[Marxism] Dialogue in the Service of Power: UC Leadership's Anti-Divestment Strategy

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Jan 28 07:50:25 MST 2014

Student divestment activism at the University of California actually 
began in the early 2000s at UC Berkeley, where the student campaign was 
met with administrative obstinacy. Since then, a broad-based Palestinian 
civil society call for a boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign has 
given increased urgency to this cause, and has served as a turning point 
in the Palestine solidarity movement at university campuses—one that 
helped unify and energize the movement we see today.

The first example of administrative pushback against the new wave of 
divestment activism came in 2010. Then, the administration was under 
duress as UC Berkeley’s student senators voted sixteen-to-four to divest 
from companies supporting war crimes in Gaza. However, the student 
government’s president vetoed their vote. During the debate, the UC 
Regents, an unelected group largely comprised of politically connected 
elites that head the UC system, stated that the UC would not divest from 
Israel, citing a position laid out in 2005 after the Regents passed 
divestment from Sudan over atrocities in Darfur. In that 
position—crafted to support the Darfur movement but shut the door on all 
others—the Regents declared that from now on, they would only divest 
from a foreign country if the government in that country had been 
engaged in acts of genocide. This policy, of course, turns its back on 
the historic divestment campaign that hastened the end of South African 
apartheid, and establishes a bizarre metric by which many forms of 
systematic violence and oppression are deemed unworthy of divestment.


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