AMY GOODMAN: We turn here to New York and
the Occupy movement.
As participants in Occupy Wall Street continue
protesting the record profits made by banks bailed out by taxpayer
money, a group of grassroots activists are hitting JPMorgan Chase, Bank
of America, Wells Fargo where it hurts most: the wallet. Dubbing this
Saturday as "Bank Transfer Day," activists are urging people to move
their money out of the largest banks in the country into local community
banks and credit unions.
Bank Transfer Day draws on an idea popularized by filmmaker Eugene
Jarecki, economist Rob Johnson, and columnist Arianna Huffington, among
others. In 2010, they created the short film Move Your Money, which
became a viral sensation.
For more on the Move Your Money proposal, Iím joined here in New York by
filmmaker Eugene Jarecki. His works include Why We Fight, which won the
2005 Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and The Trials of
Henry Kissinger, among others.
Eugene, welcome to Democracy Now!
EUGENE JARECKI: Thank you.
AMY GOODMAN: Talk about how this movement began.
EUGENE JARECKI: Well, itís a wonderful story. Really, it was an idea
among some friends.
I mean, I had a lucky chance to have a Christmas
dinner with Arianna Huffington. Everybody should be so lucky. It was
very interesting. And a few people sat around, and we talked about,
where is the outrage? All this is going on with these "too big to fail"
Banks fail, and they get bailed out. We people, when we fail,
nobody bails us out.
Whereís the outrage? And this "where is the
outrage" question drove us, at the table, to come up with this idea of,
well, what if we told people to just move their money? Why donít people
just move their money? And that became a bit of a slogan, literally
And I went off, and I made a short film, which is a three-minute film
that did go viral and was this film called Move Your Money.
And what it
did was it took the movie Itís a Wonderful Life, and it said to people,
if youíve ever watched Itís a Wonderful Life, and you know all the
points you usually get choked up and you cry for George Bailey, because
you love George Bailey - you love George Bailey because heís a small
community banker, and you donít like Mr. Potter, because heís a
rapacious, predatory large banker.
And if you donít like Mr. Potter, you
should get your money away from Mr. Potter and get it with George
Bailey. Seems sort of obvious that people should just do what they most
idealize. So thatís where it started. Now it has a life of its own.
AMY GOODMAN: Last month, about two dozen people were arrested at a
Citibank branch here in Manhattan when they attempted to move their
money out of the bank.
The protesters were reportedly locked into the
bank, then detained. Bank officials accused the protesters of being
Video shot outside the bank shows an undercover police
officer dragging one woman into the bank and then arresting her.
UNDERCOVER POLICE OFFICER: You were inside. You were inside with
CUSTOMER: Iím a customer. Iím a customer.
WITNESS 1: She is a customer.
CUSTOMER: Iím a customer.
UNDERCOVER POLICE OFFICER: You were inside. Yes, but you were inside
with the whole - no, no, no.
WITNESS 2: What are you doing?
WITNESS 1: Hey, what the - hey!
WITNESS 3: What are you doing? What are you doing? What are you doing?
This is all being documented right now. Sheís not doing anything! Sheís
not doing anything wrong! Oh, my god! This is wrong! This is wrong! This
is wrong! What youíre doing is wrong! This is wrong! You should be
ashamed of yourself! Shame! Shame! Shame!
AMY GOODMAN: So, this woman is being dragged into the bank. She said she
had wanted to go in to just remove her money.
EUGENE JARECKI: Yes.
AMY GOODMAN: Then she was dragged in and arrested.
EUGENE JARECKI: I mean, I watch that with enormous admiration, because I
see people doing what they should be doing, and I see the system getting
frightened. The system is acting in a way the system shouldnít act.
AMY GOODMAN: Letís play a bit of your short film, Move Your Money.
PA BAILEY: You know, George, I feel that in a small way weíre doing
something important, satisfying a fundamental urge...for a man to want
his own roof and walls and fireplace.
GEORGE BAILEY: Enter the Martini Castle, where joy and prosperity may
HENRY POTTER: What does that get us? A discontented, lazy rabble,
instead of a thrifty working class.
GEORGE BAILEY: This rabble youíre talking about, they do most of the
working and paying and living and dying in this community.
ERNIE BISHOP: Donít look now, but thereís something going on over there
at the bank, George.
GEORGE BAILEY: I beg of you not to do this thing. If Potter gets a hold
of this building and loan, there will never be another decent house
built in this town.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Those are not the people who should be asked to pay
for this bailout.
REP. MICHAEL CAPUANO: All or most of you engaged in the activities that
actually created this crisis.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Bank of America is too big to fail.
SEN. JON TESTER: So what youíre saying is those 14 are too big to fail.
TIMOTHY GEITHNER: I donít think, Senator, I want to use those words, but
HENRY POTTER: Do you put any real pressure on these people of yours to
pay those mortgages?
PA BAILEY: Times are bad, Mr. Potter. A lot of these people are out of
HENRY POTTER: Well, then foreclose.
PA BAILEY: I canít do that. These families have children.
HENRY POTTER: Theyíre not my children.
GERRI WILLIS: Big cities across the country are seeing a big jump in the
number of people losing their homes.
GEORGE BAILEY: Alright, now, Mrs. Thompson, how much do you want?
MRS. THOMPSON: But itís your own money, George.
GEORGE BAILEY: Now, never mind about that. How much do you want now?
MRS. THOMPSON: Well, I can get along with $20 all right.
GEORGE BAILEY: Twenty dollars, fine.
MRS. THOMPSON: And Iíll sign the papers.
GEORGE BAILEY: You donít have to sign anything. I know you. You pay it
when you can. Thatís OK.
AMY GOODMAN: An excerpt of Move Your Money. Eugene Jarecki made that
film. And where are we today?
EUGENE JARECKI: Well, weíre in a wonderful new world. I mean, there is a
lot of stuff happening around this country.
For example, this Saturday,
November 5, is the Bank Transfer Day. Thatís a - I woke up one morning,
read the paper that people were doing something called Bank Transfer
What is it? Itís a day where you move your money. You take your
money out of the "too big to fail" banks that have so damaged the
American people and so benefited at our expense, and you move it into
small community banks, credit unions.
And thereís a way to do that. You can go to
moveyourmoney.org, and you
can type in your zip code, and you can learn about banks in your area
that are good, that are sound, that are small, that are, you know, in
the interest of your community.
But whatís amazing is, things like Bank Transfer Day, these activities
that are happening, theyíre happening with a life of their own.
asked me when I came on the program, am I sort of involved or
responsible? No. This is happening all over the country. Itís happening
in a viral kind of way, in a way thatís very hard to stop. And I think
itís because people find the idea exciting. They find it morally right.
And they know itís in the interest of the future. And theyíre doing it.
And I think everybody should come out on Saturday and move their money,
absolutely. Itís a big deal.
AMY GOODMAN: Eugene Jarecki created the short film Move Your Money in
2010 that went viral. And now thatís what a lot of people are going to
be doing this Saturday, November 5th.