12814771_10153301170335974_3910851762077166185_n.jpgWHAT IS THE CHANGE-POWER OF DIVESTMENT, AS WITH THE TATE MODERN IN THE UK? We recently interviewed Chloe Maxmin on our radio show. A Harvard student until recently, Ms. Maxmin is one of the movers of the divestment from fossil fuels in colleges and universities. A big museum in London that divested from BP might compare roughly to the symbolism of Harvard University refusing the profits that cause climate change. How much would the current heating of the planet be slowed by the withdrawal of prestigious institutions as investors? 

The honest answer is: probably not very much. "Dark money" can always be found, even if JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America and Citibank stopped funding oil companies (they are the top funders of climate change-creating industrial projects in the world). But divestment at the Tate is so dramatic, so public - it will always be referred to in other campaigns - the impact is real. It is difficult to measure, but it is more than symbolic. 

In social movements, you can never quantify the changes in the future. We struggle forward, looking for some kind of advantage, as the emergency of the Earth's crisis unfolds in starvation, wars, species extinction... We feel that the Tate Modern's decision is a pivot point. There were early symbolic wins in the Civil Rights Movement: Rosa Parks' taking a seat at the front of the bus. In the Gender Rights movement: standing up to the cops in the Stonewall Tavern. Small gestures in and of themselves became unstoppable waves of new laws and rights and culture. 

We are proud to be a part of the divestment campaigns in the the UK and New York (here in NYC at Lincoln Koch Bros Center and the 42nd Street Blackrock Hedge Fund Library.) We'll be back in the British Museum next time we're in London. The echoes in that big, beautiful building sound like blue whales!