Organizers and protesters around the world will come together to commemorate International Workers Day tomorrow, and they are taking on familiar targets. Large protest actions are planned in more than 115 American cities, where activists will continue the anti-Wall Street message started by the 99 Percent Movement last fall. The action will again center in New York, where protesters have identified 99 targets in Manhattan, including large Wall Street banks like JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America.
Wall Street banks are pooling resources and coordinating with each other to plan for the New York City protests and will work with local law enforcement to monitor the protests throughout the day. Though the New York-based banks offered no specifics on how they plan to deal with the protests, one security adviser made the laughable comparison that Wall Street banks — the same ones whose errors include triggering the financial crisis and wrongfully foreclosing on thousands of Americans — were innocent elk defending themselves against attacking wolves, Bloomberg reports:
Banks cooperating on surveillance are like elk fending off wolves in Yellowstone National Park, he said. While other animals try in vain to sprint away alone, elk survive attacks by forming a ring together, he said. […]
Spokesmen for Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Bank of America, Citigroup Inc. (C), Morgan Stanley (MS), UBS AG (UBSN) and Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN) wouldn’t describe security measures for the protests. One likened commenting to telling al-Qaeda about the bank’s continuity plans.
That Wall Street banks view themselves as innocent victims of wolf-like predators in the form of protesters is ironic, given that multiple Wall Street insiders have blown the whistle about the financial industry’s predatory practices. In November, a former JPMorgan insider said that exploiting consumers was “the purpose of the banking organization,” a claim seemingly echoed by a Goldman Sachs trader who decried the bank’s “toxic and destructive” culture in which clients were sometimes referred to as “muppets.” Remember, it was Goldman that sold self-described “shitty deals” to its own customers. Other banks have perpetuated fraudulent foreclosure and credit card practices, profited off of student loans, and charged huge fees on customers who were collecting unemployment benefits.
It’s no secret why the banks view the 99 Percent Movement so negatively — the movement took Wall Street’s excesses and abuses to the mainstream, refocusing the national discussion on rising income inequality, exploding student debt, and fraudulent banking practices. That effort will continue tomorrow, when protesters will march through Manhattan and picket various Wall Street banks. They’ll be joined by actions in San Francisco, where protesters will specifically target Wells Fargo, as well as in other cities around the country. More events will take place around the world, in cities like London, Sydney, Toronto, and Barcelona.