As part of a “Spring Preview” back in late February, about fifty protesters stood in the rain during a teach-in at Bryant Park to hear Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi explain that if enough people pulled their money from Bank of America and stock prices dipped for more than a month, the bank would be “kaput.” (In classic Taibbi fashion, he also compared BoA selling bad mortgages to a dealer selling oregano as weed).
Taibbi’s lesson and companion Rolling Stone features about how Bank of America is able to currently exist only because of taxpayer bailout money ($45 billion in the initial bailout, plus trillions in emergency loans from the Federal Reserve), despite BoA being an admitted felon, resonated strongly with Occupy Wall Street activists.
It’s fairly impossible to speak with OWS activists without hearing Taibbi jargon about “vampire squids” or “raging hurricanes of theft and fraud,” so it makes sense that soon after his class at the spring preview, Occupy once again is making a major push to hold BoA accountable for its terrible behavior.
Alternet’s Sarah Jaffe today posted an article about Occupy’s future plans to protest the bank, ranging from direct actions to Move Your Money efforts, all of which will focus on the need to break up Bank of America.
April 13 will be the “move your money relay,” entailing escorting people from Bank of America branches, where they’ll close their accounts, to community banks and local credit unions.
OWS activist Nelini Stamp told Alternet, “We want to make sure that people feel like that is a direct action unto itself. It’s not just ‘I’m just moving my money from here,’ but actually people are feeling empowered and knowledgeable about the choices that they’re making when they’re making their banking decisions.”
The week of April 16 will feature Occupy activists attempting to disrupt home foreclosure auctions.
In New York, Organizing for Occupation has been doing blockades at foreclosure auctions, Stamp said, disrupting the process of selling off homes. The week of April 16, there will be more auctions in the city, and Occupy activists plan to target homes specifically being foreclosed upon by Bank of America and Countrywide, calling attention to the fact that foreclosures are more than numbers on a balance sheet—that each one represents a person, a family, being put out on the street. “We want to highlight that banks steal homes,” Stamp said.
Meanwhile, Occupy encourages other activists to continue the process of “living-rooming” their locals Bank of America branches, meaning moving furniture into the banks and explaining to employees that the activists are renting out the place in exchange for the $230 billion in bailouts.
The “F*The Banks” website is an OWS project run by a “feisty group of Occupy Wall Street activists and members of the The Other 98% who are tired of Big Money speaking louder than our voices and votes.”
The group states, “Last Fall, Occupy Wall Street made it impossible to ignore the concentrated wealth and widespread poverty created by the global financial system. This Spring, Occupy Wall Street is targeting one of this system’s major institutions, Bank of America. Bank of America is a giant, raging hurricane of theft and fraud, spinning its way through American and leaving a massive trail of destitute retirees and foreclosed-upon families in its wake.”
Additionally, the site provides an activist kit, complete with stickers, Occupy tape, flyers and posters for fledgling protesters, and also provides educational material, including (of course) links to Taibbi’s articles, detailing the corruption and theft that have become the foundation of BoA.