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CSULB - 49er Article



By Linda Prendez - Daily Forty Niner

A group of Cal State Long Beach Students are urging the university to
"invest responsibly".  Leaders from the United Methodist Student Movement
are expected to meet with representatives of Associated Students Inc. today
to propose a selective purchasing resolution known as the "Free Burma
Similar to divestment strategies of anti-apartheid activists in the '80s,
the resolution would prohibit A.S.I. from doing business with United States
corporations that have major investments in Burma.

Burma, which has a record of human-rights violations, has been denounced by
major human-rights groups worldwide, including the Amnesty International
and the United Nations Human Rights Commission.

Desmond Tutu has called the country the "South Africa of the '90's," and
the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has charged that 60 percent of heroin in
the United States comes from Burma.

Although the Free Burma Coalition - the grass roots movement behind the
international action - lists hundreds of companies on its boycott list, the
CSULB leaders have chosen to limit the list.  Two major corporations on
that list are ARCO and UNOCAL.

Sixteen campuses in the United States and Canada have passed selective
purchasing ordinances, including Stanford, UCLA, UC Berkeley, and Santa
Monica College.  The resolution is meant to influence Burma's State Law and
Order Restoration Council, or SLORC, which has blamed for the killings of
more than 6,000 Burmese citizens on one day alone and other abuses.

Patrick Zaw (a.k.a. Ali Ahmed) has been active in the Free Burma Coalition
for a year now.  The CSULB student, born in Burma and raised in the United
States, said the action will have a profound effect on the SLORC's governing.

"Basically this small movement is part of a worldwide action.  I am dead
sure that officials in Burma will hear about it, " Zaw said.  "It really
threatens them."

Zaw said that the boycott may stop billion-dollar ventures with United
States businesses.

Last week, the Methodist group and the Free Burma Coalition, led a campaign
to inform students and garner support for the resolution.  The groups
showed films, passed out leaflets and held a campus wide silent demonstration.

Justin Long, president of the United Methodist Student Movement, said that
the general reaction from the campus was supportive.  Many students were
uninformed about the labor and civil rights abuses that take place in
Burma, he said.

"A lot of people are surprised when a religious group is doing something
like this," Long said, "but it makes sense."

"We're very socially conscious.  These abuses should not be acceptable

A vote at Wednesday's Senate Meeting could pass the resolution. AS Vice
President Davian Freeman has pledged his support for the resolution, Zaw