03/21/17 1:43pm

In early February the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to divest from Wells Fargo Bank because of its financial backing of the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. While your checking and savings accounts may seem paltry compared to the assets of the 18th largest city in the U.S., moving your money to a credit union is an incredibly effective way of investing in your local economy and taking your hard earned dollars out of the hands of corporate interests.

Large corporate banks like Wells Fargo, Chase, Citibank and TD Bank use customers’ deposits to invest in a wide range of ventures, some of which are risky, divisive and take money outside of the communities where customers live. We’re talking an oil pipeline that threatens drinking water and Native American sovereignty; we’re talking mortgage-backed securities; we’re talking investments that you the consumer are never consulted about and may never know about, in companies and with entities you would never intentionally support.

Unlike so many thorny political and financial issues of conscience though, there is a good answer for this dilemma: Join a credit union.

“It’s like shopping local,” says Michael Mattone, the vice president of public relations for Municipal Credit Union. “We’re the shop local of banking.”


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01/03/17 12:25pm


Welcome to 2017! It’s time to shake off that 2016 hangover, that cookie hangover, that latke hangover and that hangover hangover and make some plans.

Here are two different tools to help you organize your hopes, dreams and goals for the year ahead in an action plan for 2017. One will sort out a general approach to being more engaged with your community, whether that means volunteering at a local school or donating more of your income to charity or getting involved with a non-profit organization. The other is an overtly political plan of engagement and resistance.

Stop Freaking Out/Start Doing Something

In the wake of the 2016 election my social media feeds were choked with calls to action, petitions to sign, phone calls to make. All of these were well intentioned, but they were also disorganized and overwhelming, which is part of the reason we started Action Trumps Hate, our political email (it’s a separate subscription from Brooklyn Based–sign up here if you’re interested). We wanted to figure out which actions would be most effective and present them to readers in a manageable, weekly dose, which will resume this week after a holiday break.

In Portland, Ore. a group of friends and colleagues had a similar reaction. Many of them work at a design consultancy business called Xplane, and so they approached the problem from a product designer’s point of view. (more…)

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11/22/16 12:00pm

I thought that I was going to talk to you about money and how we spend it this week, which seemed timely for Black Friday. The short answer on money is that if boycotting businesses that sell Trump merchandise or that supported his campaign feels right to you, please do so.

My research suggests that boycotts that affect many companies and entities at once tend not to be that effective, especially if they are not complemented by legal challenges (the Trump boycott is against his businesses, not his proposed political actions, remember). If you are passionate about this matter, write a letter or make a call. Zappos and Macy’s (which already stopped carrying Trump merchandise in response to remarks he made about Mexican immigrants, but still carries Ivanka’s products) have reputations for being willing to listen to customers. Also, boycott Black Friday and the commercialization of American culture and spend your money supporting organizations like the ALCU, the Arab American Association of New York, Black Lives Matter and the Southern Poverty Law Center, or on experiences with people you love, or at local small businesses.

And now, for the real action of the week.

After a good deal of reading, phone calls and a great reader tip, this week we’re going to focus on electing one more Democrat this year. I’ve also listed some resources on how to keep things civil over turkey and pie, and how to sign up for our #actiontrumpshate newsletter, at the bottom of this post.

Week 2: Elect Foster Campbell

Time commitment: It takes 10 minutes or less to donate to his campaign, an even $5 or $10 helps, or you can dig in and travel to Louisiana and knock on some doors if you have the time and inclination.

What: The state of Louisiana has a very curious way of electing senators. On general election day in November all of the candidates are on the ballot; this year there were 23 (including famous white supremacist, David Duke). If there’s no clear majority winner, and there usually isn’t, the two candidates who garner the most votes vie for the seat in another election, held on Dec. 10 this year. It’s called a jungle primary–American democracy is a many splendored thing. The top two finishers were John Kennedy (yes, really), a Republican, who won about 25% of the vote, and Foster Campbell a Democrat. who won about 18%. That means that the Democrats could pick up one more seat in the Senate come Dec. 10. (more…)