People Power Is Changing Our Banking Behavior

Written by Amanda Starbuck

Topics: Action, Coal, Finance

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Cut Up CardOver the last few weeks since we launched our “Not One More Dollar” campaign, thousands of you have committed to stop doing business with Bank of America until the bank quits underwriting the dirty coal industry.

We’re working side by side with economic justice and democracy groups who are also pushing for the biggest banks to change their behavior. Whether the issue is environmental pollution, home foreclosures, or predatory lending, we can all agree on the root cause: Corporate profits being prioritized ahead of human dignity.

This was at the front of my mind on Saturday when I joined with many friends and allies and the mighty ranks of #OccupySF to mark “Bank Transfer Day” and take our message directly to the banks.

A full 3,000 of us marched through the streets of the city’s financial district, stopping along the way at the Chase West Coast HQ, the Wells Fargo HQ, and Bank of America Plaza. At each corporate office we sat down and blocked the streets and then staged “foreclosures” at these buildings.

This dirty coal plant bankrolled by Wall StreetAlliance of Californians for Community Empowerment home defender Brenda Reed spoke about Chase trying to foreclose her home and shared Jamie Dimon’s office phone number with the crowd. Iraq Veterans Against the War spoke about Wells Fargo underwriting military operations. And I spoke at BoA about its bankrolling of the coal industry.

Then the Chinese Progressive Association spoke to us about the economic situation of immigrants in our city and taught us how to chant “We are the 99%” in Cantonese. As we marched back to #OccupySF through Chinatown, we kept the chant going strong.

This event illustrated the power we have when we act together. That power is not only strong in the streets, it’s an economic force to be reckoned with. The thousands of RAN supporters who are closing their BoA accounts, are a part of the 650,000 people who have moved billions of dollars from big banks to credit unions this past month. That’s a significant shift, demonstrating clearly that our movement is ready to abandon the banks that don’t reflect our values.

2 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Tom Wells says:

    It’s probably been suggested already but I haven’t heard it shouted in the streets or on the TV and radio and internet yet. How about we start a worldwide campaign, bigger than the divestesture of South Africa to stop aparthied, but this time it’s to divest Big Coal!! The message would be:” Take your money out of any stocks or mutual funds that support the mining, distribution, or burning of Coal. Reinvest in some form of Renewable Energy. Call on Congress to end Tax Breaks that use our Federal Tax Dollars to support Big Coal.”

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