Bank of America ATMs In San Francisco Turned Into Truth Machines

Written by Mike G

Topics: Climate, Coal, Direct Action

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RAN activists took to the streets of San Francisco last night and turned every Bank of America ATM in the city into an Automated Truth Machine.

The activists used special non-adhesive stickers designed to look exactly like BoA’s ATM interface. But instead of checking and savings accounts, these new menus offered a list of everything BoA customers’ money is being used for, including investment in coal-fired power plants, foreclosure on Americans’ homes, bankrolling of climate change, and paying for fat executive bonuses.

Here’s a handy map showing all 85 ATMs we made a little more truthful last night:

Bank of America ATM gets brandjammedThe stickers also encourage BoA customers to “Stop doing business with Bank of America until they start behaving responsibly” and have the URL to our new blog, which we’ve just launched along with The New Bottom Line:

BankruptingAmerica.tumblr.com.

We’re using that blog to track all the ways BoA is bankrupting America, hence the name. We’ve received so many submissions it’s clear to us that this website was badly needed. There are lots of grievances to be aired with regard to how Bank of America is conducting its business these days, as it turns out. (Not that that’s terribly surprising.)

Check it out, and feel free to submit if you’re so inclined.

Update: The response to this action has been so huge that we’ve made the design available as a high-res PDF. It’s available here. We ARE NOT suggesting you do anything with it.

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

  1. wef says:

    You prick.

  2. Mike Phillips says:

    So…. Where can I get a pile of these?

  3. Anonpiffy says:

    Awesome! I hope RAN makes this possible for others to do on a larger variety, but this is a great idea! I would love to see people’s faces when they go to use it. Any idea if it messes up the interface to completely disable these?

  4. plasmaborne says:

    weatheraction.com exposes the man made global warming scam. Al Gore and his pals even changed the name from “global warming” to “Climate Change”. Will we get fooled again?

  5. kat says:

    i wanna do that too! over here in georgia !!!

  6. Bill Franklin says:

    atta boy I knew 10 yrs ago these asses were running this country it’s all about the greenback keep it up

  7. Iriswaters says:

    Awesome! Hey, are they selling such stickers? Would love to buy some and do the same here.

  8. TruthMonger says:

    Sounds like another one of those protest acts whose message is valid, but whose execution is dumb as hell. (Which compromises the effectiveness of the messaging, IMO.)

    By obstructing the screen you ensure that the first person to use the ATM will peel off and discard the decal. I’m betting each affected ATM was back to normal within 10 minutes. Imagine how many customers could have seen a sticker NEXT TO or ABOVE the screen. Potentially tens of thousands! No one would bother to peel it off except bank management.

    At best this might draw some attention as a media stunt, by publishing photos and video of the affected ATMs, but it’s unlikely that more than 85 BofA customers saw the signs in person.

  9. Mike G says:

    @Anonpiffy, it doesn’t mess up the interface, it’s one of those “static cling” type of stickers, not adhesive, hence doesn’t leave gunk behind.

    @plasmaborne, global warming is global warming by any other name. the only person being fooled is anyone who believes the corporatist propaganda that climate change is not happening.

    @wef, flattery will get you nowhere.

  10. Ryan says:

    “Mike G. is an activist, writer, and musician who lives in San Francisco.”—pretty much sums up everyone involved in the OWS movement. No real business skills or work ethic who’s only motivated when something might look “cool”. Keep plugging away while the rest of us do the real work.

  11. trueyoga says:

    Impressive application of street art. Will be sure to pass this along.

  12. Marianne says:

    @Ryan- It’s sad to see that the mentality you’re expressing still exists. Artists help us see the world in new ways, yet it’s still so easy for many Americans to marginalize their contributions. Sure, not every stunt is going to be uber-effective, but at least they’re trying to raise awareness. Besides, what would you say is the “real work”? Helping companies like these continue to screw people in new and ever-clever ways? It takes courage and passion to pursue less-stable career paths like the arts. I’ll assume you don’t read books, buy art, watch movies or use the internet since endeavors like those are pioneered by people you’d define as having “no real business skills”. For some, it’s “cooler” to decry OWS activities than to honor activism as a vital part of our American heritage.

