries, the resolution also called fund managers “‘to withdraw investments in securities, endowments, mutual funds, and other monetary instruments with holdings’ from the governments of Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Russia, Turkey, Israel, Sri Lanka and Mexico, as well as the U.S.”
Mainline Christians have grown accustom to calls for divestment from companies the end use of whose products are used for “non peaceable pursuits” in the Occupied territories eternally argued over by Israel and the non-Israeli residents of the West Bank and Gaza. More recently divestment calls have also been heard related to companies who own the rights to fossil fuels still in the ground. But the call to divest from America is a new twist.
What would that practically mean? Is the Student Association saying that the UC system should not accept Federal money for programs, research or student grants or loans? As citizens in a state that functions by utilizing hundreds of millions of dollars in Federal funding for welfare, education, transportation, eldercare, healthcare, etc., are these California students really ready to live without access to clean water, electric power from the national grid, access to airline travel, and the removal of all Federal agents from California’s southern border and coastlines currently curtailing drug and human trafficking? Are the students ready to give up all access to the more than 11 million acres of California that are governed and maintained by the Bureau of Land Management?
Maybe the UC system needs to re-evaluate admissions criteria and certify that students in their system have a basic understanding of how the world actually works and verify completion of a basic course in civics. When the Board of Regents meets and the resolution from the Student Association is presented, maybe someone should educate those present that the predator drone is a product of a California company that pays taxes – including taxes that support the UC system. Uh-oh. Maybe the resolution should be expanded. Maybe the UC system should not accept money from the State of California that is tainted by the nature of the products produced and sold in California.
Should the UC system also forgo benefiting from taxes paid by:
- industrial farmers or growers who pay less than fair wages to day laborers?
- the California dominated entertainment industry and its enduring inequity in movies, music, videos and games?
- the for-profit prisons that the State of California utilizes to remedy its prison overcrowding issues?
It seems to me that the students need to do their homework, and some coursework in how capitalism works and the benefits of it.
Is the U.S. system perfect? No, certainly not. But there’s reason that the U.N. headquarters is in New York and there’s a reason that many more millions of people are trying to immigrate TO the U.S. than those seeking to leave it.
On the other hand, it does occur to me that the resolution proposed by the Student Association would have the effect of bankrupting the UC system over time. And maybe that wouldn’t be a bad thing if these students are any indication of what the system is producing.