Saturday 19th February will see the start of something rather special: the second public takeover of Britain’s banks. The first takeover, or “bail-out” was astonishingly expensive and not much fun. The public was left billions lighter in the pocket, with little more to show for it than their names in the fine print. What did we get for our money? Greater regulation to ensure the crash didn't happen again? No. A reformed banking system that serves us rather than the city? No. How about penitent bankers showing restraint with their pay packets? Um, also no.
Luckily, The Big Society Bail-In is much cheaper, more effective and, crucially, much more fun. Adam Ramsay has already done an excellent job chronicling how the bail-out of deadbeat banks led to the deficit and the resulting rationale for swingeing cuts. Now, for the antidote – the Bail-In. From next Saturday onwards, intrepid UK Uncut volunteers up and down the land will be bailing into the banks and setting up libraries, forests, hospitals, schools, playgrounds, leisure centres and everything else that needs saving. After all, as Osborne’s valiant defense of city bonuses against common sense shows, the banks have nothing to fear from the austerity agenda. What better place to keep our services safe from the Treasury axe?
Since October, the campaign against tax dodgers, the Big Society Revenue and Customs consistently found spectacular and imaginative ways to make tax avoiding corporations pay. In Brighton, Santa Clause glued himself to a BHS. In Oxford, the tax dodger’s grand prix whizzed round the avoiders dotting their high street. In London, volunteers set up a library inside Vodafone, a Sports Day inside Topshop and a NHS field hospital in Boots.
Our next wave of actions will be even more exciting. A Bail-In means marching into our broken banks and building something better. Make your silent, sterile Barclays branch sing, dance, explode with life! Reclaim the space and make it into something thrilling, something that shows how much creativity the anti-cuts movement has. Let’s smash austerity with a smile on our faces. We are Cameron’s nightmare, a real big society with the vision and bravery to transform the institutions at the rotten heart of our system.
UK Uncut is your movement. There are no centrally planned actions. If you have an idea for an action, or want one on your high street, it's up to you to make it happen. First step is to visit our action centre and check whether there is an action listed near you. If there isn't, why not take on organising and listing one yourself? Second, visit our targets section for all the information and resources you'll need. Third, and most importantly, call text tweet facebook email everyone you've ever met asking them to come along. More details on how to organise an action are here.
This Saturday we target Barclays. Next Saturday we're hitting RBS/Natwest. Start thinking now about how you might spruce up your local bank. Send us your ideas and we'll share them around.
This is bonus season: traditionally the time of year when the people who drove the global economy into the ground shamelessly reward themselves for their efforts. Traditionally, we are outraged. Traditionally, our outrage doesn't turn into action and so, traditionally, they get away with it. This year, as our public services are being torn to pieces by a government that has done nothing but indulge the banks, we want things to be a little different. It's up to you. Get creative, get organised and take action.
This is the Big Society Bail-In - we will not pay for their crisis.
See you on the high streets.