K. Mennem 7:18 a.m., May 22
Occupy, Labor Groups Advocate Mass Bank Withdrawals
The Occupy San Diego movement, despite facing constant logistical battles with the city over its chosen occupation site at Civic Center Plaza downtown, is continuing efforts toward its ultimate goal – effecting change in the country’s economic and political landscape.
Toward this end, yesterday the group continued its protests against large national banks, picketing outside Wells Fargo and Bank of America buildings downtown, with the support of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council. Dubbing the event “Withdrawal Wednesday,” Labor Council leader Lorena Gonzalez and several others closed out accounts, pledging to move their money to smaller, local institutions, including non-profit community credit unions.
Complaints against banking giants including the aforementioned, JP Morgan Chase, and others include soaring foreclosure rates coupled with inefficient foreclosure avoidance programs and the introduction of various fees on accounts that were previously promoted as “free.” The bailouts authored by the outgoing Bush administration and overseen by the incoming Obama remain a major source of animosity, inspiring the group’s popular “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out!” chant.
Nationally, the group Anonymous, which began as an online “hacktivist” group and has grown to include members of many in-person protests, has been promoting November 5 as Move Your Money Day for some time. November 5 is celebrated as Guy Fawkes Day, after the conspirator in the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Anonymous supporters are known for attending rallies wearing Fawkes masks popularized by the movie V for Vendetta.