Thousands of protests staged 60 rallies and vigils across the nation, April 11, to demand nationalization of the banks, many still insolvent despite hundreds of billions in taxpayer bailouts.

The actions were organized by the online group A New Way Forward (ANWF) that signed up 11,000 supporters in just three-and-a-half weeks to demand a public takeover of the crisis-wracked financial system.

It included 100 people standing in the pouring rain in New York City’s Union Square, 300 in Portland, Oregon, and 400 in Los Angeles. A group who had met online staged a vigil at a street corner in Anchorage, Alaska. In Raleigh, N.C. 200 people put on a “nest egg hunt” in observance of Easter and in solidarity with millions of retirees whose nest eggs have been stolen.

The protests demanded, “temporary bank nationalization and structural reform including a new decentralized banking system where no bank can ever again become too big to fail,” said an email sent out by ANWF.

Tiffany Cheng, and a friend, Donny Shaw, both technologists and bloggers in Massachusetts initiated AWNF out of frustration that the Obama administration and Congress continue to pour hundreds of billions into the coffers of bankers who created the problem with no signs that it has restored the flow of credit or stabilized the economy.

“People of all races and backgrounds joined in the April 11 protests who had thought about the bailouts and were angry,” Cheng (email address info@joetrippi.com) told the World in a phone interview. “These are people who want to learn more about solutions. We’re not seeing policies coming out of the White House that are actually going to help us get out of this crisis. The main thing we want to point out is that the bankers are becoming the middle-men between us and this crisis. We need to own-up to this crisis and deal with it head-on. Stop feeding the bankers, the middle-men.”

Cheng said Simon Johnson, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, deeply influenced ANWF with his open advocacy of nationalizing the banks. Joseph Stiglitz, former Senior Vice President of the World Bank has also advocated public takeover of the banks as the only solution.

Polls show that 94 percent of the people disapprove of the current bail-out plans while another poll shows that 50 percent favor temporary nationalization of the banks. “So we have the job ahead of us of talking to each other about sound solutions we can all believe in,” Cheng said. “We are calling on everyone to talk with five people every week about the economy and about nationalizing the banks.”

ANWF is planning four or five large panel discussions across the country on the topic “What is Nationalization?”

There is some evidence that the Obama administration, itself, is divided on the way forward to solve the crisis with some, especially Obama’s political advisers at odds with the President’s financial advisers on the issue of a public takeover of the banks.

“It does seem like there is a possibility that (nationalization) might be the next step,” she continued. “As long as the bankers are so influential, the chances of pursuing a policy that is actually beneficial to the people is low. We have to let President Obama know, ‘We are here to support you in these policies. We’ve got your back.’ We need to pursue economic and financial policies that will enable all people to prosper, not just the bankers.” That, she said, is the goal of bank nationalization.

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