Last week, one or more Occupy Oakland protesters smashed the windows of a Wells Fargo branch.
This week, the group’s general assembly agreed — in a near-unanimous vote Monday — to temporarily place $20,000 of the group’s money in an account at the country’s fourth-largest bank holding company, Wells Fargo Bank.
Whether the decision was an abandonment of the movement’s opposition to big banks or an ominous affirmation of the hold that big banks have on Americans, Twitter was ablaze with outrage last night, as news spread about the 162-8 vote, from which 16 people abstained.
Oakland City Council members say encampment must go, see story here.
“I am so disgusted right now. the hypocrisy of it all is just amazing,” wrote @GiveMeThatJuice.
“ARE YOU F------ SERIOUS?!,” wrote @graceface.
“I can see the ad now: ‘People’s money is so safe here at Wells Fargo, even our sworn enemies use us for their banking needs!’” wrote @davidcolburn.
And indeed, Wells Fargo spokesman Ruben Pulido went out of his way on Monday to notify reporters about this development via email. “If this report is true,” he wrote, “it demonstrates that even Occupy Oakland understands — firsthand — the value and service that Wells Fargo provides its customers. Wells Fargo welcomes the 100 percent of Americans to allow us to help them meet their financial needs.”
According to meeting minutes posted on a Facebook page for the “Oakland General Assembly,” the group’s lawyer, Tim Fong, will temporarily keep a $20,000 donation from Occupy Wall Street in a Wells Fargo account, until he can finalize paperwork needed to open a credit union account for the group. The move is necessary to expedite the money’s availability for bailing out jailed protesters, the minutes said.
Occupy Wall Street donated the money to Occupy Oakland with stipulation that it be put toward medical and legal needs.
The minutes said Fong was waiting on the state to finalize paperwork establishing Occupy Oakland as an unincorporated association, which could take up to two weeks.
Bank co-founder Kat Taylor, whose unorthodox OneCalifornia Bank touts its commitment to local investment and supported the recent Bank Transfer Day, said she understands Occupy Oakland’s plight.
“Banks have to be vigilant about customer identification, knowing what their source of money is,” Taylor said.