The drink of the death squads.

Edinburgh University Students Association are apparently (or, as it's in the Scotsman, allegedly) going to stop stocking Coke in Union outlets. A damn fine decision, if you ask me, even before you get to discussing human rights. Coca-cola's statement that the Columbian Union has cleared them of involvement seems odd - as far as I can tell the union is most definitely among those calling for a boycott due to the killings.

(The song "Drink of the death squads" is by David Rovics)
I now have "Grandmother's Footsteps" stuck in my head.
"Television is flash and Coke is nice"
And you can have the rest, yes. Charming people, Coke, I'm sure, but far too close to the Republican Party for my liking.
Creeping creeping footsteps, around the world

That is, fundamentally, Coke (and satellite TV) for you, creeping across the globe and now found all around the world. Coca-cola is the one word that is common to all languages.
I doubt this will have any long-term effect on Coca Cola. They have to realise that they benefited during the 1990s from a similar boycott of Pepsi over that company's investments in Myanmar, that both companies suffered from boycotts over their investments in S. Africa during Apartheid, and thus they must already know any such boycott is a short-term nuisance to them, not a long-term red mark on the balance sheets. In-store sale prices have a far greater effect than righteous indignation of young adults. Coke will probably do the right thing eventually, but they won't be doing it because they feel an economic pinch.

It comes down to the bottom line, and they'll stop when it starts to hurt. Having said that, I believe that some of the anti-apartheid boycotts did have an effect - on Barclays bank, possibly, who like all banks were very keen on getting students as customers, but unlike the rest weren't having any success.
they'll stop when it starts to hurt

I think we're basically agreed here. I just don't think the board of directors is even going to notice a few hundred thousand pounds loss in a quarterly financial report that's half an inch thick (said the shareholder (and no, I'm not dumping them in protest, I'd rather get the credentials to the annual meetings and make trouble there)). For a protest to be successful these days, when a company like Coke has quarterly earnings in the hundreds of millions of dollars range, you have to do more hurting than this will do.

That said, I think it was the guerrilla protest tactics, not the boycotts themselves, which really focused attention on major issues in the past, at least in the US. Once upon a time (about 1988, IIRC), Kraft Foods' BoD ran for the exits when students at about a dozen American universities built shanty towns on their campus greens built entirely out of discarded Kraft shipping boxes. The publicity was a nightmare, and there was no possible upshot to it because kids were out in the streets hollering at the media "See, this is how blacks in Jo-burg and SoWeTo live and Kraft profits from this, and They Are Bad," and for once everything focused very sharply on the actual issue. The boycott is likely to be read by a lot of otherwise sensible grown-ups (I'm old, but I'm not grown-up... that's my story and I'm sticking to it) as just another bunch of kids trying to relive the glory of the 1960s (which is bullshit, but it's how people in the media always phrase it, and I think it's honestly how a lot of former hippie radicals see it when it's their kids boycotting something).

Sorry to rant in your LJ, BTW. It's just safer than ranting in my own. :)
Oh, and an even more cynical question one might wonder is: how many students who aren't in Edinburgh even know what this is about? I'd wager that there are few outside the dozen universities mentioned by the Scotsman article who know anything at all about this, which bodes ill for the boycott's success.

Bugger. Now I'm tempted to try rabble-rousing at Brandeis, except I'm getting too old for this sort of rubbish.
A good question. It may well just peter out. Even if it does, though, we'll be rid of the Coke-only marketing around the place, which can also only be a good thing in my view.
Plenty of that around here.
There is Pepsi in the shop too, but the giant machines in the hall are Coke. They say 'Thirsty?' in big white letters; I'm always tempted to put stickers underneath with a sarky comment about avoiding drinking caffienated and thus diuretic drinks and with an arrow pointing to the drinking fountain on the other side of the room. If only I could find a snappy way of conveying the information.
Re: Plenty of that around here.
The SSP group in the Scottish Parliament building had some fake out-of-order cards on their walls, with the coca-cola logo and the words this company is ethically OUT OF ORDER. I haven't seen any around to put on the machines here, though, but while I was looking I came across this graphic, which is quite punchy.
Re: Plenty of that around here.
Punchy, yes.

But before I went round sticking it on anything I'd want to know why, or rather be able to point anyone looking at it at why. Random put-downs don't do anything for me and I'd want to assume others think likewise.

Pointing out that caffienated drinks are diuretics and therefore not as good at stopping you being thirsty is at least remotely fact-like.
Re: Plenty of that around here.
The ones I was looking for had further information, URLs and the like in smaller print at the bottom. Not much on health, though. Given where I saw them, the political slant is unsurprising.
Re: Plenty of that around here.
They were ours
"This machine is ethically out of order"
We handed out hundreds in Edinburgh.
I'm not so sure about that.

The Mark Thomas UK tour which started in Edinburgh at the Festival and finished in December was on this subject. It sold out every single night. Thats a lot more folk than just the dozen universities.

While I'm glad that EUSA is calling for a boycott of Coke products over this issue, I'm not convinced that action at Edinburgh will be effective for the simple reason that Coke products just don't seem to be widely drunk, or didn't when I was there in 1996.

My first "we're not in England any more, Toto" moment that year was stopping in the Potterow for morning coffee and noticing that, of the 100+ students in the bar, 50% were drinking tea or coffee, 50% were drinking Irn-Bru, and there wasn't a can of Coke in sight.

Well Teviot now has a Costa inside it.
Coke has exclusive contracts for the bars etc.
Things change.
I would boycott Coke, except
...I already don't buy Coke. Or Pepsi. Nor do I eat at MacDonald's and neither do I consume Domino's Pizza. (This last is mainly because their cooking is execrable, I've avoided them since approximately 1985, and only in recent years did I find out about their lack of social ethics.) So, they've been doing without my money for a looooong time, and it hasn't hurt them any.

I do kind of like Coke, but strictly for medicinal purposes. For curing certain malaises it comes in a distant second to Irn Bru, which is unavailable in the States.

So, I sort of am stuck doing "positive boycotts"--spending my money on stuff I approve of, since I can't not spend money I'm already not spending on stuff I disapprove of.

This is a big change then. The year I graduated from EU the speaker was the head of coca-cola for Europe.