Daley’s View: Bernanke Out. Who Steps In?

One of the great Inside the Beltway debates this August is about who should replace Ben Bernanke who is retiring as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

So who cares?

Summers: Silent on Wall Street Accountability

Well, you probably should.

Much of the talk is about Larry Summers, former Secretary of the Treasury, former Obama economics advisor, former President of Harvard

University, and current Wall Street investor.

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FHFA, Fannie and Freddie Stage A Last Ditch Effort to Squash Homeowners

The Federal Housing and Finance Authority (FHFA) is taking dramatic actions against homeowners, and cities working to fix the housing crisis.  Just, this morning, Mark Harris, a Desert Storm veteran in Atlanta, who was highlighted in the Alliance’s report Wasted Wealth: How the Wall Street Crash Continues to Stall Economic Recovery and Deepen Racial Inequity in Americawas forcibly evicted from his home at gunpoint this morning.  (Read Mark’s story here)

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Payday Lending is a Drain on the U.S. Economy

The Insight Center for Community Economic Development released its latest report finding the payday lending industry cost the American economy $774 million in 2011, causing the estimated net loss of more than 14,000 jobs.  Add in the costs caused by an increase in Chapter 13 bankruptcies from borrowers unable to keep afloat of the draining debt cycle, and costs soar to nearly $1 billion. Read more

The Housing Crisis in Pueblo, Colorado

Dump De Marco Rally Photo


Community Rally Hits One Consistent Message: Get Rid of Ed Demarco

Fred and Sophia Patterson have a mortgage that was bought from Bank of America by Freddie Mac. When Mr. Patterson had his identity stolen, he lost everything, and asked for some assistance. The Pattersons accepted a temporary loan modification and continued to pay the adjusted monthly amount, Read more

Ashland, OR: Another Victory for Local Banking


Oregon Action! nailed another victory to move municipal money out from under major banks. After many months working to engage local municipalities on responsible banking practices, OA!  moved the Ashland City Council to unanimously pass a resolution authorizing the city to move some of its money out of Wells Fargo and to establish accounts at local credit unions.  The amount they have moved is at the fullest extent insurable by law.

More importantly the ordinance sets in motion the process for the city to establish responsible banking criteria for banking services contracts.
Oregon Action and the Oregon Banks Local Coalition has been working for over 3 years to encourage state and local municipalities to begin the process of moving their money– what advocates call divestment– out of the big banks and into more locally controlled institutions.  Divestment from major banks to local banks increases economic dividends for municipalities and the state.

Since Oregon’s banking landscape is dominated by the large banks, encouraging local banking by our cities is of three goals for this movement:

  • Keep more Oregon money in Oregon,
  • Bolster the local banking sector, and
  • Increase small business lending.

Ashland now joins other victories and current initiatives in Corvalis, Portland, Gresham, and Clatsop County.

Introducing Chain of Title in Colorado and other Protections for Homeowners.

A term that apparently means nothing to the banks of Colorado and the Alliance affiliate, Colorado Progressive Coalition is set to make the banks understand just what that phrase means. But for homeowners: it means a lot more.
A chain of title is the sequence of historical transfers of title to a property. The “chain” runs from the present owner back to the original owner of the property. In situations where documentation of ownership is important, it is often necessary to reconstruct the chain of title.

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Daley’s View: Whatever Happened to the Rule of Law?

Many years ago I heard with bemusement that Mafia like organizations were springing up in Russia following the collapse of Communism. The reports suggested that these associations were emerging because their organizers thought that Capitalism actually sanctioned criminal behavior and they were only following the new rules. Read more

Alliance for a Just Society leaders shut down the Wells Fargo Shareholders Meeting


The next step in our campaign to take on the big banks pay and win relief for homeowners is to disrupt business as usual at shareholder meetings across the country. The goal of these actions is to build off the fall mobilizations and the Occupations to keep up the street heat holding the 1% and bank executives accountable – in this case, accountable for the continued foreclosure on families across the country.

The Alliance played a leadership role in this action to shut down business as usual at Wells Fargo’s annual shareholder meeting on April 24.

The setup started in the weeks leading up to the meeting, when groups created a drumbeat with local actions. For example, Washington CAN and Colorado Progressive Coalition mobilized freshly trained activists out of the 99% spring trainings to confront Wells for paying zero federal taxes despite making record profits. Washington CAN foreclosed on the downtown Seattle headquarters, auctioning off all of Wells’ prized possessions, including their lobbyist, while singing a new version of this Land is Your Land. Meanwhile, Colorado Progressive Coalition joined with partners to deliver an overdue tax bill to their local Denver branch.

