New Yorkers Fight Foreclosure With A Song
Last April 16, 2012 the Bronx Supreme Courthouse opened for business as usual. On the docket were six foreclosure auctions scheduled to take place throughout the day. But as bargain hunters looking for a great deal began showing up at the courthouse they were greeted by a group of about 40 protesters who were trying to put an end to the proceedings by singing songs.
Metro Focus reported on the musical protest in a very favorable light, noting that the group will “try again at the Supreme Court in Kings County, along with members of the faith-based organizations like Jews for Racial & Economic Justice and Occupy Faith, and again on Friday at Queens Supreme Court, where they’ll be joined by students from Columbia University and the New School.”
Organization for the Occupation (O4O) is a protest group similar to Occupy Wall Street except that its focus is on the foreclosure crisis rather than corporate America. Some would argue that the differences between the two groups are so slight as to be almost unrecognizable. In both cases the protesters blame the banking industry and corporate America for the current economic woes being faced by the country. Where foreclosures are concerned, O4O is convinced that greedy banks created the mess and continue to exacerbate it as a way of lining their pockets.
“The banks took a lot of taxpayers’ money and the only thing they gave themselves were huge bonuses,” said distressed homeowner and O4O vocalist Carlos Rivera. “They’re refusing to modify home mortgages, they’re refusing to invest in communities. I believe that was one of the pretenses for the bailout, that they would help provide jobs so people could pay their mortgages. It’s all interconnected but people don’t really see that.”
The taxpayer money Rivera was referring to is the bank’s share of the $700 billion bailout program and the $7.7 trillion bank rescue package from the Federal Reserve. According to Rivera and his like-minded protesters, banks really accepted that government money solely for the purpose of turning around and paying executives huge bonuses.
Missing the Point
Once again we have a case here of well-intentioned people completely missing the point due to ignorance. For starters, most of the homes foreclosed on in the greater New York City area go through a process that can take up to four years before a home reaches auction. It’s not as though these distressed homeowners had no opportunity to look at other options.
Secondly, activists like those involved with O4O routinely overlook the government’s role in these types of things. For some reason, the thinking seems to be that the government is this benevolent institution that never does any harm to the American people. In terms of the bailout money, I wonder if Mr. Rivera is aware of the fact that Washington decided who was going to get that money, Washington decided how it would be spent, and Washington forced banks to take bailout money even when they did not need or want it.
I applaud the O4O for believing in something and following their convictions. Would it be that more Americans did the same thing. However, I wish that these groups would educate themselves in the truth so that their efforts were more properly focused.
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