Occupy MN and TakeAction Minnesota storms Wells Fargo [UPDATE]

Categories: Protest News
Wells_Fargo_Center_Minneapolis_entrance_1.jpg
This fancy building doesn't know what it's got coming.
This week, Minneapolis will be witness to a confluence of local protest entities, starting today at 11 a.m., when organizers from TakeAction Minnesota will converge at the Government Plaza and try to woo Occupy MN participants into following them in a march to the Wells Fargo Center.

It probably won't be a hard sell.

"It's been in the works for a number of weeks, and it does happen to coincide with Occupy MN," says TakeAction spokeswoman Greta Bergstrom. "It's really important that we make big banks pay."

And man, do they have plenty to do it with: According to a report out this morning, Wells Fargo had record earnings this year. Quiet down you rabble-rousers! What recession?

TakeAction is no friend of the big banks -- the route to the Wells Fargo Center, located at 7th Street and Maruqette Avenue, will include a purposeful passing of Ameriprise and US Bank -- but the march intends to get the attention of the Washington D.C. "Super Congress" tasked with passing a bill to close the federal deficit. Bergstrom says the idea is to urge federal lawmakers to tax big banks, corporations and big pharma to close the hole, sparing cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

occupy mn banks sign.jpg
This man has a funny sign and a serious point.

Marchers will illustrate this point by wearing large red foam fingers to "point out" who should be paying the debt.

"They won't say '#1' on them," says Bergstrom.

Originally, TakeAction organizers anticipated a modest turnout of about 250 marchers, but with the Government Center conveniently filled with hundreds of young activists, they now believe the event will draw significantly larger numbers.

TakeAction doesn't have permission to march in traffic and is planning to stick to the sidewalks -- let's see if the middle-lane-loving Occupy MN participants will adhere to that.

The people inside the Wells Fargo Center will have trouble noticing the din over the noise of champagne bottles popping. This morning, Bloomberg News is reporting that Wells Fargo has had a record year, with something like $15 billion in earnings.

The march is just the start of what should be an eventful week of protest activity. Though Occupy MN was conceptualized as a solidarity campaign for Occupy Wall Street two weeks ago, organizations like TakeAction and Minnesotans for a Fair Economy are capitalizing on what seems to be the collective national dissatisfaction driving various Occupy movements in dozens of cities throughout the country.

Check back to find out what else is in store for Minneapolis's 99 percent this week.

UPDATE: When City Pages first spoke to Occupy MN protesters about their march on Wells Fargo, it sounded like they were going to stay outside the building and shout.

Looks like they changed their minds. This photo, taken from inside the Wells Fargo Center, shows the Occupy MN horde filling the indoor lobby. What they're doing or saying remains to be seen, but it looks like they number at least 100 in this image, and would probably be a pretty loud nuisance to the bankers.

wfprotesters.jpg
Jake Encinas

SECOND UPDATE: Here, from a Wells Fargo employee, is a first-hand description of just what happened when Minnesota's protest movement raided the Wells Fargo Center lobby.

It was pretty crazy stuff. I was walking out of the elevator and the lobby was empty, but I did see a large crowd outside. At first it looked like they might have been waiting for a bus to come. But when they camp pouring in through the doors with signs, shouting together, I knew it Occupy MN was making the rounds downtown.

It couldn't have lasted more than 10 minutes, but you could hear them filling the skyway with chanting. They pulled in onlookers to the balcony above. People had to see what was going on. After a bit longer it was time for them to leave and they carefully shuffled out the way they came in, pouring back onto the street.

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34 comments
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Linda Iverson Moser
Linda Iverson Moser

Dude, this reminds me.   Close my Wells Fargo accounts and invest the money in my local credit union!!

Linda Iverson Moser
Linda Iverson Moser

Dude, this reminds me.   Close my Wells Fargo accounts and invest the money in my local credit union!! 

amalone
amalone

Fleabaggers....well, at least their out of their parents house for a few days anyway.

Robbed 1
Robbed 1

Wells Fargo deserves a swift kick to the head. I missed 1 payment on their credit card a few years ago and they shot up my interest to 28%! 28! Why in the F would anyone defend those thieves? I explained to them that it was my first card and that I missed the payment by mistake. I also explained that I was a full time student that was unemployed. Nothin. No second chance. I had to use a student loan to pay it off the following semester. They steal money, food, and homes from the poor. Wake up and smell the corporate corruption.

East Coast Doug
East Coast Doug

Hey it's like, like, really heavy, man, it's groovy.  

