April 21, 2012

Fear of Banking - A Manifesto

Fear of Banking - A Manifesto

We have done this with nakedness, flamenco dances abominable snowman suits.  The bank tellers burst out laughing, the executives scream.  Then, sometimes, we have a special feeling.  A space radiates outward from our bodies toward the tables with the deposit slips or out to desks behind the counter where the tellers stand.   We feel that horizons are wrapped around us, like a seed.  This is a completely different sensation than being a consumer.  This is a feeling that Chase or Citi or B of A would not want in their lobbies.

For customers to create non-consumerist space inside the bank would endanger the big banks' policy of robo-signing evictions, of mountaintop removal and fracking and tar sands - of C02 emissions from which it profits.  The three big American banks are among the most damaging banks in the world.  They are the top three financiers of C02 emissions, mainly through making cash available for coal power.  B of A has its famous legacy of illegal foreclosures.  These bank executives are part of what Christopher Hedges called "the protected criminal class."  

Worldwide, all economies' value adds up to about $63 trillion, but world debt is over $190 trillion.  This consensual hallucination is the Devil's mental environment - it destroys millions of lives, drains pensions, controls governments.  But it is not really debt at all.  It is a fictitious con game.  A fundamentalist church in which we are praying helplessly. 

Can we out-perform the banks?  Can we do this for the Earth?  Like the great stories that change everything?  Like Gandhi walking to the sea.  Like Emma Goldman in Union Square?  Like Dr. King at Pettis Bridge?  How do we rob a bank with our powerful story?  How can we rob a bank of its religious power, of its sense of inevitability.  How will our radical theatre work in the lobby-as-stage: its blood red décor, surveillance cameras and robotic cash machines.

The creativity begins with no fear of banking.  No fear of their signage, of their false atmosphere.  These suit-and-tie gangs must above all keep us consumers, in hock and passive. The empty sedative feeling of the bank lobby is like a mindless spa of pure consumerism.  The force of this emptiness borders on mood modifying fragrance, as if they soaked an air-wick with Xanax.  People in bank lobbies find their sassy independence reduced to impotence - they can barely get out a whisper.  The return of rebelliousness to American culture, for the Earth's sake, needs to involve the banks - not just the streets. 

Our voices ring through the pillars and marble and stainless steel.  We don't fear this old sophisticated-looking violence.  Our ritual performances near the banks' front doors cause the money in the secret vaults to vibrate.  We can scream, we can scream in harmony, we can harmonize our rage to a beat.  We've been training in this difficult terrain for years.  We Occupy Banks.