Causa Justa Blog: REPORT FROM FORECLOSE ON WALL STREET WEST

Foreclose on Wall Street West

en español abajo

by Causa Justa Just Cause

“We’re the 99%”

All Photos by Josh Warren-White


At least 1,000 of people on the frontlines of the economic crisis took to the streets in San Francisco on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, October 12, to meet up with some 30 people who blocked four entries to Wells Fargo Bank corporate headquarters at 420 Montgomery and shut it down.

“When you have people gathered and surrounding the bank demanding to be recognized and respected, then for each individual inside that bank, they are forced to ask themselves: ‘What am I doing? What role am I playing in this?’ That’s how the policies change,” said Nell Myhand, Oakland Homeower Clinic Coordinator for CJJC and someone personally fighting a foreclosure

Angry over big bank bailouts, predatory lending, tax loopholes, the foreclosure crisis and mounting attacks on the poor and working class, people turned out in the early morning hours in San Francisco at the Occupy SF encampment in front of the Federal Reserve building. It was on a symbolic day, Indigenous People’s Day, in the latest in a growing popular protest movement across the nation by people fed up with the economic injustice caused by the wealthiest 1%.

With chants roaring and echoing across the streets and placards with slogans like: “Ya Basta!” and “Make the Banks Pay!/¡Que Pagan los Bancos!” the “people power” was palpable.

Author Naomi Klein, who made a surprise appearance, told the crowd: “Occupy Walls Street is not a place. It’s a frame of mind. We will not pay for your crisis. This moment is about saying: No More. And more than that, we want our money back!”

Bowing under the high unemployment rate and a tsunami of foreclosures in California, communities of color, are demanding debt/mortgage relief, employment that pays a sustainable wage, an end to racist profiteering off foreclosures and private immigrant detention center schemes. These communities are bearing the brunt of the economic crisis with a ripple affect finally hitting those in the middle class who once held good jobs and nice homes but are now feeling the pain.

Laurene Francois , of CJJC, was one of the 30 people who barricaded the entryways of Wells Fargo. “We came here today to demand a moratorium on all the foreclosures that are happening, and to demand that families be kept inside their houses. I am here as a queer woman of color, as an organizer, as an individual, and as a Haitian daughter of first generation Haitian immigrant parents. I am the 99%!.”

15 million families owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth. Take Manuel de Paz, for instance, who has owned his Oakland home for ten years. He is not in the grips of foreclosure but is typical of a lot of people struggling to pay on an inflated mortgage. He works 12 hours a day just to meet his mortgage payment based on a $325,000 home that is worth only about $150,000.

"More than 70 percent of my personal income goes to the mortgage. I’m struggling to make my payments because I want to negotiate with the Bank of America. I called the bank and spent hours being passed from department to department. They aren’t helping me. They are taking advantage.”

Since 2007, 2.5 million foreclosures have taken place across the nation.  6.9 million have started and a projected 5.7 million borrowers are at risk.

“From the 18% unemployment in Black communities, rampant foreclosures and evictions and the profiteering from the detention of immigrants, Black and Latino families have been hardest hit by this economic crisis. Enough is enough. We are the 99%, the growing new majority. We will be heard., said Cinthya Munoz, Immigrant Rights Organizer with CJJC.   

Check out some of the sympathetic coverage of 10/12, below!

San Francisco Bay Guardian Article:
http://www.sfbg.com/politics/2011/10/12/occupysf-protesters-shut-down-wells-fargo-hq

Excellent representation of UNITE HERE Local 2850, a lead organization on this event:
http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/video?id=8389795&syndicate=syndicate&section

Short Video by New American Media, featuring CJJC:
http://vimeo.com/30458163

Wells Fargo:  Embargo por el 99%!


La consigna “¡Somos el 99%!” se oía a lo largo del distrito financiero en San Francisco el Miércoles, y Wells Fargo se encontró incapaz de operar por 5 horas, rodeado de todos lados por protestantes, sus ventanas cubiertas con notificaciones de “Embargo.”

Lo que exigimos de Wells Fargo estaba muy claro:  un moratorio a los embargos, respeto a los derechos de inquilinos en propiedades en embargo, retirar su dinero de prisiones privadas que sacan ganancias por medio de la detención de migrantes, y que Wells Fargo pague impuestos justos.

Habiendo ya abogado muchas veces con Joseph Ohayon, Vicepresidente de Relaciones Públicas de Wells Fargo, tomamos esta oportunidad para poner su número de teléfono en una pancarta, y pedir que los protestantes le llamen.  Su buzón se llenó rapidísimo con harto apoyo por nuestras exigencias.  ¡Será interesante ver como nos va la próxima vez que lo veamos, les contaremos como nos va!

Fue un honor trabajar junto con aliados de uniones, comunidad y con activistas de Occupy SF, para crear una convergencia del movimiento muy exitosa, reportada por mas de 60 medios de comunicación, representando comunidades diversas, e integrando al Área de la Bahía en el mapa de resistencia contra el 1% que está acumulando la riqueza y el poder de toma de decisiones que realmente nos pertenece a todos.  Fue un día internacional de acción, ocurriendo a lo largo de Latinoamérica, marcando el día de los pueblos indígenas, con un eco a la convocatoria de los “indignados” por le justicia económica en nuestro continente.

Como organización de base de familias de clase obrera Afrodescendientes y Latinas, defendiendo sus derechos y sus viviendas, hemos criticado al 1% por mucho tiempo ya.  En Julio, el Pew Research Center reportó que desde 2005 la riqueza promedio cayó un 66% en hogares Latinos, y un 53% en hogares Afro-Americanos, comparado con solo un 16% en hogares de descendencia europea.  La perdida de esta riqueza ocurrió, en su mayoría, en el mercado de vivienda, controlado por gigantes corporaciones como Wells Fargo, cuando las familias dejaron de poder pagar los prestamos usureros, o perdieron sus empleos y como resultado perdieron sus hogares.

Claro está, entonces, que encontramos causa común con los campamentos que estan apareciendo a lo largo del país, criticando la desigualdad en la distribución de la riqueza.  Desde Wall Street hasta Market Street, desde salones de sindicato hasta reuniones de membresía de CJJC, ha surgido una nueva e inspirada energía en nuestro movimiento, y una nueva identidad que compartimos, ¡somos el 99%! Estamos esperanzados que este es solo el principio de lo que podemos lograr juntos.

Sábado 15 de Oct. habrá otro día de acción internacional, donde habrá una emocionante movilización por “Trabajos en vez de Recortes,” en conexión con Occupy Oakland: http://jobs-not-cuts.org/


¡Vean algunos de los reportes bastante positivos sobre la acción el 12 de Oct!

http://univision14.univision.com/noticias/local/article/2011-10-12/protestas-san-francisco-arrestados-occupy-wall-street-indignados