IN 1985, AFTER AN ANTI-APARTHEID movement had swept across college campuses and broadened into a nationwide push to divest corporate holdings in South Africa, this page urged investors such as the city of Los Angeles and the University of California to buck the trend and stay the course. While deploring the apartheid system and the South African government that enforced it, The Times believed that a wide-scale pullout of American investment would do more harm than good by putting apartheid's victims out of work.
Today, a similar movement is sweeping the country calling for divestment from another African nation whose assaults against its own people have horrified the world. This time we think divestiture is the right move.
On Thursday, the UC Board of Regents rightly voted to divest from nine foreign companies that help prop up the government of Sudan. It is a principled stand that should be repeated by other big investors, including the $200-billion California Public Employees' Retirement System.
The Khartoum government is using its revenues, most of which come from oil bought by Chinese-owned companies, to supply arms to Arab militias, which use them to massacre entire villages in Darfur. Khartoum is also using its own military to attack villagers whose only crime is living in an area associated with armed anti-government rebels. An estimated 200,000 people have been slaughtered in what the Bush administration has rightly labeled "genocide."