  13. mark james says:

    i am interested in buying some also

  14. Chris says:

    As a small business owner living in CT, having more work than I can handle right now and supporting the OWS movement, I would beg to differ with you, Ryan. We’re not all out-of-work folks.

    Generalizations are really inappropriate on both sides. The reason why I have empathy for the OWS movement is that personally feel like the vast majority of Americans are not well-served by the current govt and that corporations have more of a say on legislation than actual citizens.

    As a moderate/independent, we’ve seen a pretty large change in net worth and wealth distribution over the last 30 years. I am loathe to point at any one particular reason, but I’m having a hard time watching our middle class vanish and people starting to doubt whether the American Dream really pays off any more.

    I’m interested in making sure my kids (6 and 8) have a future. I want to be able to say to them – work hard and succeed.

    Living in the NYC area, it’s pretty easy to determine how much influence Wall Street has (just one set of the major corporations who have great influence in our govt).

    I don’t have a lot of time to support OWS, but I do believe it’s fantastic that our country is finally talking about the problems we face. It’s our best chance to find workable solutions.

  15. Hillary says:

    Absolutely brilliant. Love it!

    You are on the Top 10 of the blog Mission Mission right now:
    http://www.missionmission.org/2012/01/13/guerilla-activists-hack-bank-of-america-atms-all-over-san-francisco/

    @Mike- your responses are pretty danged funny too!

  16. Hillary says:

    Also- I love the inclusion of Hippy Hill on the GoogleMap. Nice touch.

  17. Lucy Lulzworth says:

    To hell with the non adhesive stickers, lets get these done with permanent adhesive!!

  18. That is just awesome!!!

  19. cmm629 says:

    Ha! – WEF must be a BoA banker (and one with no sense of humor at that).
    I think this is brilliant – can RAN do one for Wells Fargo too?

  20. Lafflin says:

    As an Iraq war veteran I would like to express my absolute disdain for Ryan and people like him who accuse activist of somehow being a detriment to society. Ryan, it’s corporate propaganda…and you are the bullhorn. Mike and OWS are the lobbiests of the people. The song you sing is the same one that that has always been there to obstruct progress at every junction…you people are corporate Manchurian candidates.

    “No real business skill or work ethic”? One, you know nothing about this guy. Two, what exactly is your great contribution to society?

    When I served my country it was not BOA that I had in mind…it was Mike.

  21. Stacey says:

    @Ryan. I have been management, I have now opened my own business and I am the 99%. You have fallen for the propaganda. The 99% doesn’t want anything you have, we want you to be able to achieve the old American dream – you know the one, it was when 1 parent worked while the other got to stay home and raise their children. That 1 person was able to buy a home, a car, vacations for the family, life insurance, and have a retirement fund. The new American dream is to be able to pay bills without shut off notices while you can eat more than once a day on just one job. Stop falling for the 1%’s line. They feed it to you in just the right way so that you won’t check on it but you will fight for their right to screw you while you thank them. You will never be the 1%. You are set up to fail until you die no matter how hard you work, all the while you are paying for vacations, toys, booze, and hookers that your sad self will never get to enjoy.

  22. Johann Ivan says:

    We need to stop Al Gore’s evil plot of convincing us of Global Warming. I want you to think for a minute some of the dire consequences to humanity if we continue to fall for Al Gore’s Global Warming Conspiracy:
    1 — Cleaner fuels
    2 — Less dependence on Oil
    3 — Cleaner environment
    4 — More decent paying jobs associated with environmental cleanup & the development of cleaner energy solutions
    5 — More investments in science and technology to support alternative energy development

    This is horrific. Al Gore is secretly trying to trick us into thinking we need to take better care of our environment and lessen our dependence on fossil fuels. Do you REALLY want a cleaner environment? Do you REALLY want to have more energy alternatives? Do you REALLY think the Saudis / Middle East would be happy with the U.S. becoming a global leader in alternative energy production?

    Al Gore must be stopped.

