The Occupy movement's infamously thorny relationship with business is about to get even more problematic. Reuters reports that the Occupiers have decided to target a new area of business for their disruptive brand of anti-corporate activism. Namely, they plan to protest shareholder meetings between stockholders and the CEOs of major companies, including Wells Fargo, General Electric, Verizon and Walmart. At the very least this decision marks them as willing to target bipartisan enemies - Verizon has a chummy relationship with the White House, and General Electric is renowned for being cozy with President Obama.
Even so, Occupy's attack is more than a little odd, given their generally advertised feelings of contempt for corporate unaccountability. Shareholder meetings are one of the few places where every day people who own stock in a company can get answers, and having that process disrupted by protesters could interfere with the one area of accountability that still remains. Nevertheless, the group is pushing forward, as the Reuters story notes:
Organizers say they expect hundreds of protesters to target a broad range of issues from foreclosures to financing of "dirty energy" to immigrant rights to corporate taxes. The group says it will try to stop the Wells Fargo meeting from being held and force the company to hold a public "stakeholders meeting" outside.[...]
Wells Fargo spokesman Ancel Martinez said the bank respects the rights of Americans to assemble peacefully and welcomes a dialogue with its stakeholders. "We will be prepared to ensure the annual meeting runs smoothly," he said.[...]
The protests are expected to draw a mix of labor union members, environmentalists, customers and clergy members. On the target list are General Electric Co, Verizon Communications Inc, Bank of America Corp, Morgan Stanley, Sallie Mae and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
Does this seem like a method for sending a message that will resonate? Weigh in below.