On December 7, Take Your Money and Run! Show the Banks (and Politicians) Who's Boss
Leave it to a soccer hero to kickstart some serious political action.
Eric Cantona, a French soccer star who finished his playing career at Manchester United and went into acting, has sparked a European, and perhaps a global uprising against the global banking industry by calling on people everywhere to simply take their money and run away from the big banks on December 7.
Cantona, in a television interview about his career, got political in a hurry, saying that demonstrations such as those that occurred last month across France in opposition to cuts in that country's retirement program, were meaningless and "accomplish nothing except to further the aims of the oppressors." He called on those same protesters, and on people everywhere, to take "effective action" by withdrawing all their savings from the banks.
His challenge has caught fire across Europe, where the action is being coordinated on Facebook and via a website called Bankrun 2010. More recently, this campaign has made its way across the Atlantic to America, where soccer's not such a big game, and where most of the economic protest action has been focussed on the reactionary anti-tax Tea Party crowd. But even here in the US, the idea of sticking it to the big banks has begun to resonate, with a website called Stopbank USA calling for a day of action by Americans on December 7.
The banking industry is clearly nervous. In France, a spokeswoman for the banking industry called the idea of an organized bank run "stupid," and warned that it would be an invitation to thieves to steal people's money.
But organizers in the US have an easy answer to that. The US movement is calling on people not to take their money out as cash, but to close their accounts at major regional or national banks and to move the money on Dec. 7 to independent community banks or--better yet--to credit unions.
Besides, it's really ironic to hear a bank spokesperson warning depositers about thieves, when it is clear that the bankers themselves are the real thieves these days--stealing peoples' homes through deceptive mortgage terms and through fraudulent foreclosures, stealing their money through deceptive fees and penalties, and stealing their retirement security by wrecking the economy while enriching the managers of the banks via undeserved massive bonus payments tallied in the billions of dollars.
Could a major run on the big banks seriously damage them? It depends on how seriously people take the idea. Let's imagine 10 million Americans pulling their worldly savings out of the banks--not just household accounts but funds invested in CDs too. We could quickly be talking about upwards of $50 billion.