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    Banks Need a Haircut! Today, November 28, from 3 to 6 pm

    Need to visit the barber?  Come to Occupy Boston (Dewey Square) for a haircut today!

    harcut bar 1024x361 Banks Need a Haircut! Today, November 28, from 3 to 6 pm

    At Dewey Square today—Monday, November 28—you will see six barber stools representing the six biggest banks: JPMorganChase, Bank of America, Citibank, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs.  From 3 pm to 6 pm, skilled barbers will operate at each of these stations, providing free haircuts to occupiers and supporters.
    But why?
    Occupy Boston is transforming itself into a barbershop to send a message about a financial concept called a “haircut”.  In banking, a “haircut” is when a bank or other lender adjusts the terms of a loan to decrease the debt on the borrower. While banks routinely take “haircuts” when dealing with large corporations and wealthy clients, they rarely do the same when dealing with members of the 99% who are paying back mortgage loans, student loans, credit card loans and other debts.
    When faced with losses of homeowners and consumers, big banks often play hardball. They threaten homeowners with foreclosure and report the borrower to the credit agencies, damaging their credit rating.  But with bigger, richer borrowers like corporations, bankers routinely agree to negotiate haircuts and other changes in loan contracts, since refusing to do so could cause the borrower to file for bankruptcy, causing even bigger losses and jeopardizing future business (and the lucrative fees) from corporate borrowers.

    Now, big banks need to take a haircut.  Banks can provide immediate relief to American homeowners, families, working people, and students by writing down the value of underwater mortgages and unbearable consumer and student loan debt.  Banks agree to haircuts on loans for large corporations because rigid adherence to the terms of the loan will hamstring the prosperity and productivity of the borrower. Banks’ insistence on rigid adherence to the terms of loans is, right now, destroying the prosperity and productivity of American homeowners, students, and workers.  By taking haircuts on loans belonging to the 99%, banks would reduce monthly loan payments for millions of Americans, providing immediate relief to household budgets and spurring economic recovery.

    Banks need a haircut. Do you?

    Artist Brings Democracy To Walls of Occupy Boston

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – November 26, 2011
    Contact: davidjstokle@gmail.com

    IMG 0214 300x225 Artist Brings Democracy To Walls of Occupy BostonVisitors to the Occupy Boston site at Dewey Square this weekend can take part in building democracy through art. Brookline artist, David Stokle, will be on site all day Saturday and until 3pm on Sunday to assist people with the completion of the last of five “bookshelf signs,” works of art that voice support for the preservation and maintenance of the nation’s public libraries.

    All are invited to help complete the interactive piece by writing short phrases expressing their wants, needs, hopes and ideas for the Occupy Movement. These will appear as book titles on  the Bookshelf of Occupy Movement Ideas. A table and writing material will be available. “One word of advice,” says Stokle. “Less is often more. For instance, ‘COPY SWEDEN’ speaks volumes.”

    The bookshelf signs are three-dimensional, multi-media works produced on 60 x 40 inch canvases. They incorporate real books, as well as a Monopoly board and a woodcut of McDonald’s golden arches on which a McDonald’s Barbie doll is crucified. The four already-completed signs contain messages of support for the Public Library System, whose budget has been severely compromised in recent years. The fifth bookshelf is a democratic platform for free expression. “You can view the open bookshelf of ideas dialog much like the act of voting,” says Stokle. “Voting is a democratic right, and you either exercise it or you don’t. My hope is that people will enjoy interacting with this piece and that they will use it to express their views and ideas.”

    When asked why he included a copy of Bill O’Reilly’s Culture Warrior on one of the bookshelves, Stokle responded: “Bill’s always defending the US Constitution and our first amendment right of freedom of speech. How could I possibly leave him out? And, as the author of several books, it is only logical to assume he would want to contribute to the Bookshelf of Ideas and voice his support for our public libraries. Everyone is invited.”

    Picture of one of David Stokle’s pieces: http://imgur.com/2VfV2

    Picture of entire wall at Dewey Sq: http://imgur.com/DXP35

    Finance Accountability Working Group Press Release

    THIS POST HAS BEEN EDITED, AND ORIGINAL AND NEWER TEXT VERSIONS ARE SHOWN BELOW. SEE COMMENTS FOR DISCUSSION OF THESE EDITS.

    ORIGINAL TEXT:

    AGREEMENT

    On Friday, October 28, and Monday, October 31, 2011, Paul Carnes, Sydney Sherrell, Gregory Murphy, Shane Aspinall, and Rita Sebastian, all of whom have been active in the Occupy Boston Movement and specifically in its Financial Accountability Working Group (FAWG), and all of whom are working together cooperatively, met to discuss and agree on various matters having to do with Occupy Boston’s finances. We have reached the following agreements.

