From the Seattle City Council
SEATTLE – Councilmember Kshama Sawant, NoDAPL Seattle, and 350 Seattle celebrated unanimous Committee approval of Sawant’s bill to divest from Wells Fargo and adopt socially responsible banking practices. The legislation enables the City to divest from Wells Fargo, and establishes social justice as an important consideration when deciding what bank and other types of companies to use in the future.
Councilmember Sawant joined with organizers fighting against the Dakota Access Pipeline to draft this legislation, with the specific intention of divesting from Wells Fargo, one of the pipeline’s primary financiers, and establishing the most rigorous banking standards allowed under state law.
Wells Fargo was recently caught defrauding customers by creating two million fake bank accounts, and was indicted in 2012 by the US Department of Justice for engaging in racial discrimination when it scandalously sold subprime loans to black and Latino households. The bank also is a principal financier of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which impugns native sovereignty and will be deeply destructive to the planet.
“Seattle’s divestment from Wells Fargo is a stunning rebuke of Wall Street, Big Oil, and the billionaire class,” Sawant said.
“Wells Fargo executives have shamelessly profited off climate change, environmental destruction, and the brazen, unapologetic discrimination and defrauding of millions of everyday working people. The CEO may have stepped aside, but not a single executive has been punished. Instead, 5,300 lower-level workers, many of whom were forced into involvement in Wells Fargo’s despicable practices, have been scapegoated,” she added. “Thanks to the advocacy of thousands of activists and working class people, we’re going to hit Wells Fargo, the financial sector, and Big Oil where it hurts – their checkbook.”
“For five hundred years, Native peoples have fought back against genocide and resisted the destruction of our lands. This defiant movement against DAPL, begun by the Standing Rock Sioux, has united our tribes like never before. We are going to defeat this pipeline, continue to lead the fight to protect and better the Earth, and defeat Donald Trump,” said Millie Kennedy, local Indigenous leader.
“Millennials, both students and working class youth, aren’t going to stand idly by and let Wall Street and Big Oil destroy life as we know it. Climate change is real. We need a sustainable economy, we need it now, and it’s going to take mass movements to get us there. That’s why I am a socialist,” said Ezgi Eygi, Socialist Students leader, supporting the NoDAPL movement.
Full Council is scheduled to consider the Socially Responsible Banking legislation Monday, February 6 at 2 p.m.