Mourning Democracy, Coalition Vows Spring Of Resistance To Bank Of America

Written by Todd Zimmer

Topics: Action, Climate, Finance

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Bank of America’s policies are killing our country. At every crime scene, we find the same corporate fingerprints. At the site of a foreclosure where a family has suddenly become homeless, we find Bank of America’s fingerprints. At the mountaintop removal mine site, where an Appalachian community has been permanently destroyed, we find Bank of America’s fingerprints. And on the bank statements of a student crushed by debt, simply because she chose to pursue an education, we find Bank of America’s fingerprints.

So today RAN activists in Charlotte, North Carolina joined a broad coalition of economic and social justice organizations in a pledge of resistance to Bank of America’s reckless profit seeking. The event, organized by RAN, the Pushback Network, Occupy Charlotte, and a plethora of local labor and community organizations, began with a “funeral for democracy” marking the 2-year anniversary of the Citizens United supreme court decision, which has drowned American democracy in a flood of corporate cash. Activists processed to the base of Bank of America‘s corporate headquarters bearing coffins for democracy, dignity, equality, and the environment.

Funeral for Democracy Charlotte, NC

Funeral for Democracy Charlotte, NC

Funeral for Democracy Charlotte, NC
Photos by John Duffy. View more on Flickr.

We issued a set of demands, which you can read below, and announced plans to mobilize thousands of activists in a week of direct action resistance around Bank of America’s May shareholder meeting, which is to take place in Charlotte. Brigid Flaherty, Pushback Network Director, issued this call to action at today’s event:

This May, we’re going to take this city over.

We invite you to join us now and in the months leading up to May in what we’re calling the Spring of Discontent. Imagine that large, unaccountable corporations who violate basic democratic principles of fairness and decency are on the defensive this spring in the lead-up to their high-profile shareholder meetings. Envision a Spring of Discontent with hundreds of thousand of people from across the country occupying the headquarters and shareholder meetings of corporations representing the worst of the worst…

This spring, Charlotte, the state, the South and the nation will be part of that wave as we organize a week of large-scale actions to deliver a clear message to Bank of America — pay your fair share, get your money out of our democracy, invest in American jobs that protect workers and support families, and stop funding climate change.

The coalition closed the event by sending a delegation of activists into Bank of America in an attempt to deliver their demands directly to Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan. They were intercepted by a private security guard who refused to deliver the coalition’s letter to Moynihan or admit the delegation to the building. Vowing to deliver those demands to Bank of America through months of hard-hitting direct action, the coalition members retorted with a chant: “BoA gonna’ pay in May!”

Stay tuned for more updates from RAN’s ongoing coalition work in North Carolina.

Here is the list of demands BoA refused to even read:

WE DEMAND THAT BANK OF AMERICA:

Keep People in their Homes.

Bank of America’s risky and predatory behavior contributed substantially to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Bank of America is responsible for policies that put millions of American families at risk of losing their homes, create insurmountable student loan debt, and cost millions of Americans their jobs. We demand that Bank of America pay for the crisis it created by:

  • Forgiving student debt.
  • Imposing an immediate moratorium on foreclosures and reducing principle for underwater mortgages.
  • Ceasing manipulative and racist policies directed at their customers, including arbitrary fees and predatory lending.

Pay its Fair Share.

Bank of America should pay its fair share and stop depriving our state and federal governments of revenue. After shirking state taxes for three years, Bank of America owes a debt to the people of North Carolina. We demand that Bank of America submit to regulation and invest in our communities by:

  • Paying the statutorily required 35% corporate income tax instead of gaming the system through off-shore tax shelters, loopholes, and scams.
  • Ceasing lobbying against necessary and reasonable financial regulation.
  • Redirecting lobbying dollars and executive bonuses into programs that support American communities.

Fund the Future — Not Coal.

Bank of America is the largest funder of dirty coal energy projects in the United States, contributing to a human health epidemic and spurring climate change. While air pollution causes respiratory and heart disease, killing an estimated 3,000 North Carolinians alone each year, Bank of America’s coal funding keeps our state dependent on the dirtiest energy source of all. Additionally, mountaintop removal destroys Appalachian communities, and dirty energy disproportionately affects low-income communities of color. We demand that Bank of America help to solve the climate crisis by:

  • Ceasing funding for dirty coal energy projects that drive climate change.
  • Prioritizing funding of renewable energy projects.
  • Revitalizing our economy through investment in green job creation.

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