On the 5th of April, DCReInvest showed up in front of the Wells Fargo at 801 Penn Ave. Speakers urged all in earshot to close personal accounts with the notorious funder of the DAPL pipeline and private prisons. In addition, several speakers noted that the DC government is now legally REQUIRED to move their $2 billion in accounts out of Wells Fargo. This is due to the bank earning a “failing grade” with their ongoing housing discrimination and redlining.
While ALL banks funding the DAPL and the Keystone XL have been named as boycott targets, the organizational divestment campaign has focussed on Wells Fargo both because it is important to focus like a laser on a single target and because Wells Fargo is infamous for so many other evils. From housing discrimination to their investments in the GEO Group’s private prison hellholes, Wells Fargo is on the forefront of human misery. The detention camps and prisons for migrants Donald Trump is seeking to fill up caused the GEO Group’s stock to jump when Trump was claimed as winning the election.
DC City Council At-Large Councilmember David Grosso introduced a “sense of the council” resolution calling for divestment from Wells Fargo in the last week of March. The resolution was also supported by Council members Brianne Nadeau, Elissa Silverman, Charles Allen, Vincent Gray and Anita Bonds. Wells Fargo’s investment in the Dakota Access Pipeline along with this criminal bank’s lending to private prisons and repeated high-publicity payouts to settle charges of race discrimination and customer service problems were all cited in the resolution. With Wells Fargo’s failing grade, compliance with terms of this resolution may now be legally compulsory whether it passes the Council or not.
From the perspective of Native American history, it is no surprise that a bank originally known for their role in the theft of western Turtle Island would be involved in the Dakota Access Pipeline. Wells Fargo’s marketing brazenly trumpeting their imperialist/manifest destiny past makes this even less of a surprise. Therefore, Wells Fargo should not find it surprising that more and more cities are dumping them. One of the speakers at the rally compared the ongoing campaign to divest from DAPL and Keystone XL banks to the divestment campaign against apartheid South Africa during the 1980’s.
Also on April 5, BNP Paribas sold off all of their stake in the Dakota Access pipeline. Again as it was in South Africa and as it was for puppy-killing Huntingdon Life Sciences, bank after bank is dumping the DAPL.