Public Banking Promoted in the Nation’s Capitol

An enthusiastic, diverse, overflow crowd attended the DC Public Banking Center’s forum, “Public Dollars/Public Bank in DC: Building Our Future,” held in downtown DC on October 21st.   The event capped a day of meetings, including with city officials.

DCPBC-Logo-1-600x400.jpgWe have a video clip for each speaker included below.  We hope these will inspire others just as we have been inspired by watching the videos of public forums in Colorado and Santa Fe NM. 

Gar Alperovitz, co-chair of the Next System Project, is a nationally known speaker and author/activist. His most recent book is What Then Must We Do?   He opened the evening with an inspiring talk about how public banking fits into the next American Revolution.  He spoke about ecologically sustainable, community-oriented change and the socialization/democratization of wealth which he sees as bubbling up in this country today, not as some far away utopia. Watch his opening remarks here.

Nomi Prins spoke from her years on Wall Street where she left her last position as a managing director at Goldman Sachs to speak truth to Wall Street power and to call out the criminality of those on Wall Street. From her most recent, All the Presidents’ Bankers, to one of her earlier books,  Other People’s Money: The Corporate Mugging of America,  Prins has written about money power in America. She is a strong advocate of public banking as a key way to take control of our money to make it work for all of us by creating a sustained local economy from the ground up. You can watch her presentation here.

Prof. Horst Gischer, who studies monetary economics and public financial institutions in Germany, talked about the types of public banking in Germany, dating back to the 18th century. The German public banks, from the local Sparkasse community savings banks to the Landesbanken state banks to the Raiffeisen cooperative banks, all have a public service obligation. The campaign looks forward to an ongoing relationship with Professor Gischer. His talk may be viewed here. 

Jessica Gordon Nembhard, a political economist who teaches at the City College of New York,  is an outstanding example of the activist/scholar.  As author of Collective Courage, she shared the inspiring history of the African American cooperative movement going back to the days when slaves pooled their funds to buy people out of slavery to the more recent urban buying clubs, credit unions and farmers coops – all ways to keep the money system from exploiting and oppressing us. She placed the campaign for public banking in this context. Her presentation is here.

Harold Meyerson, Washington Post columnist par excellence and editor-at-large of The American Prospect magazine, closed the panel by making the case for cities serving as the incubators for creative progressive change in the U.S.  and calling for the next administration to join FDR in saying “we can’t have anyone from 23” referring to 23 Wall Street.  We look forward to the day he writes an OpEd on public banking! His closing remarks are here.

We ended the evening with questions from the audience and a rousing call for people to get involved with many people coming forward to say they want to help.

There is still a long road ahead for the campaign which will be building support in all eight wards and among faith, labor, environmental, and social/economic justice activists.  We are moving forward with much enthusiasm and looking to the day when we are ready for legislation to be introduced to create the DC public bank.

Thanks to Stephen L. Kolb for these video clips.

Ruth Caplan, member of Steering Committee
DC Public Banking Center
Website: dcpublicbanking.org
Facebook: DC Public Banking Center
Twitter @dcpublicbanking

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