Occupy the Boardroom: 9 Angry, Heart-Breaking Messages to Wall Street's Elites From the 99%
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That photograph of well-heeled traders sipping champagne on a balcony high over Zuccotti Park as they look down on the Occupation below is already an iconic image, capturing the haughty detachment with which Big Finance has received this rapidly spreading expression of popular outrage.
The movement is now using a variety of strategies to take its message directly to the "1 percent” – to make sure they can't ignore the protests from the comfort of their sheltered enclaves. A new effort, Occupy the Boardroom, offers those whose economic security has been crushed by the recession a chance to send messages directly to a banking executive of their choice.
Ordinary people can post their letters to OccupyTheBoardroom.org, and activists promise to do whatever it takes to deliver them to the intended recipients. “Life gets awfully lonely for those at the top,” reads a tagline on the site. “What can we do to let them know someone's thinking of them? Maybe they need some new friends!”
The project is making Big Finance nervous. A memo drafted by Fay Feeney, a corporate board consultant, and leaked to occupiers in Washington, warns that “the anger, frustration and collective voice is too large to ignore... [Occupy the Boardroom] is personal and targeted to what you earn (along with power and influence) [and] banks are among the first businesses to be called out, occupied and disrupted.” Feeney goes on to urge "board members and corporate counsels [to] prepare themselves for a bumpy ride.”
The project is the brainchild of a coalition of groups loosely aligned with the Occupy movement. Greg Basta, deputy director of New York Communities for Change and a key organizer, told AlterNet that the idea, at first, was simply to give people an opportunity to “let the bankers know how Wall Street greed has affected their lives.” But as the Right has sought “to portray the occupy movement as a bunch of anarchists and troublemakers looking to shut down the government, I think the goal has changed,” says Basta. Now, it's about “making sure that the 1 percent, Congress and the media, finally understand who’s behind the Occupy movement – Americans, struggling because of the terrible, immoral and illegal decisions made by the top execs in the banking industry.”
Their stories are powerful, but anyone can post anything on the site. The organizers were kind enough to verify that the following are real messages written by real members of the “other 99 percent.” If you've wondered what this was all about, these notes should help clarify what's driving the growth of this peaceful rebellion.
1. My Daughter's Foreclosure
My daughter is a teacher who bought a home during the bubble and qualifies for a loan modification because her house is worth less than her mortgage. She has sent the paperwork no less than 17 times and Bank of America started foreclosure saying they never got it. After they took billions in bailout money they actually told her she should not have bought a house she could not afford! It has been almost four years since she started the loan mod process and Bank of America has done nothing. After my daughter got a lawyer they stopped the foreclosure but she has no idea whether she will be able to keep her house. Everyone knows Bank of America is incompetent but they are criminally incompetent. My daughter is one of millions of people waiting for loan mods and Bank of America refuses to comply with existing laws. I have heard the longer they wait, the more money they make. And there are people in jail for shoplifting!