OccupySF protesters shut down Wells Fargo HQ

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At 7 a.m. this morning (Wed/12), protesters against corporate greed were poised for one of the most impactful actions since OccupySF began.

About 50 people associated with the Foreclose Wall Street coalition were seated in front of all the entrances to the Wells Fargo corporate headquarters on California and Montgomery streets. Back at the site of the OccupySF camp in front of the Federal Reserve Bank on Market Street, protesters gathered. They held a rally there that included a speech from Sup. John Avalos, the only mayoral candidate to actively support the movement.

When the march started off to join those blockading Wells Fargo, there were about 1,000 protesters present, according to estimates of those present. They stopped off at the Hyatt across the street from the Fed to support Unite Here Local 2 hotel workers who are involved in a boycott against the Hyatt before continuing in the march. Protesters chanted, “make banks pay” and “we are the 99 percent.”

The march reached the Wells Fargo building and began rallying there. The sit-ins in front of entrances were still going strong. There, activist and author Naomi Klein addressed the crowd.

When Wells Fargo employees began to arrive at work. According to Max Bell Alper, one of those involved in the blockade, “a number of bankers were trying to get in and yelling at us.” Then they called the police.

When the police arrived, Alper says, “at first, the people from the march were physically blocking them from arresting us.”

Around 8:30 a.m., 11 were arrested. They were brought to the North Beach/Chinatown police station, were they were cited for trespassing, held for about an hour and then released. When I spoke to Alper, he was back from the police station, chanting and marching with the crowd.

He told me that when his parents’ home was foreclosed this year, they moved in with his uncle, whose home was then foreclosed. Currently his grandmother is facing foreclosure. He listed Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America as the banks involved in his family members’ foreclosures.

“Enough is enough. Banks need to recognize that they need to pay,” said Alper.

Protesters continued to block every entrance besides the employee entrance on Leidesdorff Street with sit-ins, as well as march in picket lines, chant “banks got bailed out, we got sold out”, and cheer as organizers spoke. The bank was unable to open until they chose to leave around noon.

SFPD Lt. Troy Dangerfield said that no more arrests were made because Wells Fargo did not request them- apparently, they preferred to wait it out. Said Dangerfield, “It would make it worse if they had to remove them. It doesn’t look good.”

Dangerfield insisted that he “had no stake whatsoever” in what will result from the Occupy movement throughout the country. He has noticed, “it seems like it’s growing nationwide.”

Activist Lucia Kimble sat helping to block the bank’s California entrance from 7:15 to noon. She says protesters voluntarily left at noon because, “We’ve been out here five hours. We successfully shut down the bank. I think our message has been heard.”

Kimble, 27, is a Bay Area resident and housing counselor with Causa Justa :: Just Cause, a group that works to advocate for housing and tenants rights for low income and African American and Latino communities in San Francisco and Oakland. Kimble said that her group was part of the coalition that put on this event “to give a voice to those most affected by our economic crisis.”

Kimble listed the Foreclose Wall Street West coalition’s demands with this action: an immediate moratorium on foreclosures, fixed annual interest rates, an end to Wells Fargo’s financing of high-interest Pay Day Loans, and that they “pay their fair share – pay taxes and give them to the community.”

Shaw San Liu of the Chinese Progressive Association – which just voted to endorse OccupySF and today joined the movement – was an energetic and inspiring speaker throughout the event. Said Liu: “A lot of folks have been saying there’s no diversity in the Occupy movement…In San Francisco it’s becoming clear the diversity of groups that support this movement. Youth, community groups, anti-war, we’re all coming together”

Liu maintained that the problems she was fighting did not start with the financial collapse in 2008. “In my work in Chinese immigrant communities, I know that even before the recession, we were already suffering from unemployment, low wages, and poor housing. I’m excited to see how the country is waking up to oppose a system that allows 1 percent of the people to control 42 percent of the wealth.”

The California Nurses Association, one of the many labor organizations that have showed support for OccupySF, was present at the protest. Said Pilar Schiavo, 36, a CNA organizer from Oakland, “I’m fed up with social inequity. I’m tired of corporate America buying politicians and passing laws to benefit the rich.”

“Patients are foregoing treatment and losing their healthcare. The nurses are here fighting for everyone,” she said.

Schiavo’s father, Bill, drove from Sonora to be at the protest today. A 65-year-old retired electrician, he says that the medical benefits he felt fortunate to have after retiring from a secure job have become unaffordable. “My medical benefits went up $300 a month this year. Who can afford that? Does anyone get a $300 raise? But Wall Street has benefits galore.”

Schiavo made his opinion clear about the Wall Street crisis and bailouts: “It was unbridled theft. We’re angry.”

 

Comments

They fire up and infuse the movement with even more validaton, resonance, and forward momentum.

peace

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 7:11 pm

Avalos speaks truth to financial power; just interviewed by Keith Olbermann about the Occupy movement and taking on the big banks!

