|Evil Empire Bankster: Screw you Mr. Baby!|
Consumer Reports has just published a cover story on banking fees and how you can fight back. That story follows below.
One of the most puzzling things about EM08 is the disconnect between fighting the banksters and yet supporting them.
I think I wrote about this before, but when I was in Berkeley about a year and a half ago, my daughter and I were having coffee and I noticed something. Across the street was a BoA, and a steady stream of customers were going in and out and to the ATMs.
Later, we ended up downtown, and there they were; BoA, Wells, JPMC, and Citi, all within several hundred yards of each other, in prime real estate and humming along, plundering away.
What I thought about was Berkeley's history as the historic seat of the counter culture movement, defiantly so. And like much of the crazy liberal agenda, it's not short on irony. Berkeley prides itself on keeping out big box retailers like Walmart (although Target is technically right on the north border). And yet here they are, the Evil Empire's biggest thugs, the Death Stars, destroying people's lives like a... Death Star.
And here's the rub; if this is happening in the historic capitol of the counter culture, the fight, this war, is on a much deeper level than we suspect. This is where I part ways with Occupy, because while I support their anger and certainly their broad-stroke grievances, the psychological colonization is where the battle must be won.
On day one of Occupy Berkeley, I spoke with several young, seemingly privileged, "activists" about this war I see. To say I was met with indifference is to be kind; they were too busy with the show aspects of protesting; chanting, mic checks, signs, demonstrations... one bloke went so far as to argue that my point wasn't even crucial. Then I asked him who he banked with. He answered BoA and at that point my friends who were standing off to the side just turned and laughed.
For change -- let alone a revolution -- to occur, it seems, prima facie, that the basic necessity of making sure one's own backyard is in order should be addressed apriori. If downtown Berkeley shows us anything, it's that we need a steam cleaner.
One of the things that seems to come with being young these days is a lack of context and history. In terms of divesting from the banksters I always contextualized it via the example of South Africa. Here we had a half century old system of racial oppression that the entire world condemned, and yet, South Africa didn't care. But as soon as the campaign to divest was underway that was the straw that broke the camel's back.
The truth is that consumer and commercial divesting -- deposits, loans (the way they really make money) and equities -- will arguably hurt the banksters more on the pr front. That's because banks make money in investment banking and mechanisms like interbank lending. Still, with all of the bad blood the banksters have fostered, a big move on behalf of consumers and commercial accounts would be well timed. Then there's shorting the banks, one of the weapons that has a nice sting to it. Barring interventionist moves by uncle scam, I think shorting the banksters is one of the sharpest weapons around.
Despite being the recipients of the largest welfare bailouts in history, the banksters continue to think only about themselves, as evidenced by the record profits and enormous bonuses the top execs continue to reap. The message is clear; you, the little people, exist solely for them to parasitically suck the life out of. After all, what is money if not a representation of your energy in the form of work? Taken that way and within the system we have, money is your energy.People say they’re furious at behemoth banks, for myriad reasons: lending practices that helped sink the economy, government bailouts, foreclosures, huge bonuses for CEOs, and now higher fees and tougher account requirements.