So if I was running OWS, I'd organize some actions in which people could participate that go beyond occupying public spaces or put all the pressure on politicians to make the changes.
First of all, I'd work with local community banks and credit unions who would like more business and try to make it as easy as possible for people to move their accounts away from the big banks and into some of these alternatives. I'd suggest that not only are many people of all political persuasions pretty sick and tired of what the 5 or 6 major banks have been up to in this country - but those institutions are more interested in where people park their $ than they are in who people vote for. If movement away from them was significant - they'd feel the heat.
I did this years ago with both my personal and business accounts. Its amazing the service you get from these small local institutions where your business really matters to them!
Secondly, something I'd consider is re-financing my mortgage away from the big bank that currently holds it. This one would take some work, but folks who know the industry might work with organizers to identify mortgage companies who would offer alternatives at reasonable rates to those of us who are capable of re-financing. I certainly would rather not be paying interest to the big banks, but I don't know where else to go.
Finally, the idea that would take the most work is to give people alternatives on where to invest their money. I have a small retirement account that is invested with fund managers and have very little to no control over where that money is invested. If a trustworthy group of managers got together to review companies for the kinds of practices that promote both growth and fairness, I'd be seriously tempted to join. I'm not talking about the "social awareness" funds you see these days that simply avoid investments in things like tobacco companies. I'm thinking green energy companies that pay good wages and are fair to their employees.
This kind of thing would definitely take some work. But one of the reasons these banks became "too big to fail" is that too many of us had "skin in the game" with them. If they failed - we did too. If we had opportunities to put our money to work to make some changes, we could free ourselves up from their influence. That's what I call empowerment.
UPDATE: Right after I posted this, I read about Bank Transfer Day. (Facebook page)
Here's what Time says about it.
“Bank Transfer Day” was started by a 27-year-old Los Angeles art gallery owner named Kristen Christian. Christian says she’s not affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street protesters, but that many organizers of those demonstrations had reached out to her to express support.
Christian chose November 5 because of its association with 17th-century British folk hero Guy Fawkes, who tried to blow up the British House of Lords but was captured on that date in 1605.
Way to go Kristen!!!!!!