Chanting “That ain’t right” and “Wells Fargo, you’re the worst, time to put the people first!”, the National People’s Action (NPA) occupied three Wells Fargo banks today.
The NPA says that 1,000 community leaders from 25 states shut down three Wells Fargo branches to denounce the bank’s ties to private prisons and payday lending. The event included testimony from Abel Pacheco’s whose 11 year-old daughter was detained — alone — in a private detention center for 84 days.
The anger was palpable as George Goehl, executive director, National People’s Action, explained the injustice, “If they can’t make money ripping you off, they’ll make money by locking you up.”
NPA writes, “Wells Fargo borrows from the federal government at virtually 0 percent interest, lends it to private prison companies at interest rates as low as 3 percent, all while charging their own customers an average of 276 percent interest on their account-based payday loan product.
Wells Fargo is a major investor in the two largest private prison operators in the country, the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group. These companies fill their prisons by spending millions of dollars on lobbying to keep the immigration and criminal justice systems broken. Wells Fargo and these companies make money — with taxpayers footing the bill — on every cell that is filled. They increase their profits by skimping on food and medical care.”
The GEO Group used to be a unit of the infamous private prison company known as Wackenhut Corp. GEO manages 61 facilities, encompassing approximately 60,000 beds worldwide.
While there are no official attendance numbers available yet for this event, one thing is clear; the people are exercising their right to peaceably protest, and they will not be going anywhere soon. The question is how long will it take until lawmakers start hearing the people’s demands for a little fairness?