Yeah, no more debts, and all that sh*t.  It's peace, love, another bowl - just buds and leaves.

I heard this all in 1969.

Michelle Bachmann
Michelle Bachmann

It's annoying how stupid you Wells Fargo supporters are.   Wells Fargo and banks like them made poor lending decisions which contributed to the housing bubble.   When the bubble burst all those foreclosures decreased the value of everyone's houses.  Did you get a piece of the bailout for the lost value of your home?     Before you say the idiotic Republican talking point blaming this all the on the subprime lending know that makes up a very small part of the market.   Foreclosures most decimated new construction and commercial property.   Those have nothing to do with poor people.    Since the bailout Wells Fargo has made record profits and paid their CEO nearly $20 million dollars a year.   Wells Fargo made 2.5 billion in profit in 2010, I think they can afford to pay a little bit more in taxes so we can hire some teachers, cops, and firemen. 

webcelt
webcelt

This is a blog post so I hardly expect a lengthy report on Wells Fargo, but to the commenters jumping to conclusions, I suggest looking into legal problems this company has had. Just saying that before you write things like "Wells Fargo is innocent..." just do a fact-check. Maybe there's a reason they were targeted. US Bank would have been a much more convenient place to enter being right across the street from Government Plaza.

Johnny
Johnny

Look at all of the geeks........  Better than an old-tyme non-PoCo circus freak show.  And about as effective.  How many of these 'protesters' even vote?  How many of them are involved in the political or legislative processes?

Wells Fargo Protester
Wells Fargo Protester

As one of those protesters Johnny...I do vote and am involved in the legislative process(I was even an intern in the state senate for a time), as are a lot of the other protesters.

This protest is not about a corporation being successful or going to a Communist system(ok maybe some of the more hippish protesters want that), or about saying that the people who work at Wells Fargo didn't work hard for their success.

It is about Wells Fargo using lobbyists to create tax loop holes, all while they had taken tax payer dollars to bail them out in 2008. It is also trying to send the message about closing tax loopholes to increase revenue instead of cutting healthcare for the most vulnerable among us.

Mn Voter
Mn Voter

I believe WF did NOT want the money but were forced by the Fed and Treasury to take it so the sheeple did not know which banks were insolvent. They also paid it all back with interest. Unlike GE who has screwed this country.

Just curious, did you intern with a Republican or Democrat?

Also, are you happy that wall street just announced 10,000 layoffs?

Johnny
Johnny

Corps and lobbyists can't do a thing without the intimate and active participation of the legislators AND their staff members.  Wells Fargo (and the far more egregious General Electric) didn't create or pass legislation.  If legislators and their staffers would grow a figurative 'set of balls' corps would have a lot less power.  I blame the players here.  The game sucks, but the players are to blame.  Yes, your favorite legislator, the one you're on first name basis with, the one you interned for, is the dirty skanky whore here.

OZ
OZ

"Bergstrom says the idea is to urge federal lawmakers to tax big banks, corporations and big pharma to close the hole, sparing cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid."

No, no, no! Revenue increases need to happen but they can't come from increased taxes on corporations. Our corporate tax is incredibly high and the tax system rife with loopholes, two opposites which put huge returns on 'investing' in tax evasion.  Close the loopholes, cut the corporate tax rates, require US companies to have taxable headquarters in the US, and fill in the rest from marginal tax increases on extremely high salaries and bonuses.Revenue gains need to be achieved in a smart way, it's not just a question of where the money comes from.

Stanley
Stanley

This was probably just mathematically challenged individuals angry about overdraft fees.

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

So how long until someone poops on a cop car?  Have ya seen that photo circulating around?

I have a good idea.  Let impose more taxes on the banks.  Then lets all watch as they pass this on to bank customers.  

The TRUE trickle down effect.

jww
jww

Raise your hand if you're surprised that Kirk has a poop fetish.

I thought so.

ludwigtr
ludwigtr

yeah, cause we've been waiting for the opposite trickle down for over three decades now...how's that coming by the way?

Olson
Olson

There are several non-bank businesses located in the Wells Fargo building. In fact, the non-bank businesses take up much more space than bank businesses. Why should they suffer because of these protests?

Johnny
Johnny

So the cluetards are going to march on a retail banking branch staffed by wage slaves located in a building no longer owned by the evil empire?  That will be effective........

GH
GH

It's not simply the record earnings. It's the record earnings while not paying taxes, committing fraud, and foreclosing on homes that either don't legally need to be foreclosed on or foreclosing on homes the bank doesn't even own. The front line of any company should be well played and pleasant to deal with, just as all companies should pay taxes as a company...not as an individual or, at all.

