I advise you all to get a copy of the November 2010 issue of Playboy, and not just because lovely UFC ring-girl Arianny Celeste gets her kit off on page 80.
No. The real reason you should get this sterling publication is because it contains an explanation of how ordinary consumers could band together and destroy one of America’s 4 largest investment banks (Wells Fargo, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citibank).
The best part about it is: it could actually work. And would work just as well, in almost any country in the world.
Flash back to March when a blogger (who has the awesome pseudonym of ‘Edmundo Braverman’) published an article on wallstreetoasis.com called ‘Tank-a-Bank’. He detailed a 7 step plan that would allow ordinary consumers to put the fear of god into bankers and force government to enact legislation that would protect consumers and prevent another crash.
I will now detail and explain the 7 steps but in essence the plan revolves around hitting banks in the only place where it hurts: money. This is done by simply taking the money out. But that is just for starters.
1.) Give it a name
This might seem either obvious or unnecessary but it isn’t either. Names are important. Firstly, because they give the group an identity and an easy way to talk about what’s going on. I mean there is a reason why we have names for things ;)
Secondly, a catchy name starts off a vital part of the Tank-A-Bank process: media attention. The ‘New York Islamic Community Centre’ gets no press at all. The ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ gets more than it wants.
Gather online signatures for the proposal. Use Facebook groups, YouTube, Twitter, Avaaz.org and so on, to popularise the idea.
No. Especially 4chan.
Use your list of proposed changes to tell people what they are fighting for, and why it’s important.
Get the interested people to sign a petition stating how much money they plan to withdraw. This nails things down into concrete terms.
You should even try to get the Tea Party Movement involved.
No, I’m not kidding. They are supposed to be about opposing the bailouts. Let’s see them put their money where their mouths are.
3.) Mainstream Media
Organise small flash-mob protests outside banks. Keep this up until mainstream media is talking about it. Force the banks’ talking heads to debate with protest organisers on TV and radio talk-shows, and elsewhere.
It goes without saying: make sure protest organisers know what they are talking about.
Keep mentioning that there is nothing to prevent another financial crisis and that banks are still gambling with toxic products.
This step might be the most important, because every time someone in the media debates these issues it promotes change, even if the Tank-A-Bank itself fails.
Educating people about the flaws in the banking system is something that needs to happen. This can be a part of that process.
4.) Deliver a hard copy of the demands to the four banks
Try and get media attention on this as well, naturally.
Remind the banks that only one of them is going to take a hit, but they don’t know which one it will be.
The list of demands describes a month-long window. Somewhen within that window one of the banks is going to get hit.
The large window and the uncertainty of the attack means that the banks have to keep guessing about what to do and how to do it.
5.) Broader Pressure
Protests at banks escalate and pressure around the issue is applied in any way possible.
Letters or phone calls to politicians and legislators telling them not to bail out the chosen bank.
Media attention becomes reinvigorated with attention-seeking behaviour by the more “exuberant” members of the protest. Prank calls, black faxes. Attacks on bank CEOs (or their cars) using shaving cream and eggs. Even a good ol’ fashioned DDOS of one of the banks’ websites.
The point is to keep media attention focussed on the issue, keep participants interested, and keep the financial markets scared shitless.