Challenge the broken banking system by moving your money

31 January 2012

Guest post by James Angel, used to be campaigns and policy intern

Remember 2008? After decades of unchecked greed and corruption, the neoliberal house of cards finally toppled over, leaving us with the worst economic crisis since the great depression. The big banks have been gambling with our money for years but, as we all know, the costs of the crisis – the unemployment, the lost homes, the austerity measures – have been borne by us. 

Since the crisis, public bail-outs to the tune of several hundred billion pounds have quickly secured a return to record profits and bonuses for the guilty banks. At the same time, their destructive activities have only increased. As has been exposed by the World Development Movement, since the 2008 housing crash banks like Goldman Sachs and Barclays have turned to betting on food as a new means of extracting profit. Financial speculation on food commodities markets has pushed up food prices, leaving the world’s poorest people unable to afford to eat.

In its starkest moment of crisis yet, neoliberalism’s true colours have been made plain for all to see: whilst the banks are ‘too big to fail’, people’s lives can slip by the wayside. Challenging the power of the banks is going to require a widespread popular movement for economic justice. We have to make ourselves too big to fail. 

How can this be done? There are many inspiring campaigns and groups across the world that are standing up against the power of the guilty banks and financiers whilst promoting fair and democratic alternatives. One such exciting project, launching today, is Move Your Money UK. The project provides an easy way for people to take action against the banks: withdraw your money from them. The idea isn’t that we should start hiding our money under our beds. Rather, Move Your Money encourages us to look to localised financial alternatives like credit unions and community development finance institutions

Not only does moving your money to these alternative institutions challenge our broken banking system, smaller community institutions and credit unions often provide better rates and fees and more personalised services. What’s more, investing in these local alternatives ensures that your money goes towards boosting your community, as opposed to lining the pockets of the wealthy.

The Move Your Money project has achieved fantastic success in the US. Given the scandal of Stephen Hester’s £1m bonus, it is clear that now, more than ever, people in the UK need to move their money as well. 




The Paris attacks make climate protests more important than ever

18 November 2015

It will be deeply ironic if climate activists from around the world are among the first to fall foul of France's emergency powers. Of course, those campaigners have nothing to do with the brutal attacks on Paris last Friday night. On the contrary, they will challenge the unequal, unsustainable and militaristic policies on which terrorism has thrived.

Food speculation rules face delay

16 November 2015

The financial press was buzzing last week with reports that the high profile EU legislation to tackle the financial crisis of 2007-8 is at risk of being delayed. This legislation was passed at the beginning of 2014 and thanks to public campaigning here in the UK and across Europe, includes provisions to tackle reckless betting on food prices.

The elephant in Paris – guns and greenhouse gases

13 November 2015

There is no shortage of words in the latest negotiating document for the UN climate negotiations taking place in Paris at the end of November – 32,731 words to be precise and counting. Yet strangely there is one word you won’t find: military. It’s a strange omission, given that the US military alone is the single largest user of petroleum in the world and has been the main enforcer of the global oil economy for decades.