Today is Bank Transfer Day, as Goldy mentioned earlier, featuring withdrawls from financial giants, new accounts at credit unions, and protesters blocking downtown traffic. The fun kicked off in Seattle this morning with city council member Mike O'Brien joining Verity Credit Union in Wallingford. He deployed the rallying cry that big banks are "making life difficult for customers while reaping record profits."
By early afternoon, a couple hundred protesters had gathered outside the Bank of America branch in Weslake Park while folks walked in and closed their accounts. While some of the protests in the past couple weeks have been mired in self-reflection and internal politics, today's demonstrations attracted lots of TV cameras catching the totally-on-point, completely-comprehensible message. (Mainstream media has lots of reports today on Bank Transfer Day and teach-ins here, here, here, here, here, and here.) This photo doesn't quite show it, but the crowd was roughly half folks with silver hair:
- Bank Transfer Day: There are 650,000 Americans transferring their bank accounts to local banks or credit unions, according to Seattle City Council member Mike O'Brien.
Then the crowd marched to credit unions to deposit their money! (Or so I was told. I actually went at had a 1 Percenter salmon BLT, which was delicious.) When I caught up with the marchers, they were occupying 5th Avenue and Pine Street:
- Cops and Occupiers: Blocking crosstown traffic.
Sure, you could argue that blocking traffic just infuriates would-be supporters—but it got folks' attention, and the police (who were cool as cucumbers) and protesters figured out a way to let buses through without leaving the intersection. After about 20-30 minutes, they moved back into Westlake Park to harangue bank CEOs some more.
Finally, Monday will bring a pro-Occupy Wall Street resolution before the Seattle City Council that, among other things, calls on the city to "ensure that public funds are invested in responsible financial institutions that support our community" and rethink campaign financing for city elections.
All together—today's actions along with calculated civil disobedience earlier in the week directed at JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon—Occupy Seattle is kicking ass. It's doing exactly what successful demonstrations need to be doing: coming up with new ways to get attention, making hit after hit with the mainstream media, and setting it all to a backdrop that reinforces their message. If Occupy Wall Street can keep up a drumbeat of orchestrated events like these, I can only speculate that public support will keep growing and movement can sustain itself indefinitely.