F The Banks: New York begins campaign of "Move-Ins" and flash occupations at Bank of America branches
A new project that has grown out of Occupy Wall Street has called for a series of actions and occupations at Bank of America locations this Spring and Summer. F (foreclose) The Banks has set March 15, April 15, and May 15 as national days of actions, recommending that participants "bring a chair, a bed, a potted plant" and "get ready to move in."
To promote the days of action, a half dozen people set up a living room in a Bank of America branch in lower Manhattan on Saturday morning, as another participant distracted the security guard. "We set up a living room, since Bank of America steals homes, we built one," says participant George Machado.
Machado, born and raised in Harlem, had been living in Zuccotti Park before the eviction and helped organize Saturday's action. "We want this to happen in Bank of America branches all over the country," he told me. "In 2008, people said 'let the experts handle it so you don't have to think about it.' This time we are saying 'no, we know whats going on. We want this bank to fail and we want something different!'"
The action lasted fifteen minutes and required no arrests, George says. "We wanted to make it accessible and simple, so other folks feel empowered to get together with their friends and move a bunch of furniture into a Bank of America branch."
F The Banks is a campaign that grew out of Occupy Wall Street that aims to bring down Bank of America. "This spring, the 99% is taking on Bank of America," reads the call to action on their website. "For too long they’ve preyed on us — but now, we’re turning the tables."
Since Bank of America is on the verge of bankruptcy already, the campaign has set out to give it, say, a friendly push. They cite Matt Taibbi's recent address to Occupy Wall Street, Bank of America is a "raging hurricane of theft and fraud":
"This bank has systematically defrauded almost everyone with whom it has a significant business relationship, cheating investors, insurers, homeowners, shareholders, depositors, and the state. It is a giant, raging hurricane of theft and fraud, spinning its way through America and leaving a massive trail of wiped-out retirees and foreclosed-upon families in its wake."
George says the group understands that the collapse of the bank could cause short-term hardship for some, but says it has already created both short and long-term hardship for far more. "Instead of letting the bank foreclose on us, we’re going to foreclose on the bank," their call continues. "It time to break up the bank and create real alternatives."
George says many more actions are coming as the campaign unfolds and spreads around the country.