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Occupy Hartford: Bank Transfer Day

By Kerri Provost

November 03, 2011

Some activists will be using November 5th as an opportunity to loudly and visibly protest Bank of America, but those behind Bank Transfer Day want less talk, more action.

Bank Transfer Day organizers write:

"no actions scheduled at banking institutions are organized or condoned by this movement or its organizer. Please close your accounts in the manner they were opened: independently, with respect, without signage"

In Hartford, activists will begin marching at 10 on Saturday morning from the Occupy Hartford site to several Bank of America locations. In a press release, Rebecca Burton from Occupy Hartford, states,

"Bank of America has refused to use the money taxpayers ‘loaned’ them to help small businesses and homeowners here in Connecticut. We think that’s wrong, and we hope our protest against this bank’s selfish policies will help in the nationwide campaign to get everybody to move their money out of Bank of America–and the other ‘too big to fail’ banks."

Occupy Hartford says that this is a “solidarity action,” and that Occupy Wall Street and offshoot Occupy groups endorse Bank Transfer Day.

But, Bank Transfer Day organizers do not return the endorsement. Another recent update from Bank Transfer Day criticizes MoveOn.org for misrepresenting the action:

"Instead of focusing purely on the cause, MoveOn.org has focused on falsely tying the Bank Transfer Day movement with Occupy Wall Street. Bank Transfer Day aims to promote growth within our communities by shifting our funds from corporate for-profit banking institutions directly to not-for-profit credit unions. Bank Transfer Day is not a politically-aligned movement, and any attempt at co-opting the Bank Transfer Day risks severely jeopardizing the community-focused aims of this event as a whole. Bank Transfer Day is not an event for a specific ideology, it is a driving force in moving everyone, regardless of political affiliation, to support their communities, fellow employees, and the American economy. "

The purpose of Bank Transfer Day has been stated not as a protest against corporate bailouts, but as a protest against the practice of charging fees for those unable to maintain a large bank account balance. With the threat of debit card fees now removed, some have lost interest in changing banks. Bank Transfer Day organizers say “this consumer action was inspired not from the fee itself, but the principle behind it. When a company chooses to target a section of the population it views as weak, it’s our duty as citizens to stand up in solidarity.”

The reasons given for Occupy Hartford’s march on Saturday expand on those given for Bank Transfer Day.

Over 72,000 people have promised to transfer their money from major banks to credit unions or local banks.

In Hartford, the march on Saturday is being planned as family-friendly and law-abiding, but “civil disobedience” is also part of the plan, according to Occupy Hartford’s event on Facebook:

Whether or not civil disobedience occurs will be determined tonight during a 5:30 meeting at Turning Point Park; those wishing to engage in civil disobedience are told that their attendance of tonight’s meeting is required.

Reprinted with permission of Kerri Provost, author of the blog RealHartford. To view other stories on this topic, search RealHartford at http://www.realhartford.org/.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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