    And while I’m on my soapbox, I’d like to suggest we curtail government wasteful spending, starting with DARPA which – despite AT&T saying the Internet was basically worthless in the 80′s – proceeded with TAXPAYER money anyway and created this rotten thing we call Internet. Government is inefficient. Private industry knows best.

    /snark

  23. I want those stickers. Correction: I need those stickers.

  24. InL_A says:

    Brilliant!

  25. Kat says:

    Ryan, that’s a pretty sweeping generalization to make about OWS protesters, not to mention totally inaccurate. I have a college degree, pay my taxes, and have a full-time marketing job. My father is a retired Naval Commander who now holds an MBA and works as a business consulting for government agencies (and he’s a card-carrying Republican, but that shouldn’t actually matter since everyone who’s not the 1% is in the 99%, regardless of their political leanings). We both support the Occupy movement. And we’re not a minority, nor are we alone; when I went to Occupy Oakland for the first time, I met teachers, an Army Sargent and Lieutenant, college professors, Masters students, a legal aid, web engineers, nurses, business owners, a truck driver… do you want me to go on? Because I can. I don’t understand how people in the internet age can continue to be so flipping ignorant. Do your research!

  26. Angel says:

    LOVE THIS!!!! This needs to spread everywhere! Bring it to Atlanta! =)

  27. Darik says:

    Good for Us!
    Bank of America has long been an icon here is America yet always hated by many as their practices are doing just what the stckers are saying…..Bankrupting America- I love it! Let them know just how we feel, and that given a choice, we would save our own homes before the bank. When I see this happening, I am proud to be an American again. We can make change, and we will make change.

  28. Nancy says:

    I love this idea. Where can we get these, let’s put them on every BofA money machine in this nation, ASAP!

  29. mahkno says:

    for those who think this is silly or pointless or ineffective, you are missing the point. This is a classic gesture of Tactical Media. look it up.

  30. patrick says:

    Can’t say I approve of defacing private property. If you don’t like BofA’s policies, don’t bank with BofA! I will definately be scratching RAN off my list for this stoopid prank.

  31. MartinNYID says:

    Brilliant!

    Every little crack breaks the dam.

  32. Listen, Countrywide and Bank of Destroying The American Dream might have already been paid back by several for loans from unidentified investors, multiple times, and by credit default swaps and insurance. It is a potential insurance fraud! Then they want the homeowner to pay them again! The simple fact is that our loans might have been concurrently sold into multiple Trusts at the same time, which would be equivalent to selling the same car over and over to several different people using a COPY of the pink slip or Title of the car. IT IS ILLEAGAL!
    .
    Nevertheless, If there is a break in the chain of title: “An obligor is not obliged to pay the instrument if the person seeking enforcement of the instrument does not have rights of a holder in due course and the obligor proves that the instrument is a lost or stolen instrument.” – U.C.C. provision, U.C.C. §3-305(c)
    .
    These bankers attitude reminds me of that song by George Harrison named “Piggies”.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovD9rTzs2q4&feature=player_embedded
    .
    Look, I am not looking for a free house. I am looking for a free country! These banks should be held accountable by the homeowner according to the laws of our land. This is why everyone should have a Title and Securitization Search done. – http://piggybankblog.com/2011/12/30/break-in-chain-of-title/
    .
    Join me in my fight America! Because divided we might have fell! But United We Must Stand!
    .
    My name is John Wright AND I AM FIGHTING BACK!
    .
    Read John’s Daily Blog at Piggybankblog.com on how to join this fight!
    .
    John Wright
    Piggybankblog.com

  33. Mike G says:

    @Lafflin, thank you so much for your comment, and thank you a thousand times more for your service and sacrifice in the name of our country.

  34. honeybee33 says:

    @Marianne: I love you.

  35. Jackie G says:

    If anything I’m now investing more of my money into Bank of America. People need to realize that it’s only though hard work that greatness can be achieved.

