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Abolish Apartheid
Lenny Flank comments in my last post, regarding pressuring cities to divest their assets from the too-big-to-fail banks:
reminiscient of the ole "divest from South Africa"

movement.  For those of us who might be too young to remember that, the "divest from South Africa" movement sought to remove the white-supremacist apartheid regime in South Africa by crippling its economy, and the way we did that was to pressure everyone from companies and businesses to government bodies to remove ALL of their investments in anything connected to the South African economy (extending even to musical acts refusing to play gigs at the Sun City Resort in South Africa.)

We can do the same thing. We can ask--and then "encourage" as necessary--businesses and local/state governments to divest from the big banks, by moving their funds to locally-based credit unions.  If you think the big banks were hurt by all of us individuals "moving our money", just wait till they see city councils and local businesses doing the same.

There is certainly movement in this direction. There are churches:

In October of this year, after hearing story upon story of foreclosures in his parish, Samaniego translated his compassion into action. He brought the issue to members of the parish’s financial committee, and together they decided to take a stand against large banks. Samaniego announced the divestment of the parish and its school’s accounts, amounting to $3 million, from Bank of America. The money was deposited in a local credit union.

The move came as part of a grass roots, inter-faith community effort in the Bay Area to pressure banks to change their loan modification policies and do more to keep families in their homes.

“We are putting our funds into an institution that we would be proud to be served by,” Samaniego said. “[The divestment] is in solidarity with those who have already suffered the loss of their homes and those who are in danger of losing their homes because of … practices that the banks have found to nickel and dime us to death.”

More churches:

Yesterday, LA Voice, the coalition of clergy leaders representing 30,000 people from churches, synagogues, and mosques in California pledged to move $2 million and end a collective 200 years of business with Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

There are law firms:

Recently, Do has taken steps to transfer $200,000 from her law firm’s two investment accounts at Bank of America to a credit union. She closed one account in October, and has scheduled the other account to transfer next February.

“I believe it is the only power we have left,” Do said. “The government is not looking out for our interests. Many nonprofits try to help, but to no avail. The only recourse we have left is to decide if we want to bank with [a particular bank].

Small businesses:

1) What's your name, what city do you live in and what's your business? How long have you had a business in this community?

My name is David Meinert from Seattle, Washington. I own several small businesses - Big Mario's New York Pizza, The 5 Point Cafe, Onto Entertainment, The Capitol Hill Block Party, and Fuzed Travel.  I've owned small businesses in Seattle since the mid 90s.

2) Where are you moving your money from and why?

I'm moving my money from Chase and Bank of America to Seattle Bank for several reasons.

First and foremost because I am sick of the way banks are influencing American politics and crafting rules and legislation that benefits their profits while risking my money and the American economy.  I am sick of hearing about their corrupt practices, from laundering money from Mexican drug cartels, to discriminatory lending practices.  

I also want to know that my money is being used to help local small businesses, and Chase and Bank of America are hoarding their profits instead of reinvesting into the local economy.

Millionaires:

A prominent member of Silicon Valley's exclusive "1 percent" club is pulling his money out of Bank of America and cutting all ties with the bank -- and he hopes others will follow his lead.

Mike Fox Sr., a beer magnate and well-known philanthropist, is set to announce Friday that he is divesting his long-held personal Bank of America account, which contains several hundred thousand dollars, in an effort to promote social and economic justice.

Fox said Thursday that he has also asked his executive team to move a $4 million-plus line of credit held by M.E. Fox & Co. from Bank of America to another institution. Fox's firm is a 46-year-old wholesale distributor of beer, water, New Age beverages and Red Bull energy drink.

The Big Banks got us in this mess, and they're doing everything possible to make sure we don't pull out of it:

Boettcher said that in the last few years he has applied for loans from dozens of banks he's done business with in the past in hopes of opening three more restaurants. With real estate values depressed, he said it's a great time to buy closed restaurants on the cheap. Real estate has plummeted in value, so he can buy up bankrupt places for cheap and turn them around.

But the big banks didn't look twice at his loan documents before turning him down, said Boettcher, who has never managed a restaurant that failed.

"The smaller banks are the only ones who will even entertain the idea," said Boettcher, a slim man with Clark Kent-style glasses and a graying soul patch.

The numbers are clear—the Big Banks aren't funding small businesses.

Move your money to institutions that will invest in your community—credit unions and non-profit community banks. Then pressure your city, non-profits you work for, businesses you have influence over, to follow suit.

Originally posted to kos on Thu Nov 17, 2011 at 01:33 PM PST.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement and Daily Kos.

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