Last week, the Occupy movement started moving. As protesters continued to be pushed out of parks and other public spaces, even if temporarily, they are finding new homes–literally. Democracy Now has a story on one of these moves, here in Minneapolis.
A loose-knit coalition of activists known as “Occupy Homes” is working to stave off pending evictions by occupying homes at risk of foreclosure when tenants enlist its support. The movement has recently enjoyed a number of successes. We speak with Monique White, a Minneapolis resident who is facing foreclosure and recently requested the help of Occupy Minneapolis. Now two dozen of its members are occupying her home in order to stave off eviction. We are also joined by Nick Espinosa, an organizer with Occupy Minneapolis, and Max Rameau, a key organizer with Take Back the Land, who for the past five years has worked on direct actions that reclaim and occupy homes at risk of foreclosure. “The banks are actually occupying our homes,” Rameau says. “This sets up for an incredible movement, where we have a one-two punch. On the one hand, we’re occupying them on their turf, and on the other, we’re liberating our own turf so that human beings can have access to housing, rather than them sitting vacant so that corporations can benefit from them sometime in the future.”
Yesterday came another report from Cleveland:
Some Occupy Cleveland members have deserted their Public Square perch to encamp in the back yard of a West Side family who was about to be evicted on Tuesday as a result of foreclosure.
The Occupy Cleveland members said they are taking their message of corporate greed and income inequality into the neighborhoods. The group also said they were willing to try and prevent Cuyahoga County sheriff’s deputies from evicting the family — a mother and two young children — from their West 94th Street home.
But in the end, it didn’t come to that. Efforts on the part of a few City Council members and other public officials resulted in the homeowner getting a 30-day extension from the eviction.
At this point, the protesters are mostly drawing publicity to the foreclosures. There’s not a lot they can do to stop evictions without being more willing than they have been to get into confrontations with the law enforcement officers who are sent to enforce evictions. They are largely left protesting:
Occupy Atlanta staged a protest Monday afternoon in front of Buckhead’s Atlanta Plaza, home of Fannie Mae’s regional headquarters.
The group protested at the building at 950 E. Paces Ferry Road across from the Lenox MARTA Station because it said the mortgage agency refused to restructure the loan of a Snellville family. The family’s home was foreclosed upon, and the family evicted.
Occupy Atlanta spokesman Tim Franzen said the group would protest at the Fannie Mae building weekly until an arrangement is worked out with the family of Chris and Tawanna Rorey, who have three children. The Occupy Atlanta group occupied the Roreys’ home after it was foreclosed upon, but left when threatened with arrest for trespassing, after which the family was evicted, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Still, it makes more work and likely ties up more officers when they know the homes they’re going to are more occupied than usual. Given what these officers are doing when dealing with peaceful protestors, that’s not a bad thing. And the loss of wealth that occurred within the 99%, along with what foreclosure has done to our nation’s housing situation, mean that every little bit helps.