Occupy Detroit, teaming up with the Michigan Coalition Project, “The 99% Spring” and local students, temporarily shut down Bank of America downtown Detroit main branch yesterday, May 8, 2012, with a flash mob to point out BoA’s role in the plight of students and student loan costs, homeowners and foreclosures, and BoA unfair treatment of customers on the eve of a National Day of Action by Occupy Wall Street (OWS) and a coalition of organizations at the May 9, 2012 BoA shareholders meeting in Charlotte NC and across the nation.
Amazing VIDEO posted by Occupy Detroit “Bank of America Monopoly (Home Foreclosure edition)”:
Around 50 performers/occupiers/protesters staged a “Human Monopoly” game to demonstrate and protest Bank of America’s role in a multitude of issues affecting the "99%", all listed out on the various property cards from their version on “Monopoly” board game.
From CBS affiliate WWJ:
The Michigan Coalition Project, a local offshoot of the Occupy movement, played a game of human Monopoly in the lobby of Bank of America in the Guardian Building to protest greed.From the Detroit News:
They want banks like Bank of America, which received bailout money, to work with struggling homeowners.
There was a celebrity appearance of sorts at the downtown branch of Bank of America in the Guardian Building on Tuesday, and bank officials weren't happy about it.From Detroit Fox 2 (more VIDEO):
A man dressed as top-hatted "Rich Uncle Pennybags" — the tuxedo-clad, uber-capitalist from the iconic Monopoly board game — strolled into the landmark building at about noon. "Good morning, we're here to play a game of Bank of America Monopoly," shouted Pennybags.
With that remark, about 50 Occupy Detroit members, who had been sipping coffee and working on their laptops, jumped up and formed a square, while accusing the bank of making money from taxpayers while foreclosing on their homes.
Protesters, many of whom were holding up Monopoly boards, rolled a pair of giant dice while chanting, "Bank of America, quit playing games."
The Bank of America branch temporarily shut down during the demonstration. Managers would not comment on the protest, but a spokeswoman from Chicago did send us a statement saying, "I can tell you that the well being of customers and employees is our number one concern."Detroit and the Union Guardian Trust
Protesters also plan to disrupt a shareholders' meeting for Bank of America in North Carolina on Wednesday.
As for Occupy Detroit, they plan to be back at the Guardian Building Wednesday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. for another game of human Monopoly.
History repeats itself, same stuff different Century
The Bank of America Detroit branch is housed in the “Guardian building”, the very building that was the former grandly gilded headquarters of the “Union Guardian Trust” bank which played a major role in the banking holidays declared in 1933. On February 14, 1933 after attempts by Senators Arthur Vander Berg and James Couzens, city and state officials in negations with local business leaders, like Henry Ford a depositor and board member of the bank, the then governor William Comstock declared a statewide Michigan "bank holiday." The Union Guardian Trust banking crisis then spread across the country until a newly inaugurated Franklin D. Roosevelt was forced to declare a "national banking holiday" on March 5, 1933.
In another historical event that parallels current events in the Republican Governor Rick Snyder’s appointing an emergency “Financial Review Board” and the resulting declaration of “emergency” to take over Detroit government roles and decision making, Detroit Mayor Frank Murphy presented to the US Senate Judiciary Committee on March 2, 1933 a bill to declare a “moratorium” on Detroit’s debt. The purpose of the bill stated as:
“This will give us a breathing spell. There is no repudiation involved. We ill pay one hundreds cents on the dollar. We will work it out. A creditor will eventually receive every dollar that is due to him.”
Today in Detroit, which has lost 61% of its population since 1950, and has one of the highest unemployment rates in urban America, there is simply no mathematical formula to describe just how the remaining 700,000 residents surrounded by miles of properties abandoned by companies, can pay back the $16.9 billion that the city owes. Michigan Republicans in complete control of Michigan’s State Houses and governorship are actually cutting Business Property Taxes further starving not just Detroit, but nearly every municipality in the state. The GOP end game, led by the Heritage Foundation / ALEC subsidiary in Michigan, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy appears to be the use of EM laws wresting control of first Pontiac's and now Detroit’s public assets from citizens in order to privatize those facilities and resource including the city municipal utilities, parking and lighting, and the privately donated historical Detroit Water Works, that provides some of the best quality water to over 70 cities and townships, a source of city revenues that some sources value at nearly $8 Billion.
The bottom line, as these protesters point out, is that the current crisis and Snyder and the Michigan GOP’s use of ALEC and Emergency Management legislation in Michigan, the scavenging of Detroit City properties, now spreading to others US states like Indiana and Pennsylvania, is clearly focused on insuring that banks get their money first on piles of loans and bond deals structured with swaps, and most likely infamous derivative financial “products”. Trouble is, now that Snyder’s EM team has emptied much of the documentation of Detroit’s City government records and files physically from Detroit City Hall, the public may never know what may be covered up by Michigan State Treasurer, Andy Dillon, and his team of Emergency Managers, accountants and lawyers.
Detroit and Michigan Again at the Center of American History
Facing Emergency Management and even more foreclosures Detroiters are fighting back
Detroit was ground zero of the sub-prime loans market expansion plans of banks and mortgage companies very early on, and thousands of Detroit residents have either lost their homes, or are facing or threatened by foreclosure, currently a primary activity of Occupy Detroit and a number of allied organizations like “Occupy Our Homes” and “Moratorium Now” are seeking to reverse. Together with nearly a dozen local and neighborhood groups, a growing number of homes have either been saved, or are in the process of getting foreclosure actions reversed. Home saving direct actions and organizing efforts, which include a growing number of local lawyers and legal groups, continue to expand across Detroit’s affected neighborhoods and are being looked at as a national model for anti-foreclosure action.
Note: “The 99% Spring” is not a part of the “Occupy” movement to which “Occupy Michigan”, “Occupy Detroit” and “Occupy Wall Street” are associated. The “99% Spring” however has gotten support as it staged two major demonstrations in Detroit recently starting with the GE Shareholders meeting on April 25, 2012 and the DTE Energy Shareholders meeting on May 3, 2012 in which protesters pointed out DTE not paying fair share of taxes and environmental issues. Both events were well attended and are part of a string of April and May marches, including the Occupy Detroit May Day March on May 1, 2012 and the re-launch of the “Recall Rick Snyder” petition campaign by Michigan Rising last Saturday, May 5, 2012, starting off what looks like a very busy spring and summer in Michigan.The main Protest of Bank of America in Detroit is scheduled for later today at 4:00 PM back at the Guardian Building at 500 Griswold, downtown Detroit, May 9 2012 to coincide with a National Day of Action against Bank of America.
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