Contributed by Ugly
On Saturday 8 October, group calling itself Market Forces held a small rally at Melbourne at Federal Square and in other centres around Australia. This was part of a wider effort to force the big four banks to divest investments in fossil fuels.
Market forces is an affiliate project of Friends of the Earth, which is examining banks, super funds and government and their involvement funding fossil fuels. network.
About 100 people attended in Melbourne, listened to a male choir “The Men in Suits,” who were very good and sung some more traditional songs, plus one written by them for the occasion which condemned the banks.
Those of us who participated, divided into four groups and walked to each of the four major banks. Each group to their own specific bank, where those taking part went in and cancelled their accounts, explaining that it was due to the bank still funding fossil fuels.
The Commonwealth Bank in Swanston St had closed at noon, to prevent access. They had told their inconvenienced customers that it was because of demonstrations. Several of these customers were interested to find out just why the bank had shut them out on a Saturday afternoon, when many traders needed to deposit their takings.
Actions like this highlights to the banks that they are being watched and judged on how they operate, responsibly or not.
It is showing them that there are far more important things than maximising profits, paying high dividends to shareholders. If they want the business of the general thinking public, they have to be responsible to the public interest in what they do and who they fund.
Market forces plans to use more creative methods to get its message to the public and force the banks and other institutions to take notice.