INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2012: A CALL FOR ACTION
- Date: Thursday, March 8, 2012
- Time: 12:00pm until 4:30pm
- Location: Downtown Portland, OR (specific details on location soon to be announced)
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INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
- A call to rise up in solidarity with Women Occupy.
Day of Action Details:
Does the 1% have any idea what reality is like for everyday Americans whose homes are being foreclosed on, whose lives are uprooted by economic injustice? Let’s ask CEOs and big bankers to “walk in our shoes” and visualize the hardship so many of us are facing in the US right now. By lining up pairs of shoes tagged with identities of people, like “Becky, 46, single mother of three, teacher, FORECLOSED HOME” you can invite passersby to put themselves in the shoes of someone facing economic crisis.
- Gather/buy shoes — men’s, women’s and children’s shoes — from local thrift stores or do a used shoe drive from your neighbors, friends and family. Decide on a drop-off location, like your front doorstep, an office, a community center, or a café, and send out an email to your community inviting them to donate shoes. You can gather a few pairs of shoes to represent a single family whose home has been foreclosed on, or lots of shoes to indicate a large number of foreclosures in your community. Be sure to have pairs of shoes and tie or rubber band them together.
- Put names on the shoes --- Get shoe tags from your local office supply store. Shipping tags, 4 3/4″ x 2 3/8″ work well. If you have names of people who have had their homes foreclosed on by Bank of America, write them on the tags, preferably with their permission. Or you can write “Child/foreclosed,” “Single mother/foreclosed,” “Father of 3/foreclosed,” “Grandmother/daycare worker/foreclosed” etc.
- Make a sign or banner – suggested slogans:
Walk in our shoes B of A!
Women Occupy Bank of America
Justice for the 99%
Break Up Bank of America!
Bust Up Bank of America!
Women say: Stop Foreclosures!
Women say: No Evictions!
- Create display in front of Bank of America -- Line up shoes with tags in a clearly visible area in front of Bank of America. Peacefully gather together in solidarity with Women all around the globe with our signs, banners, and good spirits.
- Chants for the day of action--
TO B OF A:
TO B OF A:
TO B OF A:
STOP FUNDING COAL
HEY, HEY, B OF A
HOW MANY HOMES DID YOU FORECLOSE ON TODAY?
- Take me out of the big banks song--
(To the tune of “Take Me Out To The Ball Game”)
Take me out of the big banks
Take me out of their game
The credit union will get my dough
I’ll cut up my credit cards, pay as I go
And it’s root, root, root for the small banks
Give them our business and thanks
And its 1,2,3 million more and we’ll close big banks
Let’s go occupy Wall Street
In every city and town
We’ll occupy houses the banks foreclosed
Make sure that no one’s left out in the cold
And it’s root, root, root for the new world
We’re building right here today
And its 1,2,3 billion more ! It’s a new ball game.
- This International Women’s Day, Women Occupy have called for people across the globe to rise up against the big banks that have caused the current economic crisis.
Since its inception in the early twentieth century, International Women’s Day has been rooted in the struggle for economic justice, growing out of local demonstrations by women workers demanding shorter hours, better pay, voting rights, and an end to discrimination.
In the United States, Women Occupy will join in the collective effort of the Occupy movement to hold Bank of America accountable for predatory and irresponsible economic policies that are destroying our families and communities.
- Why Target Bank of America?
- Foreclosure Leader
As of June 2010, Bank of America had $88 billion worth of foreclosed homes in its portfolio — more than any other mortgage servicer in the country. In order to please investors they even started kicking people out of homes faster than other banks, instead of working with them to refinance or restructure their mortgages. Despite having higher average credit scores than men, women are more likely to receive subprime mortgages that leave them vulnerable to home foreclosure.
- Poisoning Communities
Over the past 2 years, Bank of America has invested over $4.3 billion (more than any other bank) in the coal industry, one of the biggest threats to public health and climate stability.
- Subprime Lending
Bank of America had a hand in the worst of the subprime lending excesses, providing financing to four of the five largest subprime lenders during the years prior to the crash. Together, these firms issued over $320 billion in subprime loans from 2005 through 2007, a disproportionate number of which went to women who would have qualified for traditional loans with far lower costs.
