Earlier this spring we exposed SEIU veteran leader Stephen Lerner and his plan to bring down the U.S. economy through an economic hit-job on JP Morgan Chase (see here, here, and here). That plan was supposed to start this summer. And today, it may have just kicked off.
According to reports, protesters have converged on JP Morgan Chase's annual shareholders meeting in Columbus, OH. At least one person was arrested handcuffed as shareholders within the meeting sympathetic to the protesters' cause invoked religion to rail against Chase leaders. From the AP:
Shareholders trying to get into JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s annual meeting held Tuesday in this midwestern city were greeted by heavy security and over 400 protesters shouting slogans outside every entrance.
At least one person was handcuffed after a group of about 400 protestors marched up Chase's property and placed a sign on a raft floating in a pond in the bank's premises. The sign read: "Foreclosed: Chase sinks our economy."
Police had each entrance blocked ahead of the meeting, as protesters gathered in the rain and cold chanting slogans such as "Make Banks Pay" and carried signs that said: "Chase gets rich, we lose homes, jobs, services." At least 20 police cruisers circled the building.
Inside, several shareholders spoke out against the bank's handling of mortgage foreclosures.
"As a person of faith, my God believes you shouldn't take advantage of people when they are down," said Dawn Dannenbring of the community group Illinois People's Action, addressing CEO Jamie Dimon. "Do you believe in the same God I believe in?"
Dimon answered: "That's a hard one to answer."
After another question on foreclosures, Dimon said: "We are doing everything we can to keep people in their homes that should stay in their homes."
Chase, headquartered in New York, is holding its annual meeting in Columbus for the first time. Along with all the major banks in the country, Chase has been criticized for its handling of mortgage foreclosures.
Local station WSYX-TV reports from the scene, where at least one congressman joined in the event:
According to the news station, the protesters were from the group National People's Action. That group's website confirms it was in fact there as part of its "Showdown in America" campaign against big banks.
"Hundreds of homeowners, clergy, and workers have gathered in Columbus, Ohio to directly confront J.P. Morgan Chase at their annual shareholder meeting and deliver a message that it's time to 'Make Wall Street Pay,'" the group says on its website. It also includes plenty of pictures to chronicle its action:
But according to the AP, the day's events were organized by a group called The New Bottom Line. Would you be surprised to know that that group "is a national campaign fueled by a coalition of community organizations, congregations, labor unions, and individuals working together to build a movement that challenges established big bank interests on behalf of struggling and middle-class communities." [Emphasis added]
On its website, the group boasts about crossing the bank's "moat" today:
The crazy thing: the meeting is being held at the JP Morgan Chase McCoy Center is the second largest flat office building in the nation. Only the Pentagon is larger. And the building is surrounded by a moat! So how do these homeowners, clergy members, unions members and more, cross the moat? They build a bridge!
Here's the picture that accompanies the post:
And guess who The New Bottom Line links to for more pictures and references in its about section? If you said National People's Action, you're right.
All very interesting, isn't it?