The State of Wisconsin, the last major public institutional shareholder of Talisman Energy in the US, confirmed today that it has completely divested from its shareholding. This means that the board has now been swept clean, and the US divestment campaign will focus relentlessly on the private institutional shareholders of Talisman Energy, beginning with the huge Fidelity Investments (Fidelity mutual funds and services).
Eric Reeves [April 23, 2001]
Northampton, MA 01063
The public information office for the State of Wisconsin Investment Board has confirmed that the State no longer owns any Talisman shares. Wisconsin thus joins the State of New York, the State of New Jersey, the City of New York, the State of California (Public Employees Retirement System), the State of Texas (Teachers Pension Plan), TIAA-CREF (the retirement investment vehicle for American higher education and the largest private pension plan in the world), the Presbyterian Church/USA, Vanguard, Manning & Napier, and a number of other private institutionals that have either divested or are seriously contemplating divestment.
The board is now swept clear of any ascertainable large public institutional shareholding of Talisman Energy. Which is significant news for Fidelity Investments: they become, as a consequence, the singular target for the divestment campaign determined to force Talisman to withdraw from its complicity in the oil-driven destruction of Sudan. And a powerful commentary piece in today’s Boston Globe by Charles Jacobs, President of the American Anti-Slavery Group, sounds the clarion note on action against Fidelity (based in Boston):
“What can we do in Boston? Learn, teach, lobby, and organize, surely. But there is a local issue. Oil profits flowing to Khartoum are fueling mass murder and slavery. Talisman Energy of Canada, Khartoum’s main partner, built a pipeline that sucks oil from under African feet and pumps the profits into Khartoum’s war machine.
“Millions of Americans have been made unknowing partners to the slave trade in Sudan because mutual funds or pension funds they hold contain Talisman stock. We have led a divestment campaign against this slave-oil and so far the pension funds of New York City, New Jersey, California, the Texas Teacher’s Retirement fund, and TIAA-CREF—the world’s largest retirement fund, have sold off their Talisman shares.
“But Fidelity Investments of Boston has become a huge shareholder of Talisman stock, refuses to divest its mutual funds, and refuses to meet with us.
“Boston is a long way from Bahr el Ghazal, but it was the center of abolitionism when black slaves walked in chains. Surely, Fidelity, a strong force for good in the community, will want to stay faithful to its principles. Perhaps when the fund managers read about the slaves I talked to, they will make the right decision. How can they not?”
[From The Boston Globe, April 23, 2001]