Sometimes, the Occupy movement gets a lot undue flak from the left. This is not one of those times, as Occupy Money has announced a partnership with Visa to provide prepaid debit cards to the 99%.
Occupy Money is a spin-off of OWS that aims to “revolutionize the current financial system by offering alternative products and services based on the principles of democracy, inclusion, and fairness.”
Sounds pretty cool right? The organization has looked into purchasing a bank in the past and hasn’t ruled it out in the future. That doesn’t seem all that bad, assuming the bank didn’t take part in predatory lending and used its funds to support social justice initiatives. It’s not the overthrow of the capitalist system, but let’s take what we can get.
With their new prepaid card, Occupy Money is offering a “democratic” and “inclusive” structure that won’t turn people away. You know, in the same way used car dealerships are serving the “people” by not turning them away on account of credit checks. And, like the Occupy debit card, it works as a business because they’re still functionally fucking you.
The Occupy card “will be an individual’s debit card, a savings facility, and a ‘virtual checkbook’ all rolled into one easy-to-use package: a ‘bank on a card,'” according to their website.
Getting the card is free, because you know, social justice. Once you have it, you’ll be charged fees, which the site accompanies with a “How to Avoid” section that apologizes for gouging you. Withdrawing money from an ATM, the only way to get cash from this system, will cost you almost 2 dollars. But that’s okay, according to Occupy Money, because you can just buy things you don’t need from drugstores that offer cash back for “free.” Problems with your account? You can talk to an automated system, but it’ll cost you a dollar. Want to upgrade to a real human being? That’ll be 2 dollars.
And the people behind the project aren’t much better. As Suzahn Ebrahimian notes,
Then I read the board member bios, and went from being amused, to confused, to outright shocked. They are all clearly lifelong revolutionaries. Working for Blackberry, the federal reserve, and Deutsche bank, for example, are real resume builders when it comes to collective struggle. These neo-liberal marketing geniuses disguised as your best friend, they were our enemies before Liberty Park ever housed an occupier.
You can read more about the project from ABC News.