'American Spring': Occupy Banks, Bring Your Own Couch
As the Occupy movement begins its transition to "Occupy Phase 2: An American Spring," activists are turning to history and adding a modern twist to reshape the narratives that will drive much of the Occupy momentum in coming months. One of those is a common theme, only slightly modified - and theatrically dramatized - with props.
"On March 15th, Bring Your Furniture! Move In! Fight BAC!"
That's the closing frame in a promotional video for Occupy's rejuvenated version of the ACORN Home Defenders campaign. Yesterday's home squatters are now today's bank occupiers.
From the campaign's F*TheBanks website:
This spring, the 99% is taking on Bank of America. For too long they’ve preyed on us — but now, we’re turning the tables. Instead of letting the bank foreclose on us, we’re going to foreclose on the bank. On March 15, April 15th and May 15th we will move our money, put our bodies on the line and bring their crimes to light. It time to break up the bank and create real alternatives. Come out for the big days of action
The website is registered to Andrew Boyd, who founded the organization "The Other 98%" in April 2010, well before the Occupy movement and its "We Are the 99%" slogan took hold. Boyd is also the founder of “Billionaires for Bush” and Agit-Pop Communications, and a member of US Uncut. The Village Voice described The Other 98% as "a project that would combine the netroots activism of groups like Move On with confrontational direct-action tactics more akin to those of the Ruckus Society." As the article explains, Boyd and his team are very active with the Occupy movement in parallel; therefore, it's not surprising to see the theatrical tactics of "The Other 98%" combined with the Occupy movement.
The organizers say they're targeting only Bank of America because the bank "steals taxpayer money, breaks laws and its crimes have a massive impact on society." Bank of America has also been the target of attacks from SEIU, and Wikileaks and Anonymous.
In addition to the planned "Fight BAC" occupations in March, April and May, the group pushes for activists to move their money out of big banks and into community banks and credit unions, a pillar of the Occupy Phase 2 direct action plans. The group works with a coalition of activist organizations, including PICO National Network, National People’s Action (NPA) and Alliance for a Just Society, among others.
"Fight BAC" has also been one of the recent additions to the Occupy movement's Occupy Our Homes group, which uses direct action to pressure banks to stop foreclosures. Occupy's allies on this campaign include New York Communities for Change, Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, and Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) - all of which are renamed ACORN chapters. In addition, "Rebuild the Dream," the group created by Van Jones and MoveOn.org, is an alliance member of Occupy Our Houses.
Occupy 2.0 is looking a lot like Frances Fox Piven 2.0 these days.