Morgan Chase Goes Medieval

Bankster USA

For his annual shareholders meeting, Jamie Dimon head of JP Morgan Chase, fled New York for his frontier stronghold – a corporate office in Ohio conveniently surrounded by a moat. Confronted with protesters seeking mortgage modifications inside the shareholders meeting, Dimon promised them assistance. Outside the meeting, his palace guard was not amused as the serfs stormed the castle.

A jolly band of men (and women) quickly built a wooden, pontoon bridge across the moat and ferried dozens of pranksters in green vestments over the dark water. They were greeted by Sherriff deputies and police dogs who shouted that they were under arrest. Fortunately, no holes were left in any green tights.

“It was unbelievable. They were in a fortress surrounded by police. They have a moat. They have completely separated themselves from their country, the American people and the reality of our lives,” said Liz Ryan Murray of the housing group National People’s Action (NPA).

Another 800 protesters attempted to block the entrances to the property as shareholders arrived. Hundreds of police were present, along with a phalanx of police horses. “It was complete overkill,” said one protester who was maced with a group of her friends for no apparent reason. An artist who set a boat afloat in the pond with the iconic image “American Gothic” and the message “Foreclosed – Chase sinks our Economy” was handcuffed by the Sherriff’s men with no sense of humor.

The action was supported NPA, the Ohio Organizing Cooperative, SEIU and a long list of community groups, faith groups, foreclosure activists and Ohio public workers.

“We were there to bringing the message to Chase, that is has been years since we bailed them out and they have done nothing to clean up the economic mess they made. They are not lending, they are not fixing the foreclosure problem and they are not paying their fair share of taxes. Our cities, states and counties are in a revenue crisis. Average taxpayers are paying their fair share, but the big banks are not,” said Murray. NPA produced a study showing that 1 in every 10 houses in Ohio’s major cities has received a foreclosure notice since the financial crisis began.

Robin Acree came to the event all the way from Missouri: “We were able to folks from rural communities around the midwest to get on the bus and come to this event because everyone knows someone who lost their job, everyone knows someone who is in foreclosure. The banks are not investing in our communities, there are no opportunities, people are getting by on less and less and expected to pay more and more.”

What would Robin do? “Robin Hood is the classic tale of taking from the rich and giving to the poor, but that is what our country refuses to do — tax the rich. Instead it lays it all on the backs of working people and the poor,” says Ryan. But that may be changing.

Fortune 500 profits are up 81 percent and the big banks are back in the black, yet it is public workers who are being asked to do more and are blamed for the state of the economy. The unfairness has not escaped notice. M&I Bank protests have been held in cities and towns across Wisconsin. This week, protesters from a new coalition called Make Wall Street Pay Illinois demonstrated at Chase Bank locations in six cities across the state. The movement to make Wall Street pay –literally — is gaining steam.

BanksterUSA is a project of the Wisconsin-based Center for Media and Democracy (CMD). CMD was founded in 1993 as an independent, non-profit, non-partisan, public interest group focusing on exposing corporate spin and government propaganda.

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