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← Keep Wall Street Occupied

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Showing Revision 2 created 10/30/2011 by Russ Williams.

  1. Hi!
  2. Do you get a lot of junk mail?
  3. I do. Most of the junk mail I get is unsolicited credit card offers
  4. and up until Occupy Wall Street, I used to just toss these in the bin, unopened.
  5. But Occupy Wall Street got me thinking.
  6. These offers are from the same financial institutions that ruined our economy by speculating on the housing market.
  7. This isn't junk mail, this is an opportunity for dialog.
  8. Why?
  9. Well, see, inside of every one of these credit card offers, is one of these.
  10. It's a business reply mail envelope.
  11. The banks signed contracts with the Post Office to get these envelopes,
  12. and they only pay postage on the envelopes that get mailed back.
  13. And the banks are assuming that we'll use these envelopes to send in our credit card applications,
  14. but we don't want more credit cards, do we?
  15. We certainly don't want them from the big banks that caused the financial crisis.
  16. We can use these envelopes in other ways.
  17. We can have a dialog.
  18. So, phase 1 - this is the easiest: everyone can do this.
  19. Just take the envelope, lick it, seal it, and send it back empty.
  20. It's quick, it's easy, it takes you 5 seconds at the mail box everyday,
  21. and it costs the bank about 25 cents.
  22. Now, I know, this means banks pay less for postage than we do, but please, let's have that protest another day.
  23. Phase 2 - if you want to put a little more work into it - would be to send it back full:
  24. just take all the materials that came in the envelope, put them in there,
  25. take the envelope itself, put that in there.
  26. I mean after all, the heavier the envelope is, the more it's going to cost them in postage.
  27. And then, any other junk mail you got that day that you think might be interesting to them.
  28. Like, if you got this baby product catalog, put that in there:
  29. I mean, bankers have babies, and being immoral doesn't mean you are infertile.
  30. The other thing that I do is, I send them a note.
  31. I printed out a bunch of notes on my printer and I just clip them out and I put one in with each envelope.
  32. That way, they know that this wasn't just a miscommunication.
  33. It actually was communication.
  34. This one says: "Hello, Big Bank clerk, please join the union."
  35. Now, phase 3, if you want to put a little bit of money into it, and I do mean a little bit,
  36. would be a wood shim. This is a wood shim.
  37. It's exactly what it looks like, it's a piece of wood.
  38. You can get a pack of 12 of these at a hardware store for about $1.50.
  39. Now a wood shim, when you put that in the envelope - oh, and put a message on it too,
  40. so that it's actually communication.
  41. This one is “#OWS" for Occupy Wall Street.
  42. Put the shim in the envelope and suddenly the envelope becomes really heavy
  43. and more importantly, it becomes rigid.
  44. Why does that matter? Well, a rigid mail piece costs more in postage to mail.
  45. It's why Netflix has to pay more money for their DVD mailers than you pay to send a postcard.
  46. You can go further with this idea.
  47. I think the gold standard for postage paid protest would be something like a roofing shingle:
  48. that's really heavy and dense and crumbly.
  49. But it is important that this should be about communication.
  50. So I think that - putting some sort of message, you know: clear, rational debate, a slogan,
  51. something that you saw on a good sign - I think that that matters too.
  52. Think about the scene in the mail room of a big bank when they get a few dozen roofing shingles,
  53. a few hundred wood shims and a few thousand empty envelopes.
  54. They're probably going to have a meeting about it.
  55. And that's the point of this.
  56. This isn't really about running up the postage bill on the big banks,
  57. although that's a nice side effect.
  58. The real effect of this is to force banks to react to us.
  59. If they start getting hundreds and thousands of weird reponses to their credit card applications,
  60. well, they're going to have to have meetings, they're going to have to develop new procedures,
  61. and every hour banks spend reacting to us is an hour banks don't spend lobbying Congress on how to screw us.
  62. It's an hour banks don't spend foreclosing on our houses.
  63. So I think that that's progress.
  64. Now, this postage-paid protest sort of thing, this is no substitute for getting out into the street
  65. and making your voices heard.
  66. The Occupy Wall Street movement started in the street, and for the time being,
  67. that's where the life of this protest is.
  68. But after you've been out there, lending your voice to the crowd,
  69. or if you happen to live in a city that's away from the big cities that are having major Occupy movements,
  70. go to your mail box, spend 5 seconds sorting through your junk mail, and send some stuff back to these guys.
  71. If you can't occupy Wall Street, you can at least keep Wall Street occupied.
  72. Thanks for watching.
  73. [Keep Wall Street Occupied! - Be civil. Be safe. Be heard.]