See the video at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mh7rINV6Lo8#t=7m22s

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 10:26 pm

My remaining two choices?
Anyone but scumbag, bribe taking, puppet mustache Ed Lee.
He and his puppet masters seem bent on running San Francisco like mainland China, sending in the police under the cover of darkness to bust up a legal protest.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 11:16 pm

The morning part of this was really fun, very good energy. Then the Brass Liberation Orchestra left.

The arrest scenarios devolved into the same old tired incessant chanting on over amplified PA's that did not magnetize anyone to join in.

It was the same tired leftie litany of class and race and identity and oppression politics when the live item on the table that has 80% public support is evicting the finance sector from the government.

It was almost like they were trapped in the arrest scenes even though they'd not functionally disrupted bank business.

The media coverage was good as well, but most of that was the morning.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 8:28 pm

"Schiavo’s father, Bill, drove from Sonora to be at the protest today."

It's a long drive from Mexico. Must be pretty dedicated.

Other than that, good report.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 10:20 pm

No, we meant Sonora, the county seat of Tuolumne County right here in California.

Posted by steven on Oct. 13, 2011 @ 9:33 am

Terry Joan Baum, the Green Party candidate for mayor, has been down to the Occupy SF hub two times. Again, the Bay Guardian has chosen to ignore her. Get real, Bay Guardian, and listen to her message before we decide to occupy YOU!

Posted by Sue on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 10:43 pm

Even with iRV, we cannot afford even a token "pity vote" for Baum. A vote for her helps Lee get elected.

SFBG should focus on the main candidates who have a chance of finishing in the top six. I support their editorial policy.

Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 13, 2011 @ 5:14 am

Sue, I and many people been down to OccupySF more than that, but Avalos has been the one speaking at their rallies and marches and showing up in the middle of the night run to interference with the cops during their raids. Honestly, Sue, it's not our fault that the Baum campaign hasn't caught fire or that she isn't one of the "major" mayoral candidates, the qualifier that I've been using when noting the connection that Avalos has had to this movement. We're happy she's in this race, but it's not our job to pump up her electoral prospects, it's hers and it's yours.

Posted by steven on Oct. 13, 2011 @ 9:40 am

They only have one pick - Avalos.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 13, 2011 @ 10:10 am

All,

We need to -stop- employing winner-take-all thinking in our election endorsements and media coverage. This is a Ranked Choice Election!

The crucial issue here is that endorsements for and media around Baum will get radical left voters to get excited and to come to the polls in -higher- numbers and these voters will ALSO vote for Avalos.

So not only would this give Greens an important boost in visibility, but it will help give us a -better- chance to elect Avalos as our mayor.

And that all means that we should be supporting -both- candidates.

And this includes activist press which The SF Guardian clearly is.

You all need to stop thinking about this as if it is just Greens complaining about not being heard, and realize that it is Greens trying to get you to grasp that endorsing and getting the word out of both Baum -and- Avalos is a BETTER progressive strategy.

The 20th century ended 11 years ago guys.

Ranked Choice is different.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 13, 2011 @ 2:43 pm

That's what their website says, anyway.

Wells Fargo was effectively taken over by Bank One of Minneapolis many years ago, but they kept the WF name because of it's history.

Oh, and Wells was one of the better banks during the sub-prime era. They were fairly conservative and serviced their own loans rather than selling them on. The protestors should have done more research - BofA is a much more relevant target.

Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 13, 2011 @ 5:16 am

Leland Yee on October 9th issued a press release supporting the non-violent occupy Wall Street and San Francisco. The California Nurses Association marched on Wall Street the first week of September with it's proposal to raise billions in revenue by the restoration of a small one percent tax on stock transactions that was in effect until the 60s. Soup kitchens followed locally and across the nation to highlight the decline of our cities and the middle class who are seeing their jobs and salaries on the decline.
I am glad that Avalos was on Keith. This is leaderless movement that is growing beyond a single individual. Unions are joining and the messages are getting clearer about creating jobs and holding corporations accountable.
Mr. Ed is giving mixed signals on the occupy Wall street and neither Chiu, Herrera nor Adachi have said a word.

So far only Terri Baum, Avalos and Yee have voiced clear support for a growing dissatisfaction with the way things are. The only organized groups joining are labor .

Posted by Guest on Oct. 13, 2011 @ 5:37 am

You did not shut down "The Bank", you shut down a branch.

All you did was deny others like us from getting money and block other middle class individuals from getting to work..

Way to go...

You need better tactics..

Posted by Guest on Oct. 13, 2011 @ 6:02 am

Too bad you don't approve.
There's going to be a lot more of this, all over the United States.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 13, 2011 @ 6:33 am

The sit in tactic just missed the target and harmed the ones they intended to help.

Sure.. close the banks cause more layoffs and foreclosures.. I'm sure that will make friends for the cause.

Just need better tactics for change.

Using a 40 year old sit in tactic in a connected society keeps journalists employed but does little to impact organizations that use technically connected operations across large territories.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 13, 2011 @ 7:07 am

should consider paying their mortgages. Or renting.