    1. Various of us have opened two bank accounts that hold money donated to support Occupy Boston, both at the Liberty Bay Credit Union, one in the name “Occupy Boston” and the other in the name “Occupy Boston Financial Accountability Working Group”. We agree that it is confusing and unnecessary to have two accounts at the same bank that have the same purpose. Since FAWG is in fact responsible for monitoring donated funds, the five of us have closed the account with the more general name “Occupy Boston”, and we have shifted its funds to the account more appropriately and specifically named the Occupy Boston Financial Accountability Working Group account. All bank statements for the closed account have been transferred to those overseeing the open account.
    2. In order earlier to open the account we have now closed, it was necessary for us to obtain a “doing business as” (dba) certificate in the name Occupy Boston and an associated employer identification number (ein). We have executed the City of Boston’s Withdrawal of Business form withdrawing the dba Occupy Boston, which attorney David Kelston will hold in escrow until the General Assembly (GA) reaches consensus on how to proceed with the dba Occupy Boston. We also agree that we have no need for the ein associated with the bank account we have closed, and we will promptly take steps to extinguish that ein.
    3. Paul and Sydney have described to us a plan they have to set up a business that will raise funds for progressive groups, quite possibly including Occupy Boston. The five of us agree that such a group’s services could be retained by Occupy Boston if the GA reaches consensus to that effect.
    4. All of us remain committed to the goals of Occupy Boston and are proud of our involvement in it. We have now, in furtherance to our commitment to the movement and to accountability, transparency, access to information and oversight, presented this Agreement to FAWG, posted it on Occupy Boston’s website, and announced it in the GA.
    5. This Agreement supersedes and nullifies the FAWG resolution adopted October 24, 2011, and any posting of that resolution on Occupy Boston’s website will reference the fact that it has been superseded. The undersigned will additionally make good faith efforts to have the resolution, and accompanying language, deleted from Occupy Boston’s website. Further, we acknowledge and state that any past or future statements made by any individual claiming to represent FAWG and inconsistent with this Agreement are not authorized by FAWG.
    6. We agree that Greg, Shane, and Rita have provided a statement that they are authorized by FAWG to execute this Agreement, and we further agree that the GA has authorized FAWG to handle financial matters for Occupy Boston.
    7. The five of us agree that by completing the undertakings of this Agreement, we have satisfied our responsibilities to FAWG and Occupy Boston.
    8. This Agreement, and the accompanying press release and any public announcements, will be held in escrow by attorney David Kelston until the undertakings in paragraphs 1, 2, 4, and 6 (excluding GA consensus on the dba Occupy Boston) have been completed.

    NEWER TEXT:

    *FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, November 1, 2011*

    Contacts: OccupyBostonMedia@gmail.com
    Twitter: @occupyBOS_media

    AGREEMENT REACHED CONCERNING OCCUPY BOSTON FINANCES

    The Financial Accountability Working Group (FAWG) is pleased to announce that today it reached an agreement with two other members of Occupy Boston concerning certain financial matters and a business certificate. The two members—Paul Carnes and Sydney Sherrell—met with members of FAWG and a professional mediator to discuss the parties’ differences regarding the use of the name “Occupy Boston” on a Doing Business As (DBA) certificate filed with the City of Boston and to determine the status of a bank account opened under that DBA. Their agreement spells out the terms that all of those at the meeting agreed to, including the transfer of the funds held in the bank account to another account controlled by FAWG and an understanding that the mediator will hold the DBA in escrow pending a consensus of the General Assembly (GA) concerning the DBA.

    The three members of FAWG authorized to negotiate on behalf of the working group—Shane Aspinall, Greg Murphy, and Rita Sebastian—were pleased to reach this agreement and put this matter behind them. All of the people at the meeting agreed that their agreement satisfies all of the obligations and responsibilities of FAWG and Occupy Boston with respect to this matter. Going forward, Carnes and Sherrell intend to continue working for the common good of Occupy Boston.

    ###

    Occupy Boston—located in Dewey Square, in the heart of Boston’s Financial District—is an on-going movement to bring greater accountability to Wall Street and greater responsiveness to Washington. It is inspired by Occupy Wall Street, which started in New York City on September 17, and is connected to similar demonstrations and occupations taking place across the country and around the world. On October 30, Occupy Boston celebrated its one-month anniversary. For more information, see OccupyBoston.org or email OccupyBostonMedia@gmail.com.

    Press Release: Resounding Silence, General Strike Over Marine Injured by Oakland Police

    *FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 27, 2011*

    Contacts: OccupyBostonMedia@gmail.com
    Twitter: @occupyBOS_media

    MEDIA BLACKOUT ENTERS SECOND DAY AS IRAQ VETERAN SCOTT OLSEN REMAINS IN SERIOUS CONDITION, OCCUPY OAKLAND CALLS FOR GENERAL STRIKE NOVEMBER 2

    Scott Olsen, 24—a former member of the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines and a veteran of two tours in Iraq—remains in serious condition at Highland Hospital in Oakland with a fractured skull and brain swelling. Riot police fired a projectile into Olsen’s face on Tuesday before throwing flash grenades at his fellow protesters while they attempted to move him to safety. Despite the severity of Olsen’s injuries, local and national media have largely ignored the story. As of Thursday morning, The Boston Herald and FOX 25 had no definite plans to cover the incident, nor had Oakland’s citizen review board opened an official inquiry.

