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Congress Keeps Funding a War Machine That the Public Should Divest From

Both parties line their pockets with profits from the arms trade.

In recent budget negotiations, Senate Democrats  to a boost in military spending that exceeded the cap for fiscal 2018 by $70 billion, bringing the total request to an enormous $716 billion. Inevitably, this means more Pentagon contracts will be awarded to private corporations that use endless war to line their pockets. Democrats capitulated to this massive increase without so much as a scuffle. But the move hardly comes as a surprise, given how much money flows from weapons makers to the coffers of congressional campaigns for both parties.  

While the majority of the weapons money goes to Republicans, Democratic Senators Tim Kaine and Bill Nelson appear in the  of campaign contributions--in both chambers and parties--from military contractors in 2017 and 2018.  $785,000 to Democratic candidates since 2017.Hillary Clinton took over $1 million from the industry in 2016. Even progressive darlings like  and  take money from weapons manufacturers, and Sanders  Boeing’s disastrous F-35 because his home state had a financial stake in the program.

If neither major political party will stand up to this status quo, what can be done?

One answer might be found in the recent push to divest from fossil fuel companies undertaken by, among others,  and . By December of 2016, , representing over $5 trillion in assets, had divested from fossil fuels. In , author Naomi Klein described the fossil fuel divestment effort as “a process of delegitimizing” the sector and of affirming that it yields “odious profits.”

An analogous campaign to delegitimize beneficiaries of war is long overdue. In addition to pressuring our members of Congress to refuse campaign donations from weapons manufacturers and war profiteers, we must mount a divestment effort at the institutional and municipal level. Investment in war must come at the cost of public disgrace.

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