This is our follow-up to visiting Occupy Wall Street and even with all the challenges they face, they are feeling pretty bullish about their efforts. If you do a Google search of Occupy Wall Street you can see the latest media take. Click on the Occupy Wall Street link above, and find a live feed around-the-clock and interviews they are conducting on-site. The Washington Post Post Opinions asks, “Why ‘Occupy Wall Street’? By James Downie, and links you to a number different aspects relevant to the social and political issues of our time.
Although there is an element of “youthful” rebellion don’t doubt how organized and focused this movement is. Also, the support circling and participating in their occupation is much broader than you would suspect, or may be seeing in local or national coverage. We had a chance to talk with a few folks and an interesting topic of action came up – move your money from Wall Street to Main Street.
Moving not just personal dollars, but institutional dollars, is getting more and more attention as a way to affect change within local communities continuing to struggle from the economic fall-out. In January of 2010 Arianna Huffington started The Move Your Money Project, and just over a year and a half later their success story page tells some pretty compelling, and not so usual, move your money tales.
From moveyourmoneyproject.org – “Our message has not only lead to millions moving their accounts from the ‘Too Big To Fail’ banks, but has inspired local and state governments to take a stand against Wall Street in defense of main street. Recently, Massachusetts State Treasurer Steve Grossman announced a “Move Money” initiative that will allocate $100 million to go to community banks who in turn must loan money out to small local businesses. This follows the previous Treasurer who pledged to divest $243 million out of Bank of America, Citi and Wells Fargo. Also in Massachusetts, John O’Brien, head of the Southern Essex County Registry of Deeds, has asked State Treasurer Grossman to move the county’s $50 million operating budget out of Bank of America and into local community banks to protest their involvement in the recent MERS scandal that has defrauded local government of millions in mortgage transfer fees. In 2010, the city of Los Angeles passed an ordinance that ties the bank’s involvement in the community such as number of mortgage modifications and loans to small businesses to contracts for the City’s operating funds and pension programs worth up to $28 billion dollars. The Village of Hempstead in New York closed its accounts with JP Morgan Chase and New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams recently stormed a local Chase branch and closed his personal account; both actions were made to highlight the banks dismal record of home loan modifications, particularly in minority areas. Our movement has also encouraged state legislators to propose bills in New Mexico and Maryland to move state operating funds and pension accounts to local financial institutions.”
And what about that North Dakota State bank? Mother Jones reported back in 2009, How the Nation’s Only State-Owned Bank Became the Envy of Wall Street – by Josh Harkinson.
Occupy Wall Street is a radical departure from what we have seen so far as a response to our times. But the growing unrest and continued economic challenges may require some seriously radical departures from how we have lived. It appears one actionable item, moving your money from ‘Wall Street’ to ‘Main Street’, is an American Made solution worth seriously considering. Take a look at the Move Your Money Project – with a zip code search tool for locating your American community banks and credit unions.