The Occupy movements around the country host a diverse group of people gathered for a multitude of reasons, but is there one thing that they all agree on? Are the views and values the same at Occupy SLC as they are at the movement in New York?
“Absolutely,” said Ryan Kropotkin, a student at the University of Utah and a participant in the movement being held at Pioneer Park. “The bottom line of our movement and the one in New York is to get money out of politics and put the political system back under control of the people where it belongs instead of with the rich one percent.”
Cindy Hammer, a real estate agent, came by the camp after work to drop off signs she makes to help support the Occupiers.
“I think more of us need to make time for this movement, not just offer our opinions and support of it but to actually come down and participate in the marches so that people do see that there are other faces that support this movement,” she said.
She thinks that the monetary influence that lobbyists and campaigns receive from the elite sways voting.
“The issue is that our voting, when it comes down to it, does not matter,” Hammer said. “What matters is how much any particular politician receives on behalf of any particular cause or company.”
Then how does the 99 percent compete with the resources, wealth and influence of the elite? Protests, picketing and marches are the face of the movement, but many criticize that no action is being taken.
Perhaps the Bank Boycott Day, which was held on November 5, could be a good start.
Spurred on by Kristen Christian of Los Angeles, who became tired of being charged bank fees at Bank of America, the event gained momentum and support throughout the country through Facebook and other social media.
The goal was to shift money from banks that received bailouts and move it to credit unions and small local banks that people respect. If one person doesn’t like how a large bank does business and takes his or her money elsewhere, big banks won’t see much effect. But if a large percentage of the customers start banking somewhere else, the results could be substantial.
What are the benefits of moving your accounts and loans to a local bank or a credit union?
Banks are for-profit corporations owned by private investors. The board of directors is chosen by stock holders. Credit unions are non-profit and owned by the members. The board of directors is chosen by the members from among the members. When a member makes a deposit (known as purchasing shares), the assets are used to make short-term loans to other members. Dividends on all earnings are then paid to the members based on shares.
There are usually requirements to join a credit union. Often you need to either be living or working where a credit union is established. Some are based on a certain type of employment.
There are over 400 credit unions in Utah. Some of the more well-known are University Credit Union and Mountain America Credit Union, which has a branch in the Student Center at the Taylorsville Redwood Campus.
Is joining a credit union going to change the country? Maybe not, but when many of the 99 percent feel powerless and are unable to join an Occupy movement, moving funds, however small, may be a step in the right direction.