For the first time in at least thirty years, victims of financial abuse have dug their trenches and refused to go quietly into the night. Whether it was wage stagnation, NAFTA, or Enron literally getting rich by shutting off California's power, Americans had been increasingly conditioned to accept their economic injustices (blessed are the meek, amirite?) and trudge onward. With each injustice, we were told to suck it up and press ahead towards the next recovery (see: speculative bubble) and please don't forget to go shopping, O Noble Patriots!
Even after the smoke from the 2008 crash cleared, many started to slide back into that familiar, complacent daze. They didn't know how to channel their anger, or who to aim it at. Everyone knew a vast injustice had just occurred, but the villains weren't obvious. There were no Nazis or Communists this time, just a few less zeroes on an electronic balance sheet and the vague sense that your future just got a lot less bright. Peoples' homes were taken away not by stormtroopers or brownshirts but the apathetic, grinding movements of a contracting market. And due to a mix of fear, complicity, and genuine ignorance, politicians shied away from all meaningful financial reforms.
But there's been a silver lining: the banks have accidentally given these foreclosure victims a world-class education in systemic financial corruption. Carlos and Ana are two perfect examples: they've dealt with deceitful loan officers, crooked judges, and incompetent lawyers for the better part of three years now. They've gained a deep knowledge of how our broken system ticks - and how to fight back against it.