For Immediate Release
Activists Scale Flagpole Behind Iconic Merrill Lynch Bull, Raise 150-Square Foot American Flag with ‘Foreclosed?’ Stamped On It
NEW YORK - With the economy in tatters and Congress fumbling for answers, activists with Rainforest Action Network (RAN) scaled the 40-foot flagpoles behind the iconic Wall Street bull in New York's financial district today to raise an American flag with the word "Foreclosed?" emblazoned across the front. An accompanying 30 plus person rally called for an end to Wall Street's reckless financial practices that threaten to foreclose on America's future, while demonstrators carried signs reading "families before financiers" and "our money, our planet, our future."
"The irresponsible and risky decisions made on Wall Street have led to an economic crisis that strikes the very heart of America," said Jennifer Krill, program director for RAN. "It's time to take the power back from the financial giants that have acted with impunity and left American taxpayers to foot the bill for their mistakes."
With the unprecedented nationalization of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and Lehman Brothers' filing of the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history, actions already taken by the Federal Reserve are themselves an admission that the institutions that makeup the U.S. financial system are broken.
Today's ralliers called on Wall Street bankers to look beyond a potential bailout to the underlying cracks this crisis has exposed in the financial system, and to consider structural solutions that put families before financiers and the planet before profits.
"It is time to stop the decades of risky financial behavior that is now mortgaging our homes and our planet," said Samantha Corbin, one of the climbers of the 40-foot flagpole. "Wall Street's recklessness is threatening our homes, our savings and our future."
For the past eight years, RAN's Global Finance Campaign has urged America's leading financial institutions to take responsibility for the impacts of their investments and to recognize the financial and reputational risks inherent in directing vast sums of capital toward environmentally unsustainable and socially unjust projects-from rainforest destruction and oil extraction to the construction of coal-fired power plants. The campaign has called for an economic and financial system that operates within ecological limits.
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"Today's crisis can be tomorrow's opportunity," said Krill. "Our financial system is collapsing and we now have an historic chance to address. We can start by laying the foundation for a new, sustainable economy based on justice and fairness rather than corruption and greed."
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Rainforest Action Network campaigns to break America's oil and coal addictions, protect endangered forests and Indigenous rights, and stop destructive investments around the world through education, grassroots organizing, and nonviolent direct action.