“Bank of America, Bad for America!” chanted the crowd gathered in the shadow of the impregnable, forbidding Bank of America tower in Kansas City on Tuesday. A coalition of progressive groups brought a couple of hundred demonstrators to KC on Tuesday. The plan there, as in other cities on Tuesday, was to soften up “Bad for America” for Wednesday’s massive demonstration at the annual stockholders’ meeting in Charlotte, N.C. The Bad for America slogan was for openers. The rally goers had lots more:
“Bailout. No thanks.
Bust up. Big Banks.”
“Big banks, you suck.
You’ll do anything for a buck.”
“Who got the money, money?
Who got the money, money?
You got the money, money.
We got the bill.”
Okay, it’s doggerel. But does a pack of greedy dogs deserve anything better?
Too bad yesterday that we didn’t have a fly (with a video camera) on the local executive’s wall, because it must have chafed the suit and tie that he had to tolerate the de classe crowd on the public sidewalk in front of his domain. (As a group, we had to stay off their property. I ventured onto the plaza to take pictures and was politely instructed by a cop to move back to the sidewalk.) Anyway, a video of the exec’s remarks about us would probably have electrified a crowd that was already galvanized. Mr. Bank Exec had to play it gracious, though. When the hoi polloi wanted into the bank to deliver a letter with its demands, he ordered that the group’s representatives be allowed in with no fuss. Otherwise, we’d have just hung around on the sidewalk chanting and showing our signs to the passing traffic.
Robin Acree of GRO was gutsy and funny leading the rally. She called out the CEO of B of A, Brian Moynihan, for heading an operation responsible for more foreclosures than anybody else. She pointed to a picture parody of Don Early, head of the payday loan company QC Holdings. In Missouri, those bloodsuckers charge an average of 431 percent annually on loans.
And guess who the third largest shareholder in QC Holdings might be. Its name begins with Bank and ends with America.
Robin told the story of attending a hearing about payday loan companies in Hannibal–a meeting that was also attended by the Missouri payday loan industry spokeshole, Tom Linafelt. Out on the parking lot after the hearing, she heard him say to one of his buddies, “That group that was badmouthing us, that’s those people from Mexico, MO. They’re out to take us down.” Robin grinned at the memory and told the crowd, “Too right!”
Notice at the end of the video that some of us have more youth and bounce than some of the rest of us.
After having its say at Bad for America, the crowd moved on to the KC offices of QC Holdings, which is in an office building so expensive that the sign in front is marble with real gold hammered into the words “Corporate Woods.” QC Holdings is on the fifteenth floor. That’s private property. And a security guard with an attitude promptly said, in his snarkiest voice, that he was calling the cops. Once the cops came, they politely asked the group to leave, and the crowd departed.
Step a few presumptuous toes onto their private property, and you find out how gracious the well heeled really are.