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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Kick off rally against corporate greed set for Sat. Dec. 10 at 11:00 am

Occupy Wall Street movement spreads to Somerville as residents vow to close accounts at Bank of America branch in Davis Sq.

Local residents will rally to reign in corporate greed and address growing inequality in Somerville and the United States. The rally will be in Davis Sq at 11:00 am on Dec. 10, 2011.

Participants will show their support for fundamental changes to our economic and political systems for a society that prioritizes the needs of all before the profits of the few. Occupy Somerville is inspired by the larger occupy movement that originated in New York. The group is comprised of diverse range of local residents including students from nearby Tufts University.

"We want to focus attention on the $11 trillion in bailout funds given to the banks and their stranglehold on American life and politics," said Matt McLaughlin, a leader of Save Our Somerville and one of the Occupy organizers. "Business wants the same freedoms as individuals, but they don't pay taxes like individuals. When they make a mistake, they put the burden on the taxpayer. But if we slip up once, they raise their rates, charge penalty fees and take our homes. Bottom line: banks got bailed out, we got sold out."

Organizers are encouraging Somerville residents to join a national divestment campaign targeting Bank of America and other major financial institutions because of the havoc they have wreaked on our economy and the lives of countless Americans.

"We can march until our feet fall off, but the best way to show executives at Bank of America is to take our money elsewhere," said Rae Axner, a Tufts University student and Somerville resident. "Until we hurt them financially, they will continue to ignore customers' needs and rake in super-profits at our expense."

"Bank of America did not pay any federal taxes in 2010 or 2009. Despite being propped up by the government bailout, it's planning to layoff 30,000 workers over the next few years," said Rand Wilson, a Somerville resident who will be among a group of local depositors seeking to close their accounts at the Davis Sq. branch on Saturday. "People can make a real difference by supporting local businesses and putting our money in local banks or credit unions."

"I want to take a stand against unjust bank practices," said Spencer Beswick, a Peace and Justice Studies major at Tufts. "Far too many college students are facing huge debts and an awful job market. We need to do everything in our power to make the system fair for everyone, not just the elite members of the 1%."

The rally will feature short speeches by local residents and students, colorful signs and chants, and Somerville's Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band.

Based on feedback from participants, organizers are hoping to hold Somerville’s first “General Assembly” meeting within a few days of the rally.

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