Unfortunately for Bank of America, their offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles just happened to be located exactly where hundreds of protesters were marching to protest the sort of thievery that caused the economic collapse of 2008. In San Francisco more than 100 were arrested while nervous bank employees looked for an escape route. The bank was “seized” according to the Los Angeles Times:
“Protesters in the Occupy Wall Street movement seized a Bank of America branch in the city's financial district Wednesday, a demonstration that forced jittery customers and employees to flee and ended in nearly 100 arrests.”
The Mother Jones account:
In Los Angeles, last count was 23 arrested while blocking traffic, pitching tents to be exact. The identity of those arrested has not yet been released. (Updated count 72. See LAPD Press Release).
A lot of this activity, indeed the Occupation Movement in general, is fueled by daily news accounts of the practices that banks devise to shake down their customers. For example, today we were treated to a story that explains how the Big Banks chisel the benefits of the unemployed by tacking on fees with the help of state and local government.
“In California, the state government is receiving $8 million dollars in kickbacks from Bank of America for providing the bank with this cash cow.”
“The fact that the states are going along with the banks on this is just gruesome.”
“This scandal underscores the importance of the Occupy Wall Street movement— clearly, government is putting big banks above its constituents. It’s time for us to change that kind of cozy and corrupt relationship.”
When it was reported that the City of Los Angeles was on the hook for $58 million if it moved its accounts, it provided us with a typical example of the sort of arrangements with government entities that banks use for political leverage. When the state and local government become debtors, they also give up some of their control over the levers of power.
The banks have gladly accepted these gifts, and so we see cozy arrangements that ultimately disenfranchise those that have only their votes to affect meaningful change. In other words, they have no power whatsoever versus institutions that not only wield vast sums of money, but also political power in the form of deals that give them partial control of the political dialog. Lobbyists call the shots. They own you and your government.
But after a long day of protests, and as long as Occupy Los Angeles and San Francisco have shown the way to their door, these observations will conclude with some B of A customers offering their own:
“We ask for investigative action, and support all concurrent efforts by Treasury and Justice to hold accountable those parties responsible for the massive losses incurred by their procedures and practices. Specifically those practices that used artificial valuation or false pretenses to profit from the losses they intended to incur on depositors or investors, those that entrusted their money with them or their institutions.”