  36. Benj says:

    @Ryan: You wrote {“Mike G. is an activist, writer, and musician who lives in San Francisco.”—pretty much sums up everyone involved in the OWS movement. No real business skills or work ethic who’s only motivated when something might look “cool”. Keep plugging away while the rest of us do the real work.} What is the real work, then? Auto mechanics? Bank teller? Stockbroker? Farmer? Wal-Mart greeter? Tell me you are not so shallow that you cannot appreciate what writers, musicians, and activists have brought into the world to elevate the condition of humanity? In this age of technology, are we required to break a sweat, or toil at tedious tasks? If you are happy toiling in servitude at your “real job”, that’s fine, but don’t expect everyone to be as excited as you are to plug away for the man at $14.50 an hour… and speaking of business skills, some of the most successful business are ones that market creative content, like iTunes or Amazon. Where would they be without writers or musicians? It takes all types of people, Ryan. You should caution yourself before you are again tempted to throw out blanket generalizations of disparagement.

  37. bernard says:

    good pr. time for some legislation proposals, and petitions, or are the occupiers having too much fun being clever to get things they generalize about into actual practices, that is done?

  38. Mike says:

    @Marianne: Its all fine and good to take a less stable career path as you put it if that’s your cup of tea. Be a hippie, live in a cave, do what ever you wish that’s your choice. Its an entirely different thing though to then whine that someone owes you something or that you don’t make enough money. It was your choice to get into the arts or something like that and you live with the fact you probably won’t become a millionaire from it.

  39. Benj says:

    And yes, I would like to learn more about how to obtain these stickers, too!

  40. Mark Ostrom says:

    SMILE ☺

  41. Shawna says:

    This is Ingenius!!!!!!!!!

  42. Roxy Anon says:

    I love it, lets get these on the ATMs of every greedy bank in the world.

  43. Allie says:

    Stacey, well and succinctly put. Thank you!!

  44. Justin says:

    Who gives a shit; it’s San Francisco. Do this is in Des Moines.

  45. Michelle says:

    For those of you insisting that musicians, artists and writers are not people who do “real” work…take a good look at the world around you. For instance, watch more than 10 minutes of TV and you have supported ALL THREE. Movies, magazines, books, advertisements, labels on store items…all those things require these fields and are actually demanding work. And most companies hiring for these things require A DEGREE in the fields they use. From personal experience I know that an engineer must possess at least two of these skills in order to be successful in their field and enjoy their work. The next time you drive down the road you are driving on something that took several such people to create and will require such people to maintain. Please think before you criticize these fields of work.

  46. 2Spirit Vic says:

    @Ryan- what makes you think the author does not other work in his life. I have a job and I protest as well. So I contribute and I protest…. its not that difficult

  47. DayLightFullDay says:

    @Ryan ~ did someone force you to choose the path of having a just a “real job” or did you have a choice NOT to be a creative, inspiring, fearless, expressive, compassionate artist? ….hmm, that’s what I thought.
    The ONLY difference between those who are out participating or supporting the OCCUPY MOVEMENT and those who just sit home and bitch about our government, the law, the cops, the parking tickets, etc etc….is THEY GOT BALLS!!

  48. DayLightFullDay says:

    MORE IMPORTANTLY, if you want to MAKE CHANGE IN THE GOVERNMENT you do so by HOW YOU CHOOSE TO SPEND YOUR MONEY!!
    Those BIG Corporations are BIG because we the people, made them BIG by purchasing their products. WE ARE CONSUMERS, MONEY IS STRONGER THAN OUR VOTE. You must do research on the big companies you give your money to. Find out what they are doing outside the Coca-Cola factory. Do they hurt or protect our environment? Do they support education? Do they support politicians who pass laws that favor the companies personal agenda? START SPENDING YOUR MONEY AT YOUR LOCAL SMALL PRIVATE OWNED BUSINESSES, AND LOCAL OPEN MARKETS!! SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL FARMERS ETC.etc.

    And subscribe to AlterNet.com newsletters to stay informed of all matters!

  49. RS says:

    @kat- I’m in Georgia, too, and I loooove to see these go up on ATMs around here, too! I’m not from around here, and from what I can see these people need a little responsible and mischievous mayhem.

  50. Stanley says:

    As a taxpaying small business owner, I heartily endorse this action.

    Pity I didn’t get to see it as I left Bank of America for New Resource Bank several years ago.

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