So you’ve divested from Chase; maybe you’ve even persuaded your friends and family to divest too. Great! You’re one step closer to holding the banks accountable for fueling the destruction of our planet. But you may be asking, what more can I do? How can I organize and mobilize to take more power back from Chase?
Creating Your Team
Standing up for what you believe in is hard work. Organizing an action takes a lot of time, effort, and dedication. Putting yourself out there in front of strangers takes vulnerability. So it’s important to have good people around who you can rely on when things get difficult as well as celebrate your victories with.
- Ask around your social circles, classrooms, and workplaces to see if anyone would be interested in an action.
- Once your group is formed, we recommend you follow a system of non-hierarchy. In this form of social structure, everyone’s voice has equal weight in the decision-making process, which allows everyone to be heard.
- Acknowledging people’s diverse strengths and empowering them to take on responsibility will spread the workload and make your group more efficient.
Picking a Target
For our actions, we know our target is JPMorgan Chase. But for this and any other actions you may plan, there are a few things to keep in mind to increase your chances of success.
- Is the target in an accessible location, preferably near a Metro stop so more potential protestors can join? With more foot traffic, curious bystanders will stop and ask what’s going on. This will spread the message further.
- Is the location visually appealing for media coverage? Are there steps, columns, blank walls, or even a water fountain to play with?
- We advise scouting the location and taking pictures in advance. Walking around the premises will inspire you with action ideas and allow you to spot any potential safety hazards and come up with a backup plan, in case the bank shuts its doors.
Once you have a sense of your target and your message, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty of how this action will look and feel.
- One-off actions like protest marches and die-ins can be powerful. However, if the manpower is there, developing a campaign of sustained actions can be even more impactful. Deciding from the beginning whether you will commit to one action or numerous actions will allow you to effectively strategize and ensure your message is consistent for the entirety of the campaign.
- To get a more in-depth look at what a successful campaign looks like: 350.org has been giving Chase hell for years.
- Keep the message front and center. If we are trying to educate people about Chase’s dirty investments and how they should divest their money, every decision should be working towards that goal.
- Extinction Rebellion and its allies follow a code of non-violent direct action, a strategy for achieving change outside of the traditional institutions and procedures, such as law courts and voting. We deploy the methods of protest, noncooperation, and intervention to heighten tension in order to achieve a specific goal. Learn about non-violent direct action here.
- One of the more important decisions you and your group will make is whether you plan on getting arrested. By no means is arrest necessary, but knowing everyone’s level of commitment beforehand will be vital in keeping everyone safe and on the same page.
- Be creative! Every action is unique and uniquely beautiful. This is a chance to put your stamp on history — not to mention have fun! For more inspiration, here’s a list of 198 methods of non-violent direct action.
- Get inspired! Check out some previous actions:
- —Climate change activists storm St. Paul Chase bank branch’s grand opening
- —11 arrested after climate activists protest at Seattle JPMorgan Chase locations
- —350 Madison Climate Action Team
- —350 Seattle #ShutDownChase & Stand With the Unistoten
- —350 Seattle — our kind of advertisement
Visuals and Flyers
Part of the goal is to educate people about Chase’s dirty investments and convince them to put their money in more sustainable banks. We must first grab their attention, then while we have it, use facts to open their eyes to the truth.
- Large banners, posters, dramatic art pieces, and other visual aids are great ways to pique people’s interest. Stickers, T-shirts, flyers, and other handout materials can educate and spread the message further.
- Want a great statistical resource on Chase’s funding of the climate crisis? Check out this yearly report card created by Rainforest Action Network.
For most actions, the more people you can gather, the higher your likelihood of success. This means it’s a good idea to reach out to potential allies and groups that might be aligned with your cause.
- What other environmental groups are working in your area? What about teacher’s unions, youth organizations, and frontline communities that are most affected by fossil-fuel projects? The more diverse and representative the group is, the more powerful the message will be.
- During the action, make sure to have members take down information from curious bystanders, for example by setting up an information table where people can ask questions and sign up to a mailing list. These are all potential new members! Don’t let them slip away.
Social Media / Media Coverage
What good is your action if no one sees it? Luckily, it’s never been easier to spread your message.
- Share footage of your protest outside of a local Chase branch using the RECORD VIDEO feature of this article. We'll be able to help get the message out by compiling protest footage from around the globe. And the best part, with each piece protest shared with us, we'll be able raise money for the next big action against Chase!
- Have a dedicated group of protestors or videographers to capture the action and stream it to wider audiences. Consider running live streams, Instagram posts, articles, and any other media you like. The more social engagement, the better.
- Traditional news channels might also be interested in covering your event. It never hurts to reach out — even if they don’t cover your current action, you might still make a good contact. Either way, have a designated press liaison who knows the message inside out and has key facts ready for the media.
- It’s vital that your group controls the message! If you’re out in front of the narrative, clear with your goals, and deliberate about communicating them with the public, you’ll attract more people to your cause.
How to Continue the Campaign
Once the action is over, take a breath, pat yourself on the back, and celebrate with your group. Then:
- Conduct a debrief. Talk about the positives and be honest about what could have gone better. What was the reaction from Chase? The security guards? Bystanders? Did the group stay on message? Every time you do an action, you’re creating new experiences and expertise to draw on for the next time around.
- If your action was part of a longer campaign, build on it. Keep posting on social media, follow up with potential new members, and send out “thank yous” to anyone who attended.
- Even if Chase doesn’t immediately divest from fossil-fuel projects, or only a half-dozen people took part in the action, declare a victory. You used your right as citizens to stand up to Chase. That’s progress. Remember, Greta Thunberg’s worldwide movement started with one person.