Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Permanent Bank Holiday

Are you ready? Do you have any idea what I'm talking about?

I'm getting all activist today... civil unrest? Political unrest is probably closer.

I am a strong supporter for the Occupy Wall Street Movement. The most articulate and 'closest to me' statement I've seen on the matter is this blog, so if you think you are against or don't know much about it, I encourage you to give it a gander.

But there has been a lot of... an then... to it. We (meaning a lot of other people with me sitting elsewhere cheering) are sitting, standing, chanting, speaking... more importantly, GROWING, interacting... Gelling... becoming something... but there has been some doubt as to what can happen from it. Nobody in government or business seems to be hearing us. We are being willfully ignored by some as nuts, fruitcakes, hippies...

So what to do, what to do...

And then... SOME Genius—DON'T ASK ME WHO! Thought... maybe we make the statement that fits... you know... the STATEMENT.

November 5 = Bank Transfer Day

Not coincidentally, this is Guy Fawkes Day... The day he planned to blow up the King... erm... that would be the government. This symbolism is surely only intended to extend this far, as Guy was caught and imprisoned, though he leaped the tower to avoid being drawn and quartered, so even as a failed revolutionary, it was on his terms. And since they don't draw and quarter today... and the repercussions to imprisoning people for this would be political SUICIDE... (maybe THAT is the idea)

Does this look like a handful of hippies?  We are the 99%.
The Idea for US—in other words, the ACTION point? Big Banks are holding most of our money. They are LENDING our money. They are taking us for GRANTED. They are SCREWING us (man, my bum is still sore from a reaming I just got from Chase—sorry to be graphic, and I really need to stay cryptic, but let me tell you, I am DELIGHTED to do this.)

Divorce your Bank.

That simple. If you are in a US National or Global bank, LEAVE IT. Transfer your business to a small local bank or a credit union. Yes, do your due diligence that it is a secure bank, but LEAVE the behemoth for a place they will know you personally.

What would happen if 10,000 people left big banks? Probably not much. 100,000? Might get some attention. A million... now we're talking. Seriously... this might be the kind of event that would have BANKS begging CONGRESS to take us seriously.

Did you know last week: Friday, 23 people were arrested for trying to close their Citibank accounts?  Is there any way that sounds reasonable in a Democracy?

Anyway, I have my money partially in Chase and partially in my local Credit Union. Monday, I removed the direct deposit portion of my Chase account, then On October 31, I plan to close out my account (I am waiting until then because there is a delay on Direct Deposit changes and I don't want to close it, then find out my money went there, or tried to go there—big hassle.

This is PROBABLY more important for large savings, investment and credit cards... at the moment my only investment is retirement, which I plan to evaluate (I plan to switch to a much higher percentage of socially responsible) but have no ability to remove... it is TIAA-CREF—they are big, but it is the educator system, so I don't suspect they are evil... whatever the case, no option until I am 59 ½. We have canceled our credit cards ANYWAY...

I can't do a bloody thing about my mortgage... we aren't in a position to refinance or I would in a heartbeat. But I will do what I can do.

I guess I just think this is the biggest thing we could DO, but it takes time... people have bills paid automatically, direct deposit, all that... so I wanted to let you know a couple weeks BEFORE the mass effort... TRY, by November 5th to have all your money out of big banks. I believe it will help us be heard.

Other things you might do?

This holiday, avoid the worst offenders... Wherever possible, shop at locally owned stores (or smaller online retailers). Support local artists and artisans (or if you have none, shop ETSY). What surer method is there to make sure the money you spend is being re-spent in your community—that it is not corrupting Washington, or polluting the world.

It isn't always possible. Some gifts aren't MADE that way... but at the very least, avoid Wallmart.

So there... That was me being political...


M.J. Nicholls said...

A similar day of uprising was planned in the UK, but people won't close their banks if their branch is conveniently located on the High Street where they get their shopping. I will watch the Americans expectantly, you're better at large-scale protest (since there's more of you).

Old Kitty said...

Love you most NAKED political protest!!!!

Shop locally, independently, and with intelligence and consideration. Grassroots politics is a force to be reckoned with!

Take care

Not Hannah said...

Oh, excellent. We still have a little bit left at BoA, having transferred most of our business to the local credit union. I think I'd love to tell BoA to shove it on the 5th.

Jessica Bell said...

Arrested for closing their bank accounts? Seriously? LOL. The whole of Greece would be in jail if that happened here ...

Hart Johnson said...

Mark-yeah, convenience is big. Though I do so much of my banking online, regardless.

Jenny-it really is pretty exciting to see the grassroots taking off, eh?

Heather-YAY! I figured this would be your kind of thing!

Jessica-Is Greece a cash under the mattress place these days? Makes some sense.

Tonja said...

I don't know if you can really close a bank account that quickly unless you're certain all the checks have cleared. If people move the money elsewhere and leave the Bank of Evil account open until everything clears, they may get charged more for low balances. I agree to move to banks you trust, but you don't want to pay a bunch of fees if you do it in haste. Just saying...I don't like to pay fees.

