Peter Deutsch, Secretary, and Nancy O’Leary, President of Beaver County Peace Links send their Stop Banking the Bomb message at the corner of Forbes and Murray in Squirrel Hell on February 9. They were taking part in an action protesting PNC Bank’s investments in manufacturers of nuclear weapons. (Photo: Neil Cosgrove)
By Paul Dordal
Responding to An Imminent Threat
It is now two minutes to nuclear doomsday, according to a January announcement by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Threats of nuclear war by the United States against North Korea and others are increasing. The human race is experiencing a real existential threat not seen in quite some time.
Thus, it is not surprising that the anti-nuke movement is again gaining strength. The Stop Banking the Bomb campaign against PNC Bank is also growing. Our active endorser list now stands at twenty-one organizations, double what it was last month. Our endorsers now include national organizations Peace Action, People’s Congress of Resistance, Veterans For Peace, and United States Peace Council. And we continue to grow, with over forty-five people on our coordinating committee—again double our total last month. A website will be launched in February and more direct actions are being planned in the very near future here in the Pittsburgh region.
We are also in consultation with other chapters of our sponsoring organizations in Butler, PA, Morgantown, WV, Philadelphia, PA, New York, NY and Washington, D.C. to organize and execute direct actions against PNC in those cities. We have created a Direct-Action Packet that other groups can use to carry out non-violent direct actions against their local PNC bank branches. Not only are we growing, we are now spreading to wherever PNC Bank is operating.
Second Picket at The PNC Tower
On January 18, 2018, twenty-five concerned everyday folk from the Pittsburgh region came out for the second time and braved the cold to protest PNC Bank’s more than one-billion-dollar investment in nuclear weapons manufacturers. Our demands are that PNC Bank sell off these loans and investments and create a binding corporate policy to never invest in nuclear weapons manufacturers again.
Our boisterous picketers handed out over 250 flyers to PNC employees and other workers on their lunch breaks, while five of PNC Bank’s senior executive leadership looked on nervously from inside their finance-capitalist headquarters building. PNC Bank broke off negotiations with our team recently and said they would not return to table until we agreed to loosen our demands and cease from our public actions. But we will continue to expand our campaign, increase our public activities and direct-actions, and keep putting on the pressure until PNC realizes that negotiation is the only way forward.
Connecting the Dots
Many people in the United States are unaware of how the Military Industrial Complex works. The United States government, which wants to spend one trillion dollars on new nuclear weapons over the next ten years, does not actually make nuclear weapons. Private corporations and their financiers (banks like PNC) are the actual producers of these weapons. It is in finance-capitalists interest to have the U.S. government keep purchasing (and using) more and more weapons in order that they continue to make even more profits. Through their lobbyists, political contributions, media glorification of U.S. imperialism, the finance-capitalists actually use the U.S. government to achieve their goal of more and more profits.
The extremely sad part of this is that it is the everyday worker’s tax dollars which pay for the weapons and it is our deposits in the banks that finance their manufacture. We need to bring to the attention of the public that these large U.S. bank/corporate monopolies are using our money to finance death and destruction all around the world. Nuclear weapons do not make us safer; they make us live in constant fear. And we do not need to stand for it. We have the power; it is our money and we can decide how to use it.
In the near future, we will start gathering folk who will begin moving their money out of PNC Bank to community banks and credit unions. Our multi-pronged effort against PNC Bank will become the symbol for other activists to follow, and for other corporate banks to be put on notice. They are next!
On a positive note, we believe we are presenting PNC Bank an excellent opportunity to side with the people, its depositors, and Stop Banking The Bomb!
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or look for upcoming events on our Facebook page @stopbankingthebomb.
Rev. Dordal is a member of the Thomas Merton Center and a volunteer organizer for Veterans For Peace, Chapter 47. He is the coordinator of the Stop Banking the Bomb campaign.