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Gun with trigger at center of image.
The California State Teachers' Retirement System has begun the process of divesting from gun companies. The pension fund, one of the nation's largest, has investments in Cerberus Capital Management, the private equity fund that is trying to sell off the company that manufactured the gun used by Adam Lanza to kill 20 children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, as well as in two other gun-makers. Divesting will take time, as much as a couple of years, but if large funds begin that process now, it certainly exerts pressure on gun manufacturers.

The specific investments in question are important. But this also shows something important about pension funds where regular people have a voice:

Harry Keiley, a high school teacher with the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District and chairman of the board's investment committee, said before Wednesday's vote that the pension board has the power to change its investments.

After the shooting, Keiley said: "I sat there with all of my thoughts and feeling very powerless knowing that I don't sit on the Supreme Court, I don't cast a vote in the United States Congress, I don't sit in the state Legislature. I'm a school teacher and dad. And then it dawned on me ... that I and this board are not powerless."

So this'll be one more reason the corporate right hates teacher pensions. But for the rest of us, it's a reminder that when you have strength in numbers, you can gain new kinds of leverage in the economy.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:10 AM PST.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA, In Support of Labor and Unions, Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA), and Daily Kos.

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