HOMEOWNERS FACING foreclosure and eviction from across the country gathered in Washington, D.C., to demand that the Justice Department begin prosecutions against the bankers who created the foreclosure crisis.
Seniors and communities of color were targeted for predatory loans during the housing boom, yet not one banker has been jailed. Wall Street gambled with pension funds and home equity, and not one of those responsible has been brought to justice. Instead, they've been handed taxpayer money in the form of bailouts--and returned to record profitability.
So Occupy Our Homes, the Home Defenders League and others decided to give a wake-up call to the Department of Justice, saying, "Too big to fail is NOT too big to jail!"
Jacqueline Barber, a homeowner in Atlanta, GA, will be able to stay in her home despite the bank auctioning it off in foreclosure.
Barber, a retired police detective who is also fighting a form of blood and bone marrow cancer, won a buyback, or the ability to buy her home from the bank at or below the home’s rock bottom market value, with the help of Occupy Our Homes Atlanta (OOHA), Tim Franzen of American Friends Service Committee, who works closely with OOHA, told ThinkProgress. A nonprofit organization that wishes to remain anonymous helped Barber come up with the cash for the downpayment, and while she will pay into a fund to cover that payment for the next 18 months, the nonprofit “is committed to not make a cent off the deal,” Franzen said.
When the anti-consumerist magazine Adbusters issued a call to “Occupy Wall Street” (OWS) in 2011, the response took everyone by surprise – including the Occupiers themselves. Anti-capitalist activists and their sympathisers flooded the streets, starting in Zuccotti Park in Manhattan and spreading quickly to St Paul's Cathedral in London and cities across the Anglo-American world. Largely supported by the public, they also captured significant media attention.
In retrospect, the real surprise is that all this did not happen sooner. Anger with banks and the mess they had caused had been boiling for three years. Recall, for example, the (thwarted) attempt by the US House of Representatives – not normally an anti-Wall Street body – to impose a 90 per cent tax rate on bonuses by bailed-out financial companies.
The idea, led by a group that includes a Cornell law professor, a former director of Deutsche Bank and a former British diplomat, is meant to serve people who do not have bank accounts, but it also aims to make Occupy a recognized financial services brand.On Sept. 17, the day of the anniversary, the group, known as the Occupy Money Cooperative, began raising money to pay for initial operating expenses. The group’s Web site invites visitors to “join the revolution,” suggesting that using the card might represent a “protest with every purchase.”
Next week marks the two-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, the protest movement that began in New York City’s Zuccotti Park in response to rampant Wall Street corruption and social and economic inequality.
And while most of the Occupy camps have been destroyed by police, many of the former occupiers still maintain the same spirit that birthed the movement, but now they’re channeling their energy elsewhere, often in more focused ways that, unfortunately, receive far less media attention.