In preparation for the trip from New York to San Francisco Leni Juca, a small business leader from Make the Road NY, authored an op-ed published in the Nation demanding that Wells Fargo dump its stock in the private prison industry that is destroying immigrant communities.

Washington CAN, Idaho Community Action Network, and Make the Road NY sent leaders to San Francisco holding proxies to disrupt the circus. Each year, Wells Fargo executives take an annual ceremonious walk from their world headquarters across the street to the Mercantile Exchange, to the shareholders meeting. This year, the presence of 1,500 protesters stopped this self-congratulatory dog and pony show, which typically exhibits fancy suited businessmen patting each other on the back for another year of record profits.

Leni Juca (MRNY) & Diana Corcorran (ICAN) were selected to link arms with brothers and sisters from across the country to lead the crowd of 1,500 through the streets of San Francisco to the Mercantile Exchange Building.

AJS leaders stepped up to lead two affinity groups, one highlighting Wells’ investment in the payday lending industry and the other focused on Wells investment in the private prison industry. These groups of proxy holders were poised to raise issues inside the shareholders meeting.

All of AJS staff and leaders and another 200 protesters held proxy shares and were ready to attend the shareholder meeting and raise our demands from the inside. Not surprisingly, Wells CEO John Stumpf and his board of directors hid behind the SF police, who barricaded every entrance to the building. Wells played a cat-and-mouse game, shuffling shareholders from entrance to entrance – in the end, denying them their legal right to participate. Despite these tactic, 25 of our allies managed to make it upstairs and shut down the meeting.

AJS staff and leaders ended the day excited to kick off the season of shareholder meetings confronting corporate power raising issues including: CEO compensation, corporate money in the coming elections, investments in the prison industrial complex, fair mortgages and principal write-down. This action set a high standard for a season of our communities confronting corporate power.

Press coverage was strong across the country. AJS leaders convened after the activities and penned letters to the editor.

Press clips:




Washington Post:



Think Progress:

Mother Jones:

Big Week for Alliance Bank Teams

Alliance for a Just Society bank teams in Washington, Texas, Colorado and Idaho had a busy week, making headlines with everything from birdogging presidential candidates to passing city ordinances.

Romney Action in SeattleWashington CAN and Working WA teamed up to greet a fundraiser for Mitt Romney in Bellevue yesterday. Protestors mocked the $2500 photo op fundraiser by taking pictures with a life-sized cut-out of Romney and chanting “THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE “ and “HEY YOU MILLIONAIRES, PAY YOUR FAIR SHARE.” Mila Dolan, a Washington CAN leader, gave perhaps the best quote of the day to the press: “We can’t keep carrying the rich. They are too much of a burden.”

Photos from the event:

And more press:

Seattle PI:  Seattle Protesters Mock Romney Guests

KING 5: Protesters Meet Romney at Bellevue Fundraiser


Occupy Austin – The Alliance for a Just Society and the New Bottom Line have been working with bank action teams in Austin, Texas, and have moved nearly $1.5 million in personal accounts from Too Big to Fail banks to local community banks and credit unions. Last week, the Austin City Council passed a unanimous responsible banking ordinance that directs the finance department to research alternatives to the city’s current banker, Bank of America.

Read more about the ordinance here:

Austin YNN:  City council votes to explore banking alternatives for city funds

KUT News: With Occupy-Inspired Item, city may shift banking to credit unions, local banks 


Colorado Foreclosure Work: The chain of title legislation that AJS affiliate Colorado Progressive Coalition  (CPC)  introduced this year received the endorsement of a local tea party organization, and is swiftly moving through the house.  CPC is mobilizing to move large numbers of homeowners to the capitol this week for grassroots lobbying and testifying at multiple hearings for the whole foreclosure legislation package. To learn more about how to help, visit CPC’s website here:


Idaho Payday Lending Hearing – An informational hearing happened this week on the rate cap legislation introduced in the Idaho legislature this year. Idaho Community Action Network leaders packed an informational legislative hearing last week about rate cap legislation. The bill is currently being blocked, but with the big turnout in support of the legislation, ICAN was able to identify targets and move into next year’s session in a position of strength.  Tp learn more about this work, visit Alliance affiliate IdahoCAN’s website here: