Fourteen Churches and Catholic religious orders with nearly S9m (about £3.75m) in 'IBM stock are co-filing a stockholders' resolution with that company to prevent it from selling, leasing or servicing computers in the Republic of South Africa.
The action was announced in New York last week along with similar religious group actions on South Africa or Namibia in six other companies.
The religious organisations are co-ordinated by the interfaith Church Project on US Investments in Southern Africa. They oppose American corporate activities which support apartheid and South Africa's control of neighbouring Namibia in defiance of international law.
In the IBM resolution the os.s
Churches state that while computers cannot literally be called "arms," which are prohibited under the United States embargo on arms shipments. "we believe computers sold to the South African Government ostensibly for peaceful purposes arc of real assistance militarily and strategically."
Thus the spirit of the embargo is compromised, they state, while the computers increase the government's ability to control its citizens, implementing its policy of white supremacy.
In the other actions, 16 Churches or Catholic religious orders are filing resolutions with Phillips, Standard Oil and Getty corporations in Namibia and with International Telephone and Telegraph, Union Carbide and the Southern Company in South Africa.
Standard Oil and Getty are being asked to withdraw from the illegally governed Namibia, and Phillips is being asked to set up a committee to review its involvement there.
The review resolution comes to Phillips because last year the Churches just missed the necessary 6 per cent vote needed to have a withdrawal resolution filed again.
According to Dr Howard Schomer, of the United Church of Christ, "of all the oppressed people of the world, we know of none more oppressed than the people of Namibia, They have no legislature and no one at all to mediate on their behalf in the South Africa government."