I rarely discuss politics here, but I received three emails this morning that set off something of a syllogistic bomb inside my head, leaving me feeling like Howard Beale in Network. But I want to scream at the people who are supposedly on the "good" side.
The first was from MoveOn.org, encouraging me to close my bank account and give my business to a credit union or small bank. So I guess the tellers in those bank branches, who make about 24K at best a year, will easily find new work... exactly where? And what about the support staff for those banks- not the fat cats who make large six and seven-figure incomes, but the vast majority of the employees who make well under six figures.. and they will work... where? Many of those people have already lost jobs and more of them are being quietly relocated to India every week. Is MoveOn hiring? I certainly hope so.
Next I received an email from CaribelinQ News detailing Occupy Oakland's call for a general strike intended to shut down the City of Oakland. For the record, 1607 people were present to vote. 1484 voted in favor, 47 against, and 77 abstaining, thus passing at 92.3%.
Here is the proposal, as sent by CaribelinQ:
We as fellow occupiers of Oscar Grant Plaza propose that on Wednesday November 2, 2011, we liberate Oakland and shut down the 1%.
We propose a city wide general strike and we propose we invite all students to walk out of school. Instead of workers going to work and students going to school, the people will converge on downtown Oakland to shut down the city.
All banks and corporations should close down for the day or we will march on them.
While we are calling for a general strike, we are also calling for much more. People who organize out of their neighborhoods, schools, community organizations, affinity groups, workplaces and families are encouraged to self organize in a way that allows them to participate in shutting down the city in whatever manner they are comfortable with and capable of.
The whole world is watching Oakland. Let’s show them what is possible.
The Strike Coordinating Council will begin meeting everyday at 5pm in Oscar Grant Plaza before the daily General Assembly at 7pm. All strike participants are invited. Stay tuned for much more information and see you next Wednesday.
Hello, Occupy Oakland! Please explain how keeping kids out of school will shut down the 1% and be of benefit to the 99%? Please explain how marching on banks in Oakland (not exactly an affluent community) will help those people who live and work in that city (including those not-very-highly-paid people working in branches- Oakland is not exactly the financial hub of the Bay Area, much less anywhere else)?
Because moving your bank account and walking out of school to go sit in a park for the day is not going to make one bit of difference to the 1%. They won't hear you. They won't even care. You barely register within their field of vision and you can bet they will be going to work and their kids will be going to school that day and nothing in their world will be impacted in the least by your strike. These are two different realities and they only collide in retail establishments.You want some evidence?
Below is the content of the third email, a corporate communication from a bank sent to all of their employees today with the headline New brand boosts services for the most affluent:
[Big Bank X] is combining the [two] businesses into a newly branded boutique firm providing increased services to individuals and families with $50 million or more in assets. Known as [New Brand for the Most Affluent], a [Big Bank X] Business, the brand debuts in April 2012.
The new firm is named after the New Hampshire company that built [Big Bank X]'s iconic [noun used as commercial symbol by Big Bank X] in the 19th Century. That company was known worldwide for its ingenuity, high-quality craftsmanship, and providing a distinctive customer experience.
J__ S______, head of [New Brand for the Most Affluent}, said, "We take pride in the values on which [New Brand for the Most Affluent] was founded, and we will use the name to reflect the tailored solutions, high-touch service, and attention to detail our clients expect. We focus not only on traditional wealth planning, but also on human dimensions, such as family legacy, governance, leadership transition, family education, and risk management."
Other [New Brand for the Most Affluent] services include asset management, private banking, charitable giving, tax and estate planning, and trust and fiduciary services. Many of the group's client relationships date back several generations.
The business, which is part of Wealth, Brokerage and Retirement, has $27.5 billion in client assets and 300 team members in offices across the U.S. [New Brand for the Most Affluent] seeks to increase [Big Bank X]'s business with the 10,000 U.S. households having $50 million or more in investable assets; collectively, they hold more than $1 trillion in wealth.
Class dismissed. Now go scream out the window, and stop listening to people who only want to hand you a gun and watch you shoot yourself in the foot- they won't be there to help you after you're unemployed or competing for a job against the kid who stayed in school that day.
"If you think about the instances when great fortunes are realized, frequently [Big Bank X]'s is at the table advising business owners," said D____ C_____, head of Wealth, Brokerage and Retirement. "Many of these households have relationships with Wholesale, Business Banking, or the Community Bank, and we look forward to working with our business partners across [Big Bank X] to explore how we might better serve those customers."
Wake up. This is not how to do this.