Zoe Sullivan at Next City wrote an excellent article featuring our own Sylvia Chi and Paul Pryde, along with Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, Cathy Jackson-Gent of Global Investment Company (authors of the feasibility study), and YaVette Holts of Bay Area Organization of Black-Owned Businesses. Sullivan has a great grasp on what matters to us. Here’s YaVette Holts as quoted in the article:
“People came together after Ferguson to think about what we could do to take our money out of this system and keep it in our communities,” says Holts. Those conversations, she says, led to the birth of BAOBAB. When she learned about the public bank initiative, Holts says it was clearly a natural fit.
“[A public bank] would create a resource of funding that would be accessible to our constituents for major things like buying a home or starting a business,” says Holts.
“In light of the gentrification that’s going on,” she adds, Oakland needs to, “step up and help the populace with something like this.”
The divestment movement was a direct response to the exploitation of our communities and our environment. Individuals, organizations, cities, states and nations across the globe rose up against this unjust system, selling off unethical investments and pulling money out of banks. Trillions of dollars have been divested from the fossil fuel industry alone, sending a clear signal to the world that the people will no longer accept economic slavery. Enough is enough.
However divestment alone is insufficient. What comes after divestment is just as important. When fossil fuel investments are sold off, we need to reinvest in renewable energy and a just transition to a fossil free world. When individuals divest from Wall Street banks, they need to reinvest in ethical, responsible community banks and credit unions. But what options do we have for massive divestments, like the City of Los Angeles divesting from Wells Fargo bank as a result of the powerful grassroots movement in LA? …
Public banking will not only allow us to fully divest from Wall Street banks and their unethical investments, it will provide us with the power to create money through lending. Why do we allow Wall Street banks the near monopoly on money creation, when the power should be in the hands of the people? There is no justification for the stranglehold big banks have over our economies.