On August 8, 2018 the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to urge the United States to adopt the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and to remove the U.S. President’s sole authority to launch a nuclear attack. On July 1, 2018, KBC Bank, one of the largest banks in Belgium, passed a resolution to exclude companies “involved in the production or development of nuclear weapons.” On June 17, 2018 the Northampton, MA Quakers Meeting House completely divested, personally and organizationally, from all banks that invest in nuclear weapons manufacturers.
If you think we can’t make a difference in our battle against PNC Bank, think again.
Every picket, every letter sent, every account closed brings our world a little closer to the safety we all deserve. Our growing movement is making a difference and we hope and expect that PNC Bank will divest of its more than 600 million dollars in loans to six nuclear weapons manufacturers, which includes notorious members of the Military Industrial Complex such as General Dynamics, Orbital ATK, and BWX Technologies.
In July, the Stop Banking the Bomb campaign held its fifteenth and sixteenth actions against PNC Bank. On July 19th, we visited the PNC Tower Building in downtown Pittsburgh. The spirits of those present were buoyed as we handed out over 200 flyers and continued to make the public aware of how their deposits are being immorally used by PNC Bank. Every time we go to the PNC Tower, the police and PNC’s private security personnel keep a keen eye on us, even though we have never done anything but held respectful, peaceful pickets. This time around the head of security further limited our access to the streets surrounding the PNC Tower.
We know that PNC is scared of our band of non-violent peace warriors. The PNC Bank CEO has been seen at everyone of our protests at the Tower Building. William Demchak who makes 13 million dollars a year and manages a worldwide employee workforce of 54,000, must be very afraid if he attends all our protests. Certainly, a man of his stature has better things to do with his time than watch us march in front his building for an hour every few months. But we know that Demchak has something to worry about. He knows that movements like ours are powerful—much more powerful than his money or influence.
Nevertheless, we in the Stop Banking the Bomb campaign are not unaware of Demchak’s ability to use whatever resources he has to try to thwart our noble efforts. Demchak is notoriously well-known for his unscrupulous business practices. While at J.P. Morgan, Demchak was known by his peers as the “Prince of Darkness” for the ways he was willing to skirt ethical business practices to make more money for the capitalist class.
In an article from the New Yorker, writer John Lanchester reported, “Bill Demchak, a ‘structured finance’ star at J. P. Morgan, took the lead in creating bundles of credit-default swaps—insurance against default—and selling them to investors. The investors would get the streams of revenue, according to the risk-and reward level they chose; the bank would get insurance against its loans, and fees for setting up the deal.” Demchak’s brainchild was the start of the “sub-prime” scandal that cost U.S. taxpayers over 700 billion dollars in 2008. Instead of being in jail for defrauding the people, Bill Demchak was rewarded with the presidency of the nation’s seventh largest bank.
Our fight against PNC Bank and its investments in nuclear weapons manufacturers is an important and timely one. We must get the public to see how the Military Industrial Complex works to steal not only our tax dollars for death and destruction, but also our savings and deposits in for-profit banks that care nothing about people. PNC Bank will put profit above all of us, even if that means nuclear annihilation.
But we can fight! And we can win! Others have, and so can we!
At the March for Peace on August 25th, we will again highlight PNC’s investment in nuclear weapons manufacturers as we march with hundreds through the streets of Oakland. We hope that more new people will join our dedicated team of activists who regularly participate in our demonstrations and pickets.
We will get PNC Bank to “Stop Banking the Bomb!”