I haven't heard about this effort on November 5 except from here.

Jan Morrison said...

Oh Tartlette - that is EXACTLY what I was thinking on the way home from work yesterday. We have our main mortgage with the credit union, the man has all his money there, I'm with a bigger bank and our mortgage payment comes out of there for our other house. I think you can do it even if all the monthly cheques haven't been cleared. Just inform. My biggest problem is my line of credit - my visa is paid up but I owe a bundle on that. Have to figure that out.
As to other methods, every year around this time - or in the shopping frenzy, Adbusters promotes Buy Nothing Day. A co-worker and I decided we would have buy nothing Tuesdays and did it for years. People could actually not buy holiday presents. It isn't SUCH a big deal. Don't panic everyone. You set up trading deals with other families for kids' presents, you agree to make or shop from your own home for adults you want to give to. Other than that, buy goats in 3rd world countries. There is lots to do. I haven't bought any clothes for myself this year (either new or second-hand). This is the second year I've done this and it is fantastic. We can't only blame Wall Street for this mess. Our greed to have everything WHEN we want it, is part of the problem. As to food - get on a CSA (community shared agriculture) program - we get a box every week of vegies from a local farm. It is fantastic and so helpful to the taking back the farm movement.
Wow. I'm ranting. I could go on, but thanks for inspiring me.

Mary@GigglesandGuns said...

I've been moving to mom and pop laces over the last ten years. Being treated like a person with a brain is worth a buck or two.
Keep up the inspiration, Hart.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,
Hope you are well. I'm just hopping around as many blogs as i can from the blog fest. Great blog :) I will try and stop by as much as I can. So many blogs on the list phew!!! you have a new follower.
Eve. :)

Hart Johnson said...

Tonja-it's a great point and a huge part of why I am posting this a few weeks out. If a NEW account were opened now, then a person could stop writing checks on the other, so in 2 weeks it would all be clear. My OWN stuff--I have really only ever used it to pay bills online, so I am good.

Jan-I've got a line of credit issue, too--it's related to why I am so mad at Chase, actually, so I hear you. And GREAT reminder on the Buy Nothing Day! And I love the anti-consumerism stuff.

Mary-it's so true, isn't it? At the little place, they really do treat you so much better!

Eve-welcome! I will come by and check out your blog, too!

Luanne G. Smith said...

The sentiment behind the Occupy Wall Street protests is more mainstream than anyone in congress realizes. People are fed up. The banks want to charge fees for every transaction but give me .05% interest on my money -- because millions in profit isn't enough. Grrr.

Anonymous said...

Hi hart,
you are very welcome and thank you so much for stopping by mine also....Yeah shrek the musical is funny!!
Also I have just given you an award....stop by and collect it when you have time.
Hugs eve.x

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Sadly, the Wall Street Protest is too late. It is like the passengers aboard the Titanic right before it hit the iceberg, complaining about the lack of life boats. Too little. Too late.

The bottom is about to drop out of our currency. It's not a case of IF but only of WHEN.

When Obama accepted all that Fannie Mae debt and his cure was only to print more money, the people we owe money to were not thrilled.

The World Currency Organization will sooner or later will stop using the Dollar as the Standard. Probably the Chinese currency will become the standard.

A similar thing happened to the British Pound Sterling last century. The move away from the British Pound Sterling to the US Dollar was one of the principle causes of the Great Depression of the 1930s which affected the entire world.

The Bank of England almost went under. The headlines from the London Times of that day read, "Gold Standard Suspension: Cause of the World Crisis."

When the U.S. has to generate profit to increase its dollar value, gas prices will skyrocket. Goods transported by trucks or plane will do likewise. We will quickly devolve into a country that we no longer recognize.

When the Titanic is but inches from the iceberg, it is too late to protest.

Guy Fawlkes was needed last century. Good post as always, Roland

Ciara said...

I've never liked big banks. We do use a credit union, but they've been nothing but great to us. Wow, arrested for closing an account? Geesh.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

Thank you for posting this Hart. This Christmas I will buy all local. I only wish I wasn't so dependent on Apple products.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

So time for a little V for Vendetta, huh?

Unknown said...

I have stayed small and local for years, then again it is an easy thing to do in Norway =)

Hart Johnson said...

LG-I completely agree it is far more main stream than is being recognized.

Eve-thank you so much for the award!

Roland-I agree in many ways--this US fall as 'world leader' has been coming for some time, but i think we can change the degree of fall by a little--hopefully not quite so many will drown.

Ciara-that is great to have stuck small. No guilt for you!

Michael-I think we all have stuff like that, but minimizing as much as possible is GREAT!

Alex-I don't see this so much as vendetta as justice. (late, but justice)

Siv-and you are far less inequitably distributed there, so the need isn't as critical, but small and local is still good!

erica and christy said...

Small banks and credit unions might be more prevalent where I live than in other places - no one is blinking an eyelash over this since it's the norm to bank in those places anyway. And yay! I cancelled my credit cards over four years ago. Go cash (er, broke, but hey, whatever)!