Activism

A New Protest Movement Is Rising from the Ashes of Standing Rock, and It's Targeting Big Banks

"Young Turks" praises the work of 350 Seattle and offers a suggestion to climate activists.

Photo Credit: 350 Seattle / Twitter

Operations at more than a dozen JPMorgan Chase bank branches were disrupted by climate activists in Seattle Monday in response to their role in funding pipeline projects such as the Keystone and Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain. 

The protest was organized by 350 Seattle, as well as Native American activists who participated in the year-long Standing Rock action against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Twenty-six protesters had been arrested by Monday afternoon, but the groups vow to continue putting pressure on big banks.

“If we can make these projects as politically toxic as they are for the environment, maybe they will get cold feet," explained Emily Johnston, communications manager for 350 Seattle.

On Tuesday, "Young Turks" co-hosts Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian praised the effort.

"I think that activists are realizing that it is one thing to go after those who are constructing the pipeline or the companies behind the pipeline; it's also very effective to go after the banks that are funding the construction of these pipelines," Kasparian opened.

"I think it is such an effective strategy," agreed Uygur. "I think they took it from me, except I've never said it on-air, so I don't know how they read my mind."

Uygur, who was arrested in Washington D.C. during last year's Democracy Spring action, encouraged the protesters to keep going.

"I think these kinds of actions at businesses are effective; I think that's what people are worried about them," he said, and offered a small suggestion: "You know, if possible, what I would want is small business owners... your acountant down the street, your dentist, to go to these protests," he added. "Because when you touch their pocketbooks, that's when you get real change."

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Alexandra Rosenmann is an AlterNet associate editor. Follow her @alexpreditor.