On March 26, US Uncut has protests planned across the country in almost forty different cities, including cosmopolitan hotspots like New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and also smaller rural areas in Ohio, Pennsylvania and upstate New York.
Though many Uncut chapters still appear to remain focused on Bank of America, some franchises have set their sights on other banks, such as Uncut Wisconsin, which has made M&I Bank its local target.
Many Wisconsin citizens are pulling their money out of M&I following the revelation that the bank has been helping Governor Scott Walker in his crusade against public employees. In fact, the bundled contributions from M&I executives were Walker’s second-largest source of campaign funds.
The same executives who were stuffing Walker’s coffers with cash in order to help him fight union’s rights to collectively bargain are the cretins running “one of the most conspicuous dumping sites for toxic financial waste in the country.” Bloomberg News quoted one former regulator saying M&I’s nonperforming loan figures were “off the charts.”
Still, other chapters will remain fixated upon Uncut’s original target: Bank of America. For Seattle’s Karen Pooley, this is a personal battle. “I am fighting BOA in court. They are illegally trying to take my home. There isn’t a clear chain of title for them to do so, as they were never given proper authority in assignments to foreclose,” she says.
Pooley is especially upset with Bank of America’s use of robo-signing, the unethical practice whereby extremely unqualified “robo signers” verified mortgage foreclosures when notaries and other supposed witnesses were not present to monitor the procedure. She finds it incredibly frustrating that Bank of America first engaged in risky behavior, then came crawling to taxpayers for a bailout when their scheme backfired (but only after they raked in billions), and then turned around and started evicting people illegally, all while benefiting enormously from a rigged tax system. “I am one angry taxpayer,” says Pooley, “And not one bank executive has gone to prison…. this makes me angrier than these assholes not paying their taxes. I want execs to go to jail.”
Angelo Mozilo, the former chairman of the board and chief executive officer at Countrywide Financial (now Bank of America Home Loans), also inspires a sense of loathing in Pooley. “[He] took a plea and paid $67 million!” (Mozilo also agreed to a lifetime ban on serving as an officer or director of any public company.) “If this is not an admission of guilt, I am a unicorn.”
It’s the two-tier justice system that really outrages her. She sees hard-working Americans like herself losing their homes in a rigged game while ludicrously wealthy executives, who are the ones engaged in the real risky business, walk away from their fiery trainwrecks with golden parachutes. “There are two Americas,” she says, “and this is not okay.”
For the full list of US Uncut March 26 day of action locations, visit usuncut.org.