Maine People’s Alliance members are joining with thousands of others across America to confront those who are undermining America's economic recovery and democracy. As part of an ongoing anti-big bank campaign, they delivered a letter this month to Bank of America (BofA) in Portland to warn the national bank that they will engage in protests at the corporate shareholder meetings of BofA and other unaccountable financial institutions.
Seven MPA members have become Bank of America shareholders in order to gain access to the meeting in April in Charlotte, where they plan to highlight the fact that Bank of America refuses to pay their share of taxes, continues to engage in predatory lending practices, refuses to make loans to small businesses, and continues to foreclose on and evict families without proof that they own the mortgage on their homes. They continue to prey on the hopeful and the vulnerable and damage our economy while making massive profits.
These efforts by Mainers are part of a national “Confront Corporate Power” campaign which seeks to expose, pressure, and challenge the companies most responsible for undermining America's democracy, poisoning the environment and widening the gap between rich and poor. Their demands are precise and simple: corporations must pay their fair share of taxes, treat workers fairly, provide principal reduction to protect homeowners, and pledge to keep their money out of the election. The coalition hopes to transform meetings usually reserved for discussion of corporate profits into a platform for everyday people to demand that these practices cease and that their illicit profits be used more to benefit the country and not just banks' major shareholders and executives.
Thousands of Maine people are crying out for answers to why their American Dream of a decent wage, a real home and food on the table, have turned into nightmares of foreclosure, lost jobs and despair. The MPA members headed to Charlotte in the spring hope to bring back some answers. You can follow their work at www.occupythecorporations.org
Make Wall Street Pay
Maine People’s Alliance members are also engaged in a revenue-raising campaign at the federal level called “Make Wall Street Pay.” They are demanding that Wall Street firms pay their fair share of taxes and help, not hinder America’s economic recovery. In December, MPA’s phone and field canvasses helped activate people across the state, who made hundreds of phone calls and sent letters to Maine’s congressional delegation in support of the Harkin-DeFazio “Wall Street Trading and Speculators Tax Act,” which was introduced on November 2, 2011. Representative Mike Michaud has signed on as a co-sponsor, joining 25 of his colleagues in the House.
The Harkin-DeFazio bill is a financial speculation tax proposal that would assess all trading transactions at .03% or 3 hundredths of 1% (also expressed in media reports at “3 basis points”) of their fair market value. Covered transactions include sale of stock, derivatives, bonds, or other securities. The tax has been given a score by the Joint Tax Committee – a non-partisan Congressional committee of economists and accountants – of raising $43 billion per year in revenue. Politicians in Washington and in Augusta often say that Maine and the nation are facing budget crises, but the truth is that our state and country are really struggling with a revenue crisis. It’s time for banks and Wall Street traders to pay their fair share of taxes and help get the economy moving again.