Guy
Guy

many accusations of this "fraud" you mention come from people who are woefully irresponsible with their finances who then feel victimized when banks act within their rights to enforce policies. I've been charged overdraft fees, and I've always recognized that I'm at fault for the overdrafts and should pay the fee. And the few times that the overdrafts were a result of mismanagement on WF's end, I called their customer service and they dropped the fees with no argument. People seem to think that there just shouldn't be any consequences for acquiring more goods than you have the means to pay for.

as for the accusation of "not paying taxes," if they really aren't paying taxes, they should have already been pursued by the IRS, and if the IRS has done nothing, then protest the IRS. I'm willing to bet that a lot of people wouldn't pay taxes if they knew they wouldn't be punished.

HurdyGurdy
HurdyGurdy

Being legally allowed to enforce intentionally-complicated finance rules is much different than morally acceptable profit and acountability. Credit cards and mortgages are designed to be confusing, and bankers preyed on citizen ignorance (cultivated by an education system that discourages critical thinking) by convincing them that second mortgages were a great idea, just like banks and schools telling students that huge loans were the right way to go.

a
a

Like I said - look into the lobbying that goes on to give these companies tax breaks.  It's just not sustainable.  If you are a business that creates jobs - good on you.  If you need tax breaks and government subsidies - then it's not obviously sustainable for a private entity.

Matt Entzion
Matt Entzion

Record profits?!  Of course they must be protested!  What other logical course of action is there during a tough economy but to protest those that perform!  That should be a warning to any other enterprise that even thinks about performing well!  Employees do your jobs well...company prospers...YOU WILL BE TARGETED!!!!

Guy
Guy

that pretty much encapsulates the inanity of these protests.

a
a

I am sure if you did your research you will observe that that they too benefited from the crazy amount of lobbying that went on to "save" the financial system.

Guy
Guy

as did you.

JoeSway
JoeSway

Hmm, a lynx parade and a takeaction march in the same downtown at the same time...

Guy
Guy

Wells Fargo has always been very good to me. Seriously, they're entitled to their "record earnings." My checking account is free and their employees and customer service people are always friendly, and not in a "we're being friendly because we have to be" kind of way. If these protesters don't like Wells Fargo, then they don't have to do their banking there. America is a consumer society, and therefore we have a built-in means of protest--dollars. Think Wells Fargo is evil? Then don't give them your money.

ludwigtr
ludwigtr

Yep, they sure do have that right.  But in an economic situation like this, where there are so many people fighting every day to feed themselves, or trying to pick what bill to pay, either keeping the electricity on or buying medicine for your kids...  I would like to see a large corporation such as this do their part to try to help the people, instead of taking advantage of them and posting record profits.  I realize it's the business's right to run as it pleases, do whatever it wants in fact...  but I'd like to see some form of help your fellow man kind of attitude.

Mrcommonsense49
Mrcommonsense49

We don't live in a socialist country yet.  Corporations don't HAVE to do what YOU think is right.  Make some better choices in life, maybe cut your dreads, skip the facial tats and odd piercings.  It makes finding jobs that pay you enough to buy a house and eat regularly, much easier.  Sorry if being a blogger or social rights advocate doesn't pay much.  Not many people were handed high-paying jobs.  Most of us worked our asses off for years to make a comfortable living.  Quit being lazy and expecting others to pay your way. 

Mn Voter
Mn Voter

You want to see a large corporation help the people: Sh$t Head they are responsible for over 50,000 families that work for them and millions of home owners. Get real...check out the SEC and IRS publications and learn how much WF contributes to charity.

This group is nothing but a anti-jewish front group funded by democrats who hate jews. Get serious people. You have kids then you take care of them. Be responsible for yourself because there is NO Free Lunch like Obama promised.

Mn Voter
Mn Voter

Ha Ha. Just like those crazy congressman calling the tea party people "racists". The 1% solution is clearly anti-semitic. Those jew bankers need to be brought to justice? Sounds like Nazi Germany to me.  

Guy
Guy

I was shocked to agree with something that Mn Voter posted, and then I read that second paragraph. You almost had me, you crazy bastard!

HurdyGurdy
HurdyGurdy

Thanks for the update CP! Maybe you could include links to occupymn.org or occupytogether.org for people who want more info. Also, there's a ton of Occupied City twitter feeds worth following for recent events, like the mass Boston arrests that had cops pushing over veterans and taking female protestors to "undisclosed" locations. Solidarity!

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