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[Nettime-nl] Fwd: Occupy Goes Home (fwd)
Nictoglobe on Thu, 15 Dec 2011 11:09:51 +0100 (CET)


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[Nettime-nl] Fwd: Occupy Goes Home (fwd)



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Begin forwarded message:

> 
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Wed, 14 Dec 2011 21:29:54
> From: Portside Moderator <moderator {AT} PORTSIDE.ORG>
> To: PORTSIDE {AT} LISTS.PORTSIDE.ORG
> Subject: Occupy Goes Home
> 
> Occupy Goes Home
> 
> The movement takes back foreclosed houses after leaving the park
> 
> By Nick Pinto
> Wednesday, Dec 14 2011
> http://www.villagevoice.com/2011-12-14/news/occupy-goes-home/
> 
> A cold, persistent rain fell on East New York last Tuesday
> as a crowd of hundreds snaked its way through the Brooklyn
> neighborhood, filled the street, and filed past blocks
> scabbed with vacant, boarded buildings.
> 
> By design, the front of the procession was dominated by
> local residents and community activists. But the bulk of
> the crowd was made up of people who had probably never
> been so far out on the 3 line before: displaced residents
> of Zuccotti Park marching under the banner of Occupy Wall
> Street.
> 
> The marchers made frequent stops outside vacant foreclosed
> homes and marked them with black-and-yellow-striped tape
> that read "Occupy." At one stop, a young man named Quincy
> stood on a stoop and told the crowd he was slated for
> eviction that very day. City Councilmember Charles Barron,
> speaking for the crowd, said, "We are not going to let
> this young man lose his home today." Quincy wept.
> 
> The final destination of the march was a secret to all but
> a few until the crowd turned up Vermont Avenue, where
> balloons and banners outside number 702 heralded a
> housewarming party.
> 
> The previous resident of 702 Vermont had been forced out
> three years earlier when his Countrywide Financial
> mortgage went into foreclosure after just a year. The
> small two-story house has stood vacant ever since, a
> dumping ground for construction debris and a source of
> concern for neighbors who feared it might turn into a drug
> den.
> 
> For the past month, Occupy Wall Street activists and their
> allies had been vetting foreclosed homes throughout the
> city as possible sites for a new kind of occupation. They
> settled on 702 Vermont for its easy access and the
> neighborhood's eagerness to see the home occupied. They
> broke into the building three days before the housewarming
> party and began preparing it for its new residents.
> 
> When Occupy Wall Street put the word out that they were
> looking for homeless families to take over "de-foreclosed
> homes," Alfredo Carrasquillo, homeless himself and a
> community organizer with VOCAL-NY, volunteered. He would
> take up residence in the house while the necessary repairs
> were completed. Then, his two young children and their
> mother, Tasha Glasgow, also homeless after exhausting the
> city's dwindling assistance programs, would move in.
> 
> A rotating cast of Occupy Wall Street volunteers has been
> staying on site to support the new residents in case the
> police try to kick them out. Hundreds more are ready to
> rush to their defense when notified by Twitter or text
> alert.
> 
> The action in East New York was mirrored by dozens of
> similar events across the country last Tuesday, and
> activists promise more home occupations to come. Together,
> the Occupy Our Homes actions represent the movement's
> first major shift in strategy since police evicted
> occupations in many cities from their encampments in
> public parks last month.
> 
> This new strategy presents a much tighter fit between
> tactics and message than was seen in OWS 1.0. When Occupy
> Wall Street was in Zuccotti Park, the media seized on the
> drum circles and sleeping-bag lifestyle to paint a picture
> of aimlessness and chaos--Woodstock tipping over into
> Altamont. But the occupied homes present a much clearer
> narrative: previously homeless families and young
> children, put into homes that the bankers' broken system
> had left vacant and rotting for years.
> 
> "The foreclosure crisis is where the rubber hits the road
> with the financial sector and the real economy, the 1
> percent and the 99 percent," says Mike Konczal, a
> finance-reform expert at the Roosevelt Institute who
> attended the East New York occupation. "If you really want
> to challenge the banks' power and the way they're
> stripping wealth out of communities, leaving wreckage
> behind, foreclosures are a key point to go to."
> 
> The robo-signing and chronic mortgage fraud that has
> characterized the banks' conduct during the foreclosure
> crisis are fertile ground for Occupy Wall Street, not
> least of all because the Obama administration's eagerness
> to sweep the scandal under the rug with a quick settlement
> speaks to exactly the poisonous alliance between Wall
> Street and Washington that the movement decries.
> 
> There was some indication last week that the banks were
> rattled by this new tactic. A former subsidiary of
> Countrywide Financial, now owned by Bank of America, sent
> an e-mail warning field agents about the home occupations
> and asking them to check the bank's foreclosed properties
> to "ensure they are secured."
> 
> That e-mail was heralded by Occupy Wall Street supporters
> as evidence that the new campaign has banks quaking in
> their boots. But it's not clear that awareness of Occupy
> Our Homes has triggered an all-hands-on-deck response from
> the captains of finance. Late last week, a spokesperson
> for the American Bankers Association said she had never
> heard of last Tuesday's actions and had to have them
> explained to her.
> 
> Whether or not the bankers are paying attention, Occupy
> Wall Street is hoping this new campaign will resonate with
> a wider audience than the movement has been able to reach
> so far. A survey last spring found that nearly one-third
> of Americans personally knew a distressed homeowner, and
> with all indications showing the foreclosure epidemic
> rolling on for the foreseeable future, Occupy Wall Street
> is betting that home occupation is a form of civil
> disobedience the 99 percent can get behind.
> 
> "I'm just like everyone else," Glasgow said, speaking in
> her new home last week. "All I want is for me and my kids
> to be safe."
> 
> npinto {AT} villagevoice.com
> 
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