Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Will divestiture erase assault weapons? & did it have much effect in S. Africa?

I’m old enough to remember when trendy form of political protest was to talk of divestiture – as in picketing companies that spent money or did business in South Africa.
EMANUEL: Using decades old tactics

The idea was to encourage companies to quit doing business in the nation with its apartheid system of laws that rivaled anything that occurred in this country under “Jim Crow.”

GET ENOUGH BIG companies to quit doing business there, and maybe the South African government would be swayed to eliminate its legalized form that mandated segregation along racial lines – and gave the bulk of that country to its 10 percent minority of white people.

I can remember many of my college-aged counterparts back in the early and mid-1980s partaking in divestiture protests – and spewing out a line of rhetoric that might even get the more outraged among us in a “Free Nelson Mandela!” chant.

Whether it really swayed many people is something I have always wondered.

It usually got the young Republican types all worked up into hissy fits. How dare anyone try to tell big business what to do with their investments – particularly if it was on behalf of someone that the rhetoric back then denounced as a “Communist sympathizer.”

SO IT IS with some skepticism that I point out that our “beloved” mayor, Rahm the First, is now using the “D” word as part of his own crusade – that effort he talked about last week to use the City Council to urge other governments to crack down on assault weapons.

For Emanuel used a speech in Washington to the Center for American Progress Action Fund to say that he wants mayors all across the United States to check out their city pension programs.

Specifically, see what kinds of companies those programs have money invested in. Because pension programs usually have a wide variety of investments in hopes that they will grow enough to provide the money needed to pay out all those future retirement benefits.

If it turns out that any of those companies are manufacturers of those automatic weapons with large-ammo magazines and are capable of spewing shots at several hundred per minute – then Emanuel would say that they should be dumped.

HE’S CLAIMING HE does not want his city government benefitting financially from assault weapons – as though such money were tainted in the blood of the casualties of urban violence.

Which is kind of funny, considering that our mayor is the mighty Rahmbo – and I doubt that actor Sylvester Stallone’s “John Rambo” character would give one whit about such things. For that character has used so many of these weapons in his movies where he battles everything from venal cops to the Red Army.

But back to Rahmbo, who probably hopes that “divestiture” will become a hip concept again amongst the young of our society.

Does he literally envision pickets and protests to sway big business to dump any investments they have that might even remotely have a tie to firearms? Would we even get the firearms fanatics all worked up?

PERHAPS THEY’LL RESURRECT the rhetoric of old against divestiture – and try to claim that putting firearms manufacturers out of business is some sort of “Communist” plot?

I wonder if the modern-day youth are too tied to Facebook or Twitter to have any time to go out and protest anything. Although I once saw a group promoting serious immigration reform whose idea of a “protest rally” was to get some 500 people in a room and have them simultaneously e-mail their members of Congress to urge them to do something about the issue.

Perhaps that is what we’re in store for here. Just think of a massive Twitter statement – a whole bunch of Twits sending out Tweets telling people to dump their firearms investments.


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