Sunday, October 11, 2009

Why I always vote

political pictures for your blog

Recently I received a notice from my 401K plan for an upcoming proxy vote. I used to throw those away because they wanted my vote on board members I never heard of and procedures I didn't understand. But if the maladministration of George W. Bush and the continuing nefarious influence of large corporations in my own financial health have taught me anything, it's to check up on everything they do and use what little power I have to the most.

It's amazing what 15 minutes of teh Google can tell me. I quickly found this:
There was a shareholder proposal made recently requesting the board to “institute procedures to prevent holding investments in companies that, in the judgment of the board, substantially contribute to genocide or crimes against humanity, the most egrigious violations of human rights.”
...First, there was a list of very boring-sounding proposals about electing trustees, updating this, approving that, blah blah blah. The shareholder proposal request came LAST, and it was #8. What came FIRST was this:
“The board of directors/trustees recommends that you vote ‘for’ proposals 1-7 and ‘against’ proposal 8.”
Naturally, proposal 8 was the one urging divestment from companies that do business with the genocidal government of Sudan. If I had thrown this notice away, my vote would have been recorded as agreeing with the board recommendations.

This shareholder proposal was brought about by the efforts of Investors Against Genocide.
My vote may be just a drop in the bucket, but it was last year as well, and enough drops joined me to kick the corporations square in the nuts. If you have money invested in a big mutual fund, check out IAG's website and help bring about the change we need.

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