ICAN leaders demonstrated leadership in shutting down the Wells Fargo Shareholders Meeting
The next step on our campaign to take on the big banks pay and win relief for homeowners is to disrupt business as usual at shareholder meetings across the country. The goal of these actions is to build off the fall mobilizations and the Occupations to keep up the street heat holding the 1% (the bank executives) accountable for, in this case, the continued foreclosure on families across the country.
The Alliance played a leadership role in this action to shut down business as usual at Wells Fargo’s annual shareholders meeting on April 24th. The setup started in the weeks leading up to the shareholders meeting, when groups created a drum beat with local actions. For example, ICAN members in Lewiston mobilized Wells for their negative tax rate, despite making record profits.
Idaho Community Action Network joined other Alliance for a Just Society organizations including Make the Road NY and Washington CAN who sent leaders to San Francisco holding proxies to disrupt the circus. Wells Fargo executives take an annual ceremonious walk from their world headquarters across the street to the Mercantile Exchange where to their annual shareholders meeting. The presence of 1500 protesters stopped this self congratulatory dog and pony show which typically exhibits fancy suited businessmen patting each other on the back for another year of record profits.
Leni Juca (MRNY) & Diana Corcrran (ICAN) were selected to link arms with our brothers and sisters from across the country and lead the crowd of 1,500 people through the streets of San Francisco to the Mercantile Exchange Building.
ICAN leaders stepped up to lead an affinity group highlighting Wells investment in the payday lending industry. These groups of proxy holders were poised to raise issues inside the Shareholders meeting.
All of AJS staff and leaders and another 200 protesters held proxy shares and ready to attend the shareholder meeting and raise our demands from the inside. Not surprisingly, John Stumpf (Wells Fargo CEO) and his board of directors hid behind the SF police who barricaded every entrance to the building. Wells Fargo played a cat and mouse game shuffling shareholders from entrance to entrance in the end denying them their legal right to participate. Twenty-five of our allies managed to make it upstairs and shut down the meeting.
ICAN leaders ended the day excited to kickoff the season of shareholder meetings confronting corporate power raising issues including: CEO compensation, corporate money in the coming elections, investments in the prison industrial complex, fair mortgages and principle write down. This action set a high standard for a season of our communities confronting corporate power.
ICAN leaders convened after the activities and penned letters to the editor.