Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Fed Up With Big Banks That Fund Climate Crisis and Oppression, Community Coalition Demands Public Bank for New York

Business
Fed Up With Big Banks That Fund Climate Crisis and Oppression, Community Coalition Demands Public Bank for New York
At a rally in front of the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday, community and social justice groups demanded that New York City divest from Wall Street and establish a public bank. 0debtzone / Twitter

Chanting, "Wells, Chase, B of A, public bank's a better way!" social justice groups rallied at the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday to demand that New York City divest from Wall Street banks and establish a public bank that is "expressly chartered to serve the public interest."


"New York deserves a public bank that will invest in community needs, and be accountable to New York City residents—one that will prioritize housing ... and not prey on low-income New Yorkers," said Scott Hutchins, a member of the grassroots social justice group Picture the Homeless.

The more than two dozen groups that gathered on Wall Street also included New York Working Families, the Pan-African Community Development Initiative and Food & Water Watch.

Investment in Wall Street banks like Wells Fargo, Bank of Americas and JPMorgan Chase is synonymous with harming the environment, propping up private prisons and putting working families at risk for financial collapse as well as pushing them out of New York neighborhoods, argued the groups.

The rally came days after the Trump administration announced it would roll back the Volcker Rule, which since 2014 has prohibited banks from using their accounts to conduct risky, speculative trading, in an effort to avoid another financial meltdown like the one that threw the country into a recession in 2008.

"With the Trump Administration and Congress handing out massive corporate tax breaks, rolling back federal financial reform, and gutting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Wall Street is heading straight for another crisis," said Deyanira Del Rio, Co-Director of New Economy Project. "A public bank will allow New York City to deposit our public money with a bank that belongs to New Yorkers."

The crowd also heard from a Brooklyn resident whose rent has doubled in recent years and who spoke about the exorbitant fees New Yorkers pay to big banks every year, a student who spoke out against predatory loan practices and Wall Street's investment of billions of dollars in fossil fuels that accelerate and worsen the climate crisis, and a social justice activist who told the crowd of JPMorgan Chase's support for private prisons.

"As long as the city continues to deposit its money in prison financiers like JPMorgan Chase, we will remain complicit in systems of oppression that profit off of incarcerating our communities," said Bamsa Eid of the racial and economic justice group Enlace. "It's time New York City puts its money where its mouth is, divests from Wall Street, and—through a public bank—invests in us."

A public bank would allow New York's public money to go towards investing in small businesses run by locals, low-income housing, and financial services to immigrant and low-income communities.

"Here's the deal: New York City currently deposits billions of public dollars in the big Wall Street banks," said Stephan Edel, director of New York Working Families. "These bankers make millions off these deposits and high fees, while providing little benefit to the City, small businesses, and residents of New York. Our money should be put to use in our communities."

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

Antarctica's Thwaites Glacier, aka the doomsday glacier, is seen here in 2014. NASA / Wikimedia Commons / CC0

Scientists have maneuvered an underwater robot beneath Antarctica's "doomsday glacier" for the first time, and the resulting data is not reassuring.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Journalists film a protest by the environmental organization BUND at the Datteln coal-fired power plant in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany on April 23, 2020. Bernd Thissen / picture alliance via Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Lead partners of a global consortium of news outlets that aims to improve reporting on the climate emergency released a statement on Monday urging journalists everywhere to treat their coverage of the rapidly heating planet with the same same level of urgency and intensity as they have the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read More Show Less
Trending
Airborne microplastics are turning up in remote regions of the world, including the remote Altai mountains in Siberia. Kirill Kukhmar / TASS / Getty Images

Scientists consider plastic pollution one of the "most pressing environmental and social issues of the 21st century," but so far, microplastic research has mostly focused on the impact on rivers and oceans.

Read More Show Less
A laborer works at the site of a rare earth metals mine at Nancheng county, Jiangxi province, China on Oct. 7, 2010. Jie Zhao / Corbis via Getty Images

By Michel Penke

More than every second person in the world now has a cellphone, and manufacturers are rolling out bigger, better, slicker models all the time. Many, however, have a bloody history.

Read More Show Less
Scientists are studying barley, the key ingredient in beer. Ridofranz / Getty Images

Researchers at UC-Riverside are investigating how barley, a key ingredient in beer, survives in such a wide variety of climates with hopes of learning what exactly makes it so resilient across climates.

Read More Show Less