    Videos posted to YouTube depicting a member of the riot police throwing a flash grenade at protesters attempting to help the injured Olsen have stirred international outrage, but coverage remains minimal.

    Last night, thousands marched to retake Oscar Grant Plaza for Occupy Oakland before calling for a general strike on November 2, saying:

    We as fellow occupiers of Oscar Grant Plaza propose that on Wednesday, November 2, 2011, we liberate Oakland and shut down the 1%. We propose a city-wide general strike and we propose that we invite all students to walk out of school. Instead of workers going to work and students going to school, the people will converge on downtown Oakland to shut down the city.All banks and corporations should close down for the day or we will march on them.

    Occupy Boston stands in solidarity with Scott Olsen and with Occupy Oakland as we continue our peaceful pursuit of international economic justice. We are the 99%, and we are no longer silent.

    ###

    Occupy Boston is the beginning of an ongoing discussion about reforming Wall Street and removing special interests from government. The continuing occupation of Dewey Square—located outside of South Station in the heart of Boston’s Financial District—is just one of more than 120 separate Occupy encampments in cities across the nation and a symbol for “Occupiers” everywhere who support real and lasting change.

    Press Release: Bailout 2.0

    *FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – OCTOBER 21, 2011*

    occupybostonmedia@gmail.com | Dewey Square | 617.286.6805

    FEDERAL RESERVE AGREES TO SAVE BANK OF AMERICA’S WEALTHY MANAGERS AT TAXPAYERS’ EXPENSE. AGAIN.

    Occupy Boston learned this week that Bank of America’s holding company (BAC) has moved troubled derivatives from its subsidiary, Merrill Lynch, to Bank of America, which is insured by the FDIC and, ultimately, the US Treasury. Bloomberg News reports that BAC moved the troubled derivatives after having its credit rating downgraded last month. This downgrade was due to its relentless acquisition of failing companies like Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch, both of which have massive, hidden losses that will now to be borne by the 99%.

    This means that Bank of America’s exposure to the ongoing European debt crisis is now insured by US taxpayers. This direct transfer of risk was completed without approval by regulators and, needless to say, without public input. It was done over the opposition of the FDIC, which objected because it put the insurance fund at risk. It was done with the support of the Federal Reserve, which, now more than ever, clearly represents the interests of the 1%. Bloomberg also reported that other investment banks’ derivatives positions have been placed in insured banks so that taxpayers will bear the risk of those losses as well. Collectively, the insured banks’ derivatives exposure is well over $100 trillion—far larger than the world’s GDP.

    US taxpayers are now on the hook for trillions in bad deals made by Bank of America and JP Morgan when the next Systemically Dangerous Institution (SDI)—a term that refers to the supposedly “too big to fail” banks—fails again. A mere three years after taxpayers rescued US banks, the anti-regulators that lead our regulatory agencies are still unable or unwilling to protect the American people from insuring risks generated by investment-banking operations. Bank of America, which got a $45 billion bailout during the financial crisis, had $1.04 trillion in deposits as of midyear, ranking it second among US firms.

    When reached by phone, former regulator William Black emphasized that this is precisely the sort of behavior that was prohibited by the Glass-Steagall Act before many of its provisions were repealed in 1999, and that were encouraged by the Commodities Futures Modernization Act of 2000.

    “In Ben Bernake we have a quiet, professorial type who nevertheless remains reflexively opposed to any effective regulation, investigation, or prosecution of the fraudulent SDIs that drove this crisis,” Black said.  “The Fed serves the 1%. The fact that he, a strong Republican, was reappointed by a Democratic president after a track record of abject failure as the nation’s leading anti-regulator says everything about just how successful international finance has been in capturing our democratic institutions.”

    Occupy Boston supports transparency in banking. Those who join us might echo Black’s call for the Federal Reserve to release the name of the individual who approved this action and the exact composition of the assets and liabilities that were transferred. They might further sign this petition calling for the reinstatement of the Glass–Steagall Act and join in the upcoming Bank Transfer Day on November 5.

    We are the 99%, and we are no longer silent.

    ###
    Occupy Boston is the beginning of an ongoing discussion about reforming Wall Street and removing special interests from government. Its continuing occupation of Dewey Square—outside South Station in the heart of Boston’s Financial District—is just one of more than 120 separate Occupy encampments in cities across the nation and a symbol for “occupiers” everywhere who support real and lasting change.

    Contact us

    Occupy Boston Media <Media@occupyboston.org> • <Info@occupyboston.org> • @Occupy_Boston