Posted by Chromefields on Oct. 13, 2011 @ 9:00 am

I keep seeing criticism from people saying these tactics aren't good enough. I work for a 1%er and I just want to let the protestors know that it is far more effective than you know. Normally, a certain amount of wealth and power buys a ridiculous level of impunity. These people live by the guideline that they can break the law as long as no one goes after them. Even when they are sued, they have the money to have the best lawyers (and they know it). I never would have imagined that the 1%er I work for would be frightened by protests, but he is. He is afraid. These protests are only getting stronger, bigger, and spreading to more cities. So keep it going, Occupy Wall St, SF, and everywhere. Keep it loud and large. It's more powerful than you know!

Posted by Guest on Oct. 13, 2011 @ 9:16 am

The 1% are so used to impunity that they'd thought they'd cleared the table of any challenge and grown soft in so doing. Now that challenge is arising, it is as if their own insecurities are driving them to make poor choices, pushing them off balance. This is how an inchoate movement with fuzzy goals can outperform its power/weight ratio, uncooptable due to no fixed demands, but everyone knows which end is up.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 14, 2011 @ 6:59 am

That is intelligent battle strategy. Thank you for that. I'm so tired of people who complain that the protests are not focused enough. It's one thing to hear this from people who have put in decades of social justice work and it's another from people who have no experience at all with protests. This is not a situation where the rules of the game are dictated by the audience, by those who have held power, or by the people who conform to their standards. The rules are set by the participants, and I think that's precisely why it throws off the 1%.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 14, 2011 @ 1:40 pm

Senator Yee Supports "Occupy" Movement

Sunday, October 09, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO - Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) issued the following statement regarding the Occupy Wall Street and Occupy San Francisco protests:

"Nowhere else in the world is there such a disparity between the pay of executives and that of the average worker as there is in the United States.  Americans are rightfully upset that those living high on hog are getting exorbitant bonuses while at the same time issuing pink slips to their employees.  The 'Occupy' Movement is long overdue to finally put a check on corporate greed and bring some basic equity to our communities.  I support these nonviolent efforts of ordinary citizens to have their voices heard on Wall Street and in the halls of government.”

###

Posted by Guest on Oct. 14, 2011 @ 7:23 am
Posted by Guest on Oct. 14, 2011 @ 8:32 am

Unless Rose Pak or Willie Brown says so.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 14, 2011 @ 8:54 am

Yee knows that this move will potentially alienate many west side voters in his traditional base.

So this is no small move on his part. This represents Yee taking real risks to both stand up for what's right, and also shift his base to one that is more grounded in progressive politics.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 14, 2011 @ 1:46 pm

Opportunistic Democrats and much of Labor are champing at the bit to jump on the Occupy bandwagon in order to coopt it and disarm it as a structural threat to their lucrative franchise.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 14, 2011 @ 4:23 pm

Coopt to undermine? To make a deal (like FDR did) to save capitalism? You bet.

But to help yourself win this mayor's race?

Only Avalos and Baum can benefit in that way, and it is even debatable how much Avalos gains or loses. (Although I think it is a net benefit.)

But thankfully, regardless, Avalos has the integrity to join with Occupy whether it benefits him or not.

:)

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 14, 2011 @ 5:03 pm

Yes, Democrats and existing liberal entities coopting the Occupy movement for electoral advantage is going to happen because that's how the system rolls. Labor is already doing it. The nonprofits made fools of themselves on Tuesday.

I was not discussing Leland Yee, just contesting another poster's premise.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 14, 2011 @ 7:11 pm

Well marc, sometimes you're right to be cynical, but sometimes people do in fact do things for the right reasons.

I don't think LucretiaMott and the CNA are doing this to coopt the movement.

I don't think that the reason the transit workers in New York refused to use their busses for mass arrests, was in order to coopt the movement.

And while politicians are constantly looking for an angle, I don't think Avalos (or even Yee) came out in support of OccupySF in order to get their votes. (Chiu OTOH I'm not so sure about... oh yes, he did come out to the encampment today).

Call me naive, but I think they're doing it because the message resonates with them too.

Well, maybe not Chiu. But even he recognizes that it resonates with others. And if that recognition amounts to political pressure that changes policy, well good! Isn't that what movements are for?

Posted by Greg on Oct. 14, 2011 @ 11:18 pm

The California Nurses Association and its National Nurses United has put out a call for RN's with first aid/first responder training to help set up clinics at the request of many of the Occupy Wall street people in need of first aid and medical issues. Many nurses are responding just like we did during Katrina and Haiti where 100's of nurses helped.
I just signed up today to help in San Francisco.
The first clinic will be in New York.

Posted by Guest lucretiamott on Oct. 14, 2011 @ 10:48 am

@LUCIE. Brava, nice to find ourselves on the same 'side' and in agreement.
NNU & CNA ROCK.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Oct. 16, 2011 @ 1:40 pm

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