Earlier today, a rally to kick Coke off campus was held at the Diag. The effort has been going on for a few weeks now and it is being organized by a coalition of student groups. The core members of the coalition are Amnesty International, Environmental Justice and SOLE. There are other supporters like the Student Greens and the Indian Student Association but I can’t remember all of them.
The members of the campaign are trying to make the University administration to force Coke to act more responsibly on matters concerning the environment and human rights. In Colombia, a number of labor union leaders that were troublesome to the bottling plants administration have been killed by paramilitary and Coke is alleged to have a connection with the murders. Union members have also been forced to quit their union if they want to keep their jobs – the right to free association being taken away forceful.Pertaining to the environment, in India, Coke is draining an aquifer and in effect depriving the poor local residents of precious water supply. Concurrently in India, there is a major movement to force Coke (and Pepsi too) entirely out of India. Here is a old article from BBC concerning Colas and India.
At the moment, the coalition is trying to get the Michigan Student Assembly to pass a resolution to condemn Coke. The first reading was read yesterday during the MSA weekly meeting and the motion will be up for voting next week. As I understand, heavy lobbying is happening within MSA. Despite the lobbying, I don’t see how the motion won’t go through since most of the board members seem to be from the left side of the political spectrum. With possible support from MSA, it is hoped that the University administration will be pressured to at least renegotiate its contract with Coke. A copy of the resolution can be found here.
While this is going on here in Michigan, other campuses are running the same campaign too. This is actually part of a nationwide protest against Coke. Some of them have managed to convince their schools to quit Coke.
Finally, next week, a few speakers, one of them is from Colombia, will be speaking on how bad the situation is in Colombia.
And now, some photos.
Environmental Justice people made that bottle-link and I helped them with it. It’s 125 feet long and we spent almost two hours trying to get it done. We didn’t buy any of them of course. Buying them to make the link rather defeats the purpose of boycotting Coke.
And this is somebody with the campaign poster. I don’t know him but he is probably from Amnesty.
And this probably somebody from the Michigan Daily, taking a shot at the bottle-link. We at EJ are hoping it gets into the front page tomorrow.
The aftermath. It’s going to be recycled of course.
And an explanation why the bottle-link is 125 feet.
More info on the issue is at Killer Coke.p/s – I’ve learnt that the Daily editorial endorses our effort. w00t! The piece could be read at the Michigan Daily. There is also some hope that the New York Times catches this…
pp/s – today in World of Warcraft, I helped a few others, about 10 players, defending Astranaar, a town in the game, from Orcs’ raids. It feels great to kick orcs’ ass.