Uploaded on 2 May 2o12 by bankvsamerica on youtube.
From May 6 to 9, people from across the country and world will be converging on Charlotte, North Carolina, home of Bank of America, which will be staging its annual shareholder meeting, to demand an end to practices that are bankrupting our economy and wrecking our climate.
Homeowners, students, immigrants, environmentalists, workers, women’s groups and peace activists will be standing up for justice Wednesday in the Wall Street of the South, bringing their stories, hearts and communities to the fight against Bank of America for its criminal role in home foreclosures, job loss and unemployment, corporate control of democracy and the financing of environmental degradation.
We in the NC Coalition Against Corporate Power believe in building an economy that works for all of us, while Bank of America believes in building an economy that works for the 1%. Our vision is to defeat corporate power and build a new world where everyday people have direct control over their financial institutions, their schools, their work places and their land.
Bank of America is, to name just a few grievances:
The number one forecloser of homes in the U.S.
The top funder of the U.S. coal industry.
A job killer, by letting go of nearly 100,000 workers over the past several years.
A believer in exorbitant executive compensation, paying its its top five executives more than $500 million in bonuses while the company received billions in taxpayer bailouts.
Saddling students with lifetimes of debt.
Given the tremendous response from people living in North Carolina and around the country, Charlotte city manager Curt Walton declared the BoA shareholders’ meeting to be an “extraordinary event.” (A new city ordinance was put in place to chill people’s constitutional rights to protest; grounds for arrest now include possession of permanent markers. In addition, designating an event to be “extraordinary” gives police broad powers to search backpacks, coolers and briefcases of people going about their business on the street.)
Walton’s declaration came on the eve of May 1, a day when 99 percenters across the country stood up for human rights by confronting abuses of corporate power. Rather than scaring people away, the announcement sparked interest in occupying BoA’s meeting on May 9.
“The one thing they got right is that this event will be extraordinary—extraordinarily peaceful and powerful,” said Marcella Robinson, a local resident facing foreclosure who is also the executive director of Mortgage Fraud North Carolina. “Bank of America does not need to be afraid of our magic markers or our stories.”
The degree of criminalization that is being placed on underwater homeowners, students saddled with lifetime debt and families from coal country who are battling cancer due to the pollution of their water supply caused by mountain top removal is shameful. We are in a fight for our lives, with the gap between rich and poor widening every day. The fact that Bank of America—and in this case, our local government —thought that it’s okay to abolish our constitutional right to assemble suggests the dangerous lengths that all parties will go to protect profits.
In many ways, the blatant and unconstitutional reaction from the corporations and the city is a sign that we are winning. This spring’s challenge to corporate power is qualitatively different, given not only the responses we’ve seen from Wells Fargo and Bank of America but also the surge of people who are coming to the protests because their hearts seek justice and they refuse to see their democracy bought and sold to the highest bidder. It is not fair, nor is it comfortable, for those who come to meetings in order to raise demands to be silenced, the way we saw them at the Wells Fargo shareholder meeting in San Francisco. It is not fair, nor is it comfortable, to be forcibly evicted from Occupy encampments in cities across the county, nor was it ever fair, or comfortable, for the multitudes who were egregiously beaten and mistreated by police during the Civil Rights movement, the Chicano power movement, the women’s rights movement and the LGBT movement. Peaceful communities have always come under attack when they organize to say “enough is enough.”
But the city’s declaration that the BoA protest on May 9 is an “extraordinary event” by no means takes us off course. On the contrary, the state’s opposition to our constitutional right to peaceful assembly, and its collusion with the banks toward that end, makes our resolve all the stronger. We will be here, in Charlotte, in massive numbers, unflinching in our demand for economic, racial and environmental justice. Following in the legacy of our movement sisters and brothers who have come before us, we shall not be moved.