OWS: Focus or fail
Great idea, but not particularly original. Arianna Huffington, back in 2009, helped launch the Move Your Money campaign, and I wrote about it then. It was exactly the same idea, only better executed. It actually provided resources for finding the most secure local financial institutions — a major consideration when banks everywhere were failing.
In more poor planning, Bank Transfer Day was scheduled on a Saturday, when most banks are open only half a day, if at all. There also seemed to be an assumption that a person would simply walk in, withdraw all his money, and close his account(s). Rarely is it that simple. You need to have a new account in place before closing an old account. It takes time to change direct deposits and automatic withdrawals and time for outstanding checks to clear.
In that old post I did neglect to mention credit unions, which are getting a lot more attention now. I regret that. And at the time my accounts were in transition, so I couldn’t readily practice what I preached. But late last year I did, finally, get established with a highly rated, financially secure community bank that has treated me like family. I’ve had not one incident of weird fees, rude attitude, messed up online banking, or infuriating voice mail (real people answer the phone!).
Like so much of what OWS seems to be doing, Bank Transfer Day was a good idea, poorly planned and executed. I’m still convinced that if they are to succeed in whatever it is they hope to accomplish, they are going to have to get better organized, focus on specific issues, and start thinking and acting like responsible adults. I am nearing the end of my patience with gangs of vagabonds hanging out in public areas, fighting with police, rioting, destroying property, etc. Nor do I have any sympathy for claims of “they’re not with us.” It’s up to OWS to police themselves, get rid of interlopers, and make sure that what we see and hear from them is what they want us to see and hear.
And by the way, I think all the demonstrations should be moved to Washington. That’s where the laws are made, and it’s those laws that determine how the banks and corporations function.