THE BLOG
04/17/2013 08:35 am ET Updated Jun 17, 2013

Calling Out the Corporate Charade

Shareholder season is upon us, marking the beginning of another round of corporate America's dog-and-pony shows held to placate their cronies and pat each other on the back for another profitable year. As corporations continue to bankrupt our economy on the backs of hardworking Americans, advocates and activists have taken on a new tactic of targeting these sham shareholder meetings; we've been invading those corporate charades in order to get our voices heard. And how have big corporate entities responded? They reacted just like so many criminals have when they're exposed.

They ran.

They ran for the shelter of Salt Lake City and Boise, where they could hold their annual meetings without the interruptions from the loud, organized communities in metropolitan areas like New York and San Francisco. Today, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, US Bank, Peabody Coal and other corporations are attempting to hide in boardrooms in smaller towns across the country, hoping to minimize the access and attention of the homeowners, students, and everyday Americans their policies exploit. It seems to be part of a larger strategy to wait us out: hoping that once the economy improves and people get back to work, our nation will forget about holding corporations accountable for the irrevocable damage they've done to our economy.

Unfortunately, the economy hasn't improved for anyone but CEOs and the one percent, and our strategic collaboration of 99% power groups has only just kicked off its long-term plan to counter the undue influence that the 1% exert on our economy and our democracy.

Expanding on the space opened by the Occupy movement, 99% Power is working to define the one percent by naming names, and identifying executives like John Stumpf, Rob Walton, Brian Moynihan, and Albert Lord who prioritize their own bank account balances on the backs of our families. Starting this month as shareholder season gets underway, we'll take on the biggest offenders, responding to increased public outrage over soaring corporate profits and dwindling paychecks for workers.

First, homeowners and students facing crushing interest rates will join the Wells Fargo shareholders at their meeting in Utah. Then, Walmart workers battling inconsistent scheduling and retaliation for speaking out will deliver letters demanding full-time employment to store management in several cities. Then they'll head to the company's big meeting in Arkansas later this year. And next month, students facing crippling loan burdens will take their case to Delaware and the shareholders of the nation's largest private student loan processor - Sallie Mae - just after the first anniversary of student debt topping $1 trillion.

But this year, in addition to targeting bad actors individually, the 99% Power movement will shed light on the billions of dollars these companies and their executives pour into political advocacy to protect the tax loopholes and interest rate windfalls helping them expand their wealth at the expense of the rest of us.

But we say no more. The 1% can run, but they can't hide. The 99% and everyone working together in the 99% Power movement will continue to confront corporate power directly and hold the one percent accountable for the havoc they've wreaked on the economy. Join us as we work to rebuild an economy where working people, students and families have the opportunity to earn a seat at the table.