- Predatory Lending
Bank of America subsidiary Countrywide Financial was investigated by the FBI, the U.S. Justice Department, and multiple state attorneys general in 2008 for predatory lending and securities fraud. BoA was eventually forced to pay $355 million to settle charges that Countrywide assessed higher fees and interest rates to African American and Hispanic borrowers.
- Mass Layoffs
Bank of America announced up to 69,000 job cuts between 2004 and 2008. In early September 2011, Bank of America announced plans to eliminate another 30,000 jobs, more than 10 percent of its current workforce.
- Executive Bonuses
Over the last ten years, the top 5 execs at BoA have been awarded $518.8 million in bonuses and compensation. CEO Brian Moynihan received a $9.05 million bonus in 2010. For his role driving the country’s economic recession, former CEO Ken Lewis awarded himself a $63 million retirement plan when he stepped down in September 2009, in addition to the $63 million he scored during the three years before his departure.
- Pillaging Customers
In 2012, despite massive public outrage, Bank of America began charging a $5 debit usage fee for customers with less than a $5,000 balance and no mortgage with the bank. B of A was the first large bank to confirm it would charge this fee, which is the highest in current discourse among the banks. Bank of America, who already had some of the highest fees among banks, was recently charged with colluding with the two major credit card companies, Visa and MasterCard, to keep ATM fees high. In a letter protesting the fee, which disproportionately impacts poorer clients, Consumers Union wrote: “Consumers should not be required to pay a costly fee that appears to be arbitrary and designed to generate income to make up for Bank of America’s bad business decisions rather than covering the costs of providing debit card services.” (This was stopped by the leadership of one young woman in action.)
- Violating the First Amendment
A local Bank of America branch refused to allow two Occupy Santa Cruz protesters to close their accounts, threatening to call the police if the women didn’t leave. Bank of America currently charges a fee for closing an account, which prompted Rep. Brad Miller (D-North Carolina), who resides in Bank of America’s headquarters state, to introduce a bill to protect customers from such fees.
- Taking Advantage of the Military
B of A is the official bank of the US military and has branches by or on many bases, which allows them to entice military personnel to take out loans at usurious rates. Personal loans made to soldiers for a few thousand dollars can actually keep them indebted for the rest of their lives. Last May, Bank of America paid $22 million to settle charges of improperly foreclosing on active-duty troops.
- Too Big To Exist
Bank of America is officially rated the biggest, scariest bank. It holds assets equal to roughly one-seventh of the country’s gross domestic product, making it too large and complex to manage or regulate properly. When the bank’s poor financial condition prompted a fall in stock causing huge fear among investors, Warren Buffett scooped up a $5 billion preferred stock deal, effectively betting that the government won’t let this big bank go bust.
- Fraud Lawsuit Settlements
Bank of America leads the big bank fraud lawsuit settlement tally. So far, it has racked up the largest settlement, $8.5 billion in June, to settle claims related to $100 billion worth of Countrywide-spun mortgage securities backed by faulty loans. B of A is also being sued by state and federal regulators for questionable foreclosure practices and a union benefits plan for hiding foreclosure problems that impacted its share price.
- Bail Outs
To date, B of A has received over $1 trillion in federal assistance. In terms of overall federal subsidies received in the bailout (including TARP), Bank of America was second only to Citigroup ($230 billion compared to $415 billion).
- Tax Evasion
Despite being propped up by the government, B of A paid no federal taxes for 2010 or 2009 by making use of its posted pre-tax loss of $5.4 billion. Meanwhile, it actually cited a tax benefit of $1 billion.
We demand Bank of America:
- Break up into smaller, safer pieces that won’t take America down with them if they fail.
- Invest in the planet and stop funding coal projects that are polluting our communities and ruining the climate.
- Pay the statutorily required 35% corporate income tax instead of draining the government of revenue through off-shore tax shelters, loopholes, and scams.
- Stabilize the housing market and revitalize the economy: reduce principal for all underwater homeowners to current market value. This would end the foreclosure crisis, reset the housing market, pump billions of dollars back into the economy, and create 1 million jobs a year.
- Invest in small businesses, the main source of jobs in the U.S.
- THIS IS A NONVIOLENT DIRECT ACTION.
In solidarity with Women Occupy http://www.womenoccupy.org/
See also: Conversations on the International Women's Day 2012 3 8 12