Friday, June 03, 2011

This is What Democracy Looks Like

June 3, 2011, 9:30 a.m.

Local Media Win 11-Foot Pole Award
(for stories they wouldn't want to touch with a 10-foot pole)

So far as I can tell, this is the only place you're going to learn about a major civic protest on the Iowa City Ped Mall yesterday -- blocks from the offices of local media. [Correction 10:50 a.m.: Although I have still seen nothing in hard copy print, it has been brought to my attention that the Daily Iowan, which is only published online at this time -- and thus a kind of a fellow blogger -- did post a story last evening: Ian Schmit, "Activists, union protest Wells Fargo," Online Daily Iowan, June 2, 2011.]

Here's the unutilized news release, along with some iPhone photos I took of the events:

David Goodner, Iowa CCI. 515.282.0484. david [at] iowacci [dot] org
Jim Jacobson, SEIU. 319.341.0112. jim [dot] jacobson [at] seiuiowa [dot] org

Teachers, Nurses, & Seniors Confront Wells Fargo Over Corporate Tax Evasion

SEIU and Iowa CCI members launch “Fight for a Fair Economy – Make Wall Street Pay” campaign with a direct action street protest outside a Wells Fargo branch in downtown Iowa City

Iowa City --

Teachers, nurses, and seniors with Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) marched to a Wells Fargo branch in downtown Iowa City today and demanded the big bank pay its fair share of federal taxes as well as disclose its corporate tax returns to prove Wells Fargo pays its fair share of Iowa state taxes.

The group chanted “I-O-W-A/It’s Time to Make Wells Fargo Pay” and “Hey! You! Millionaires! Pay Your Fair Share!” and left the bank after reading a letter addressed to Iowa/Illinois Regional President Scott Johnson over a bullhorn.

The community/union coalition released their evidence against Wells Fargo in a white paper titled “Does Wells Fargo Pay Its Fair Share of Iowa Taxes? A Fight for a Fair Economy – Make Wall Street Pay Report.”

Coalition members also delivered a copy of the white paper to Representative Dave Loebsack’s office.

“Wells Fargo foreclosed on our communities, took $50 billion in bailouts and tax breaks, and owes more than $20 billion in unpaid federal taxes,” Bryson Dean, a retired senior and Iowa CCI member, and Sara Collmann, a Head Start Teacher with SEIU, said in a joint statement. “Wells Fargo needs to start paying its fair share of taxes.”

“We don’t have a spending problem, we have a revenue problem. The money to create good jobs and an economy that works for everybody isn’t in Grandma’s Social Security or Medicare account, it’s not in the lunchboxes of schoolchildren, and it’s not in the back pockets of nurses and teachers. The money is on Wall Street. It’s time to fight for a fair economy and make Wall Street pay.”

Iowa CCI and SEIU members said the state of Iowa can raise more than $100 million in new revenue every year – and the federal government can raise more than $150 billion – by cracking down on corporate tax dodgers, closing corporate tax loopholes, and making big-moneyed corporations pay their fair share.

Amanda Devecka-Rinear, a Make Wall Street Pay organizer with National People’s Action, will deliver a keynote address at an Iowa CCI meeting on Thursday, June 9, at 6:30pm in Meeting Room A of the Iowa City Public Library.

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Because Congress Member Loebsack's office could not hold all the protesters, most of the crowd of near-100 constituents remained in the hall. But young children, often overlooked by our elected representatives as a result of children's notorious record of non-voting, could nonetheless peek in through a window to see "what democracy looks like," as they had earlier listened to the grown ups shouting, "This is what democracy looks like."

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