On Up with Chris Hayes, he showed a video that truly must be seen to be believed. After a Occupy Wall Street solidarity march in Santa Cruz, California, protesters decided to put their money where their mouths were literally, and close their personal accounts at the local branch of Bank of America. You know, the bank that received $138 billion in bailout funds, paid no federal taxes, claimed a $3 billion profit in 2010 and awarded its CEO a $9.05 million bonus but is hard up enough for cash that they now *must* charge anyone with an account below $6,000 a $5/month charge for the privilege of having an ATM card. But holding a sign reading "I AM CLOSING MY BOA ACCOUNT TODAY" is enough to dictate that a person -- despite having money deposited with the bank -- is not a customer and cannot be allowed to close the account.
The bank manager actually said that: You cannot be a protester and a customer at the same time. She then locked in the protesters and threatened to call the police.
This goes hand in hand with the video, also from this weekend, of a Citibank customer in New York arrested for attempting to close her account. She was accused of being disruptive in the bank, but as you can see from the video (and really, isn't it about time that the Power That Be figure out that we all have video capabilities on our phones and their say-so won't fly in the face of digital evidence?), the woman was manhandled and arrested on the public street.
It is now apparently illegal to want to have possession of your own money if you disagree with banking companies.
As Sam Seder points out, they can arrest us, they can fight us, but the movement is growing. Occupy the Boardroom is an online action we can all participate in. Here is a letter that a C&L fan wrote (reprinted with permission):
My parents, Randal Duane and Frances Marie, have worked hard their entire lives to care for my brother and I and to build a life. They own a modest house and two modest cars and have a minor savings account that they had hoped to grow a little more now that they are in their mid-fifties.
Frances lost her job over two years ago in customer service at a national carpet manufacturer because of cut backs related to the depressed housing market.
Randal lost his job a year ago as a manager of an branch of a company that provided temporary workers for construction and local city and county government.
They made modest salaries and never benefited from the boom times. They literally saved their pennies to pay off their home and their cars early and to help my grandmother pay for her medications.
Now they spend nearly $2000 a month out of their 30-year-old Bank of America accounts to maintain their COBRA insurance. The savings they worked for over 40 years falls away moment by moment. They seek out cheaper and cheaper foods, clean their devalued home over and over as "entertainment" because they can't afford the gas to go anywhere.
My father is applying for progressively more degrading jobs in the hopes of keeping at least their current austere life. So far he's been virtually ignored because the few available jobs (even at the lowest level) are being given to the younger and equally overqualified applicants.
My parents paid for your inflated salaries, they paid for your speculation, they paid for your bail out, and now they are paying for you to sit on a trillion dollars with their short future. A future that they sweated and saved for now looks like it will be a series of cheap bulk hamburger meat dinners, punctuated by window washing and heat waves with no air conditioning.
They are the 99% I protest for.
David Neiwert recorded the entire Santa Cruz exchange:
Chris Hayes also welcomed a larger discussion panel on the BofA arrests and the Occupy Wall Street movement, the echoes of MLK's calls for non-violent protest and how in a post-post-9/11 world (whatever that means) the right to peaceably assemble has been inverted to being given permission instead of having the right. Really, what other Sunday show will you get this kind of examination? Kudos to Hayes and his producers for showing something none of the news shows wanted you to see.: