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Shot with a hidden-cam, our new inspirational video shows a member of the Life After Shopping Gospel Choir closing her Chase account and educating employees about the bank's funding of Mountaintop Removal.

The fact that the Chase bank officer in this hidden-camera tape doesn't have any idea what "mountaintop removal" is - that is what makes me stop and think.  The success of Consumerism depends on enforced silence.  This man is taught to have a compassionate tone in his voice, and also taught to recite the greenwashing phrase "Sustainability" - but the fact that the money this woman has put in the bank is creating violence on such an outrageous scale as mountaintop removal?  This remains unknown to him.

It is Kafka-esque, but it has been effective for years.  The question is - why has it taken us this long to cross the bluff of the "private property" border and find out what strip-mining information is known to the Chase workers?  They keep us out in the lobbies and on the sidewalks dealing with cash machines, where any political conversation is converted into enforced silence.   And this silence goes both ways - it covers the bank workers too.  The man sitting at that desk, befuddled by Chase's policies, is unable to ask the most basic question, as in:  "With my work do I create life or do I create death?"

Break through the computerized edifice of these banks.  Talk to the people inside.  We are only consumers if we let the silence of the ATMs give us a few twenties and send us on our way.  We need to be citizens again. The workers inside the bank want to be citizens, too.

Originally posted to Reverend Billy Talen's Blogalujah on Wed May 12, 2010 at 09:24 AM PDT.

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