From Kwazi Nkrumah
For Occupy the Hood
In recent months, Occupy the Hood and other groupings associated with the Occupy Movement here in the L.A. area have been working actively with homeowners to resist illegal foreclosures. We have initiated or participated in numerous actions, including physical occupations, in order to fight the on-going efforts by the banks to dispossess literally millions of working people and their families of their homes. This struggle is putting a massive number of people into direct confrontations with the banks, corrupt politicians, the courts and the police. Every day this struggle is heating up, as the banks, using a recent so-called "settlement" with the Obama administration and the attorney generals in most states as a shield, continue the process of illicit seizures.
There are approximately 4 million properties that are currently being targeted by the banks and Wall Street for rapid seizure and resale. A large proportion of these properties are located in California, and many of these are concentrated here in the Los Angeles area and Southern California. So, the struggle against foreclosures will be getting more and more fierce with every passing week and month right here in our region.
We believe that this is really where the rubber meets the road for the Occupy Movement, because if we either can't or won't organize an effective resistance movement for people who are struggling over something as basic as keeping a roof over their heads, we really have no business running around talking about the 99%, the 1%, or much of anything else. This is also where the Occupy Movement has the greatest opportunity that has ever been handed to a new social movement to become a truly mass phenomenon rooted in communities everywhere, and this can happen practically overnight. We would have to be complete fools not to realize what this could mean for the future of the Occupy Movement and for our visions of a transformed society. This is the key breakthrough that the Occupy Movement needs at this time, to carry us fully into the next stage of our development as a mass popular movement.
Not only does the foreclosure fight allow us to reach out to individual homeowners, it allows us to organize whole neighborhoods and communities, if we do this right, and could actually help us to generate genuine mass community-based assemblies. In our opinion, this is precisely the direction the entire Occupy Movement should be moving in. Those of us who have been actively engaged in the foreclosure fight have been making every possible effort to pool our resources in order to push this work forward. This has clearly begun to make a difference. More and more homeowners are stepping forward every day to say that they want to actively resist the banks and the powers that be. But we need MANY MORE hands in order to make this wheel turn! We need the active support of our movement as a whole.
We are issuing this appeal to urge each and every Occupy activist and Occupy supporter to sit up and take notice whenever an announcement appears to support an action to stop a foreclosure. If you cannot make it yourself for a particular action or house occupation, please pass the information on to your friends and contacts, and really try to get them to activate with us. This can truly make a huge difference, both for the homeowners involved and for our movement as a whole!
Our volunteers do many things as supporters of those fighting to defend their homes: some of us camp-out or physically occupy the home along with the homeowners and their family; others may help to canvas neighbors to inform them of what is going on; others may help to organize a community rally, march, or picket line to publicize and support the fight, etc. Some of us may volunteer to get arrested under particular circumstances, others may simply be on hand as witnesses. In each case, the wishes of the homeowner (and our available resources) guide the nature of whatever support we may provide.
All of this work is done within the context of our collective commitment to non-violence, solidarity and support and respect for the 99%. Our volunteers do many things as supporters of those fighting to defend their homes: some of us camp-out or physically occupy the home along with the homeowners and their family; others may help to canvas neighbors to inform them of what is going on; others may help to organize a community rally, march, or picket line to publicize and support the fight, etc. Some of us may volunteer to get arrested under particular circumstances, others may simply be on hand as witnesses. In each case, the wishes of the homeowner ( and our available resources ) guide the nature of whatever support we may provide.
All of this work is done within the context of our collective commitment to non-violence, solidarity and support and respect for the 99%. Most of you know that Occupy the Hood has been working to lay the foundations for a broad effort to defend housing as a human right for all. In addition to the foreclosure campaign, we have initiated a series of actions and educational activities centered around the concerns and struggles of those who have actually been pushed into the status of "homelessness" in the most extreme form of actually having no permanent or reliable housing.
We are currently working toward another special general assembly of Occupy L.A. focused on building solidarity with the growing "Homeless/House-less" population throughout our city, especially those struggling for shear survival on Skid Row. (That will be this coming Saturday, March 25th, 2012; see the postings on our facebook page and the Occupy LA listserves.) We are likewise working to regenerate a city-wide campaign to institute a freeze on rental rates for tenants. We hope to join hands with all of you around this work.
(You are invited to join us at our next Occupy the Hood general meeting: Saturday, March 17th, 2012, Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research, 6120 South Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, 90044.)
In the meantime...* *STOP MORTGAGE FORECLOSURES NOW!!! ORGANIZE THE 99%!!! BUILD THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT EVERYWHERE!!!* ---- Kwazi Nkrumah, for Occupy the Hood.