By September 2017, the Divest / Defund movement ignited by the unprecedented Standing Rock camp protests against the Dakota Access pipeline was already responsible for over $5 billion being withdrawn from DAPL-funding banks, according to organizers with Mazaska Talks. Billions had been divested from cities such as Seattle, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles, as well as more than $80 million in individual accounts.
Once a city divests to put their money “where their values are,” as Matt Remle, co-founder of Mazaska Talks and a member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, puts it in a recent Yes! Magazine article, “the question all along was what to do with the city’s money. And our philosophy was it’s not going to be a victory to close accounts with Wells Fargo and go to Bank of America.”
The solution: public banks.
The Yes! Magazine article continues:
“The fight against the DAPL brought new energy to the effort in Seattle. Organizers believe a public bank could allow the city to have more funds to address the needs of residents.
“‘Recapturing some of that would create major savings that could help us fund things like education, housing, and transit,’ wrote organizer Alec Connon on a blog for the climate justice group 350 Seattle. ‘Done right, a public bank would save city money, create jobs, and provide affordable loans to small businesses.’”
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