MoMA Divest is a grassroots campaign part of the larger transformative movement exposing the harms done by powerful arts and cultural institutions, and demanding accountability and reparations.
MoMA Divest recognizes the central function of museums and the art world in the global system of racial and militarized capitalism. These are not abstractions. The concrete and violent connections between finance, art, and policing/militarization can be clearly laid out. Indeed, they have been laid out by years of research, organizing, and protest around these issues by a range of groups whose work we must all acknowledge.
The so-called Art World is organized around the accumulation of wealth in fewer and fewer hands, the protection of that wealth through police and the military, and its laundering through luxury high-priced objects called ‘art’ stored in restrictive spaces called museums or galleries.
It is no coincidence that the same people serving on the boards of MoMA (and Columbia University and NYU) also serve on the board of the NY Police Foundation, run military companies like Blackwater or General Dynamics, own private prison companies like Core Civic and Geo Group, and finance mining and oil companies that require the protection of the military when they displace people and destroy the planet.
Consequently, this also provides a powerful strategic entry for confronting and abolishing these problems, and reimagining alternatives. An attack on that so-called art world is an attack on this system of enshrined inequality and violent dispossession. To abolish MoMA is to abolish the function it serves in racial capitalism and with it comes the hope of redistribution, reparation, restitution, of reimagining and remaking - a world without MoMA is in effect a world without rabid inequality, war and prison profiteering.
We demand MoMA and its board divest from any trustees and sources of funding that profit from our pain. We call for immediate divestment from all harmful industries which violate our communities’ rights to life, safety, and well-being. This includes, but is not limited to, mass incarceration and immigrant detention, gentrification and displacement, weapons manufacturers and war, climate destruction, debt ownership, and other oppressive systems.
The MoMA board is rotten from the core. Billionaires who have reaped profit off pain inflicted on our people and our planet have no place in our civic institutions. However, simply removing toxic board members from MoMA will not bring justice to our world. We demand both accountability from MoMA and transformative justice for the harm caused by their Board. We believe a complete dissolution and reconstitution of the board free of its oligarchical, tyrannical, and unaccountable structure and with a renewed focus on reinvestment, reparations, and redistribution of wealth…
We demand immediate reinvestment and reparations in and to communities who have been impacted by state and corporate violence. We demand that MoMA issue a clear public statement regarding their position on harmful industries including (but not limited to): prisons and mass incarceration/detention, war and weapons manufacturing, extractivism and climate change. We demand MoMA start a transparent public investigation into any and all funds or donations linked to these issues, including its own investments in private equity, hedge funds, and endowments. We demand a reimagining of the institutional and curatorial mission of the museum. MoMA must work to repair the harm caused by the institution and their board. This looks like building meaningful relationships with impacted local and global communities, committing to delivering them tangible reparations how they feel they would most benefit.
We envision a MoMA run by and for the people: let’s build it together.
We continue in the organizing tradition of movements that have come before us, and in solidarity with grassroots groups working towards radical change nationally and internationally.
We are actively working towards: decolonization, abolition, reparations, just transition, restitution/reunification and redistribution. Transformation NOT reform.
Voices, experiences, and contributions of QTBIPOC folx and those directly impacted by systems of harm determine our analysis and guide our actions.
We are committed to international solidarity with all people resisting imperialism, occupation, militarism, racism and racial capitalism, corporate takeovers, dispossession and gentrification, class inequality, and extractivism.
We believe in collective liberation and understand that our struggles are linked. We do not compromise anyone's liberation.