Arianna Huffington’s Consumer Empowerment Declaration

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[Publisher's Commentary]

Viva Arianna Huffington.

For several weeks I've been advocating a consumer uprising during my Sunday weekly appearances on Imhotep Gary Byrd's radio show on WBLS/WLIB at 9PM.

I called on people to organize and conduct protests in front of major banks such as Goldman Sachs Group to demand that these banks lend money to businesses in their communities; especially places like Harlem and Bedstuy, in New York, and other communities with predominantly Black residents.

The reason I called for this is that the huge banks --including JP Morgan Chase; Bank of America; Wells Fargo; and CitiGroup-- have benefitted from multi-billion dollar bailout from the federal government, essentially recovered, and have yet to lend significant monies to small businesses--least of all, Black-owned businesses.

My call did not generate any calls to me for more information or any such protest that I am aware of.

Now, Arianna Huffington, the founder of has come up with a much better and more effective strategy than the idea I promoted on Gary Byrd’s show. Huffington has leveraged the platform of her website to call for an even better and much for effective form of protests--she is calling on consumers to withdraw their money from the big banks and to make deposits at their community banks.

You know Huffington was on to something when Larry Kudlow, an apologist for classical "free market capitalism," which only intellectually dishonest people continue to embrace in light of the lessons of the past year, launched a vicious attack on Huffington calling it a "semi goofy idea." When Huffington counter-punched, pointing out that he once predicted the Dow would be at 50,000 Kudlow started crying like a little puppy. Go Arianna Huffington! She beat Kudlow up like she was his daddy.

Of course all banks, including community banks have risks and in fact more than 100 community banks have failed in recent years. But Huffington is offering a good suggestion. She says anyone considering the advice she offers should first visit where they will be able to enter their zip code and get information about the best performing community banks in their neighborhood.

I fully endorse Huffington's suggestion and I myself will make sure that I open an account this week at my community bank, which happens to be Carver, in Harlem and is also on the list at CARVER FEDERAL SAVINGS BANK, 75 West 125th Street, New York, NY 10027.

Huffington says more than 3,000 people have posted comments on her website in response to her advice and that some consumers have videotaped themselves as they withdraw their money from the big banks.

This is a good thing: for consumers to be able to exercise such power and end the monopoly of these banks, who have resumed multi-million dollar bonus payments to their executives even while families and businesses continue to suffer throughout this country.

This strategy can also apply to all sorts of services. For example, if health insurers continue to deny consumers access to affordable coverage, why should we even wait until the healthcare reform Bill to kick in 2014? Why not start cancelling policies and shifting to insurers that offer affordable and comprehensive coverage?

I'm about to call Huffington to see how to collaborate with her in extending this Consumer Empowerment strategy.

Please post your comments directly online or submit them to [email protected] for publication

“Speaking Truth To Empower.”


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