As you can see and feel from the content and tone of this Statement of Intent, the young people arrested were willing to put their lives on the line to help usher in a collective shift in values. They ask us to do so as well:
“We hope that our action, though small and rather inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, will stand as one example of the potential for individuals to seek economic and political justice within their own communities to bring about change. We shut down that event. We encourage others to shut down the next one. It is time to escalate.”
STATEMENT OF INTENT FROM THOSE ARRESTED IN THE DEMONSTRATION AGAINST JPMORGAN-CHASE AT KELLEY SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, TUESDAY NOVEMBER 29, 2011
The protest of JPMorgan-Chase at the Kelley School of Business, on November 29th, was intended to stop the recruitment of IU Students by that institution and to discourage JPMorgan recruiters from returning to the IU Campus. The demonstration was not an Occupy Bloomington or Occupy IU event. The individuals involved were a group of people united first and foremost by their opposition to an institution whose position of influence results in rule by capital and the subversion of democracy. Motivated by the sole pursuit of unsustainable, short-term profits, JPMorgan-Chase continually engages in various malignant business practices including: mountaintop removal coal-extraction, predatory lending, nuclear weapons proliferation, blatant market manipulation, clearly identifiable regulatory corruption, and massive fraud. The reality of the current U.S. economic and political system is that entities like JPMorgan-Chase and a small contingent of other financial giants, in collusion with the fossil fuel industry, major agribusiness interests, and pharmaceutical companies, effectively control our government. They write their own regulations, cut backroom deals in Congress, drive up the cost of elections, and buy elected officials through campaign funding. The Supreme Court case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010), from which came the term “corporate personhood,” allows corporations (like JPMorgan-Chase) the same free speech rights as individual citizens, meaning they can donate unlimited amounts of money, undisclosed, to election campaigns. We live in a plutocracy, not a democracy, and plutocracy is not an acceptable form of government.
Due to the complexity and enormity of the issue, it is easy to feel powerless. For many IU students and community members living comfortably, it is easy to be complacent. Those not successful in this rigged system are encouraged to blame themselves. Holding signs outside the doors of major banks is, to some extent, futile. Writing letters to politicians, who have already been bought, is similarly ineffective. In order to effect change, we must first organize within our communities to disrupt the workings of those malignant entities, where they are accessible to us. In recognition of this, those individuals who were arrested in the protest did so with the intention of preventing the recruitment of IU students by JPMorgan-Chase. We intended to send a message that we are fundamentally opposed to the existence and practices of JPMorgan-Chase, and to their presence and influence in Bloomington and at IU. We are sorry that IU students choose to pursue careers with JPMorgan-Chase; we are not sorry for preventing their access to those jobs when we had the chance. We hope that our action will inspire them to reconsider the prospect of a career with such an unethical institution. The notion that a job is inherently valuable disassociates individuals from the consequences of their actions. It is irresponsible and potentially destructive. Being a “productive member of society” is not an end in and of itself. What you produce matters, and JPMorgan-Chase produces oppression.
We stand in solidarity with the global Occupy phenomenon, though we do not support everything that has come from it. The occupation tactic addresses the fundamental problem from which most societal ills stem: the concentration of huge amounts of wealth, and therefore power, in the hands of a very small portion of the population. This state-of-affairs, which in our time has reached its worst extreme since the Great Depression, is inimical to democracy and largely accountable for war and poverty throughout human history. We hope that our action, though small and rather inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, will stand as one example of the potential for individuals to seek economic and political justice within their own communities to bring about change. We shut down that event. We encourage others to shut down the next one. It is time to escalate. Those who do not protest the injustices of the system perpetuate those injustices; inaction is complicity. The power of people in the face of oppression lies in organization and solidarity, and it is unstoppable. If others follow this example, a critical mass of dissent can be reached and justice will become global in scale.