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“RICHER THAN WE THINK” — Public banks as 2018 election platform

“RICHER THAN WE THINK” — Public banks as 2018 election platform
Posted May 30, 2018

Originally published on national food-and-farm networks.
–COMFOOD (Community Food, Tufts Univ.)
–FPN (Food Policy Networks, Johns Hopkins Univ.)
–WFAN (Women, Food & Agriculture Network – Ames, Iowa)
–Members of U.S. monetary reform groups (American Monetary Institute, Alliance for Just Money, Public Banking Institute) with interest in food & farm issues: Ellen Brown, Steven Walsh, Geraldine Perry, Lucille Eckrich


Recently I came across a Dec. 2016 article that really explains PUBLIC BANKING as a tool for democratizing our money (and our economy). North Dakota’s Public Bank was Built for the People—Now It’s FInancing Police at Standing Rock. The 100-year old Bank of North Dakota, still the only public bank in the U.S. today, has been much studied recently by activists of all kinds (including myself). This article not only explains how BND works, but it provides a very modern take on the value of public banks in general.

What I did not know is that the Bank of North Dakota was created by farmers, for farmers. It’s yet another example of farmers leading the way on monetary policy, especially in relationship to real democracy.


2018 ELECTION PLATFORM: Public Banks
Based on this information and this article, I have solidified my commitment to public banks as a major transition step towards an economy that works for everyone. It is already on my Food & Farm Platform for Candidates, Voters, Media. This seems a good moment to highlight this no-brainer public policy tool — for states, for counties, for municipalities.

Food-and-farm practitioners can advocate for public banks in at least three specific ways:
1. General course correction on the economy (i.e., leveling the economic playing field) through support for food-and-farm projects, businesses, and infrastructure (including policy development)
2. Emergency funding to mitigate our current food-and-farm crises: dairy farmers, hunger in every U.S. community, farmer suicides, soil erosion and pollution, etc.
3. Niche banking need: marijuana; other?


QUESTIONS re 2018 Elections
— Are any food-and-farm folks actively promoting public banking in your jurisdiction(s)?
— Do you know of any candidates who are promoting public banks? Would they be interested in adding “food-and-farm” to their public bank platform?

I would be happy to promote any and all such platforms and candidates through my regular outreach. I would need the following information:
–Who (candidate)
–Where (what jurisdiction)
–What (actual platform).


RESOURCES: Here’s the article I mentioned plus additional background.
1. Article: Below I’ve copied a few salient quotes from the article.
Or see the full article in Yes! Magazine:
North Dakota’s Public Bank was Built for the People—Now It’s FInancing Police at Standing Rock

2. Author: Follow the author, Matt Stannard (based in Laramie, WY), for more insights into public banking.
Twitter   @MattJStannard

3. Organization: Follow Public Banking Institute, the major advocacy group for public banking. Sign up for regular, very informative newsletters about what jurisdictions are proposing or considering public bank legislation — California, Santa Fe, Vermont, New Jersey, etc., including American Samoa, whose public bank was just recently approved.
Twitter   @PublicBanksNow

4. Book: This recent book looks at “the money question” in early America (approx. the first 100 years). The question for us in 2018 is why hasn’t the money question been part of our civic discourse for the last 100 years?
Sovereign of the Market: The Money Question in Early America (Univ. of Chicago Press)
by Jeffrey Sklansky, Prof. – History, Univ. of Illinois-Chicago

5. Article: After Brexit, Blexit: Putting your Money where your Life is
by Laura Flanders (Common Dreams, May 25, 2018)
“richer than we think”: Black economic power (Twin Cities), Public Bank NYC coalition


Quotes from
North Dakota’s Public Bank was Built for the People—Now It’s FInancing Police at Standing Rock
by Matt Stanndard, Dec. 2016 (Yes! Magazine)

— “In 1918 in Bismarck, North Dakota, populist socialism won big: The Nonpartisan League, a political party founded by poor farmers and former labor organizers, captured both houses of the North Dakota Legislature. Farmers had been badly hurt by big banks charging double-digit interest rates and by grain companies that operated every elevator along the railroad route, underpaying and cheating the farmers. In response, the new government created the publicly owned Bank of North Dakota (BND) and the North Dakota Mill and Elevator.”

— “A public bank created to empower small farmers and protect common people from outside interests was used to silence indigenous and environmental opposition to outside interests. How did this happen? And what’s the takeaway for those who point to public banking as a key solution to breaking the power of Wall Street?”

— “No other state in the U.S. has this kind of financial power for public emergencies; because banks create the money they lend, North Dakota can fund emergency services without draining its budget, and then pay itself back with interest.”

— “In financing those rubber bullets, smoke bombs, and water cannons, BND is paying the security costs of private corporations, subsidizing the worst of Big Oil capitalism. In contrast, if elected officials were committed to sustainable, cooperative economics, public banks would serve much different functions. Those priorities are what drive many members of the public banking movement.

Absent such priorities, economic reforms produce incomplete forms of justice. ”