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99% Power Movement Kicks Off With Massive Actions at Wells Fargo Shareholder Meeting

2012 will be different than last spring, and the spring before it. This year, there’s a nationally coordinated effort of the 99% to fight back.

 Every major bank holds its shareholder meeting in the spring, makingtheir nefarious plans about how to invest the billions they have stolen from us: ranging from mineral extraction in the global south to foreclosures in East Oakland.

But 2012 will be different than last spring, and the spring before it.  This year, there’s a nationally coordinated effort of the 99% to fight back.  We may not have the money for our own strategy meetings in fancy boardrooms, but we have something much better: people power — the millions of people who are fighting to save their homes, struggling to pay their bills,trying to get out from under their student loans, are ready to take action to make things better. 

We’re starting off with Wells Fargo.

A recent Forbes cover story called Wells Fargo “The bank that works.” Which begs the question:  Who does Wells Fargo work for? 

In the last year before the subprime bubble burst, Wells Fargo issued $74.2 billion worth of subprime loans, contributing to the current foreclosure crisis. In spite of its role in helping to crash the economy, Wells Fargo was rewarded with a $43 billion bank bailout from the federal government.  To thank the taxpayers that funded this, the company commenced slashing 6,000 jobs over the following 4 years while foreclosing on $17.5 billion worth of homeloans that it owns. 

The taxpayers who bailed out the banks got sold out by Wells Fargo.

The result has been an increased economic burden for working people: more foreclosures, depressed wages, fewer jobs, and a deteriorating quality of life.  With all the damage done to the economy and the American people, there were no consequences for the executives at WellsFargo like CEO John Stumpf,  who in 2011, earned a whopping salary of $17.9 million, according to  The Washington Post . This number included a raise of $300,000, more than most people make in 5 years. Worse yet, he received a 2011  tax cut  of more than $1 million.

At Causa Justa :: Just Cause, we have been targeting Wells Fargo andprotesting their shareholder meetings for more than three years in a campaign to win a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions, divestment from private prisons and immigrant detention, and an end to predatory lending. 

We’ve also been pressuring the cities of Oakland and San Francisco to divest from Wells Fargo and instead create municipal banks by and for the people who live in the city. 

This work took on a new life and a new shape at the end of last year, when we worked in groundbreaking collaborations with Occupy SF & OccupyOakland activists, with unions, and with grassroots organizations, giving Wells Fargo a taste of what it will look like when the 99% act as one.  Their headquarters were shut down by civildisobedience half a dozen times, taxpayers sued them, and even their own employees whispered complaints about family members in foreclosure.

2012 will bring a new level of pressure onto Wells Fargo.  The momentum that has been building for years in directly impacted communities, like the Black and Latino families that lead Causa Justa :: Just Cause, is spreading far and wide. The hope that a politician will make change for us has fallen away, and in its place, there is a new narrative of change:  that the people themselves, the 99%, will take history into our own hands, and shape a better future.

Join with hundreds of thousands of like-minded people across the country and turn out for a 99% Power direct action. This spring, starting with Wells Fargo’s shareholder meeting in San Francisco on April 24, hundreds of thousands of people have united to build an economy and democracy that works for all of us, not just John Stumpf and the one percenters.