A CONCRETE PROPOSAL
Costly Freedom in Afghanistan
Opposition to Charter Schools
Fight for Water
Ronald j. Morgan
Health Care Crisis Will Continue
Occupying a House Auction
Race, Gender, & Occupy
Occupied Higher Ed
Unpredicatable Life of the Occupy Movement
Zuccotti Park Press
STATE OF THE U.S.
Investing in Obama
Nicolas J.S. Davies
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Occupying a House Auction
I’d never been to a house auction before, so when I heard about a “Stop the Sale” action to save the home of two Oakland residents, I went to the Alameda County Courthouse, entered the building, and looked all around. But I didn’t see any protesters. Finally, I asked at the information desk and was told the auction was being held outside on the south steps overlooking Fallon Street. Outside, on the steps? Really?
Exiting the building, I heard a din from around the corner. As I turned the corner, I stepped into a world of beating drums, banging pots and pans, and the rhythmic chanting of people. Demonstrations are often loud, sometimes very loud, but this was beyond loud. Over 100 people were gathered on the steps, pressed tightly around a man clutching a fistful of documents. He was clearly the auctioneer and he seemed to be reading from the documents. His lips were moving, but no words could make their way through the din.
“Occupy Oakland” read a large sign being held above the auctioneer’s head. All around were signs and banners declaring “Stop the Sale.” Many people were wearing red shirts with the words “Causa Justa” and “Just Cause.”
No buyers seemed to be present. Perhaps they’d been driven away by the noise. After a few minutes the auctioneer left, presumably giving up, and a woman took up a bullhorn. “It’s not over,” she yelled, urging us to stay. Speaking both in Spanish and English, she told us the auctioneer was likely to return and make the sale if we left.
The home we were there to save belonged to Nell Myhand and Synthia Green. Synthia had suffered a stroke, resulting in blindness. They’d gone through lengthy loan modification applications and, in the midst of these procedures, Chase Bank—which may not have had legal title—put it up for auction. The speaker explained that if the house were not sold this afternoon, it would take the bank a month or more to schedule another auction. The bank would be forced back into negotiations with the women.
On the street below, cars drove by, some of them honking and waving to us. “We need noise over here,” someone yelled, interrupting the speaker and directing us to the corner. A second auctioneer had appeared, this one black. I guessed that they’d substituted him for the previous one, who was white, thinking such a tactic might work. But the protesters were color blind and this auctioneer got the same reception as his predecessor.
“Not for sale,” began a chant. “Not for sale, Not for sale.” Someone at the edge of the gathering was beating a drum. Soon the chant—and even the drum—were drowned out as pots and pans went into action. The auctioneer stepped out onto the sidewalk and began walking along 12th Street, with the crows hot on his heels. Sheriff’s deputies didn’t interfere with us, but cautioned us to stay off the street.
“Banks got bailed out—we got sold out,” we chanted, following the auctioneer down the street, carefully remaining on the sidewalk. The auctioneer sometimes spoke to the deputies, presumably asking them to intervene, but they were only concerned with keeping us off the street. “Mic check,” someone called out. The pots and pans were silenced. “This man works for Lender Processing Services,” a speaker told us and explained that to be auctioning houses, the law required that the auctioneer be bonded. “This man is not bonded.”
The procession resumed with the un-bonded auctioneer walking up and down the sidewalk, attempting to escape us and get back to selling the house. More people were arriving. There looked to be about 200 people now. Up and down the street, we dogged the auctioneer. This went on for an hour until, finally, the auctioneer gave up and left.
We stopped the sale, and if they tried to put the home back on the auction block, we’d show up again. We gathered around Nell, who thanked us for our support. Rarely at a demonstration do we see immediate results. This day we did. Foreclosure disproportionately affects women and since this all happened on International Women’s Day, it was an appropriate day for this action.
Daniel Borgström is an occupier at Occupy Oakland. He writes about progressive actions; his website is at http://danielborgstrom.blogspot.com.
Z Magazine Archive
HUMAN RIGHTS - The U.S. Human Rights Network will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the Advancing Human Rights 2013 Conference, December 6-8, in Atlanta, GA.
Contact: 250 Georgia Avenue SE, Suite 330, Atlanta, GA 30312; firstname.lastname@example.org; http:// www.ushrnetwork.org/.
AFRICAN/SOCIALIST - The Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party USA will be held December 7-11, in St. Petersburg, FL.
Contact: 1245 18th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705; 727- 821-6620; info@aps puhuru.org; http://asiuhuru.org/.
SCHOOLS - The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) will host a workshop on the DSC “Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting A Human Rights Framework for Schools” at the Mid-Hudson Region NY State Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnerships, December 11 in White Plains, NY.
Contact: http://www.dignityin schools.org/.
ANARCHIST/BOOKFAIR - The Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair will be held December 14, in Eureka, CA.
Contact: humboldtgrassroots @riseup.net; http://humbold tanarchist bookfair.wordpress. com/.
CLIMATE - The World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities is hosting a follow-up event to the 2012 Rio de Janeiro symposium. The gathering will be held in Qatar on January 28-30, 2014.
Contact: http://environment.tufts. edu/.
LABOR - The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) will host Organizing for Power: A New Labor Movement for the New Working Class in Los Angeles, March 26-29. Proposals are due December 15.
Contact: LAWCHA, 226 Carr Building (East Campus), Box 90719, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0719;lawcha @duke. edu; http://lawcha.org/.
MEDIA FELLOWSHIP - The Media Mobilizing Project is seeking applicants for the first annual Movement Media Fellowship Program. The Fellow will work with MMP to produce the spring season of Media Mobilizing Project TV. MMPTV is a news and talk show that tells the stories of local communities organizing to win human rights and build a movement to end poverty.
Contact: 4233 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-821- 9632; milena@media mobilizing.org; http://www.media mobilizing.org/.
RACE - The 7th Facing Race: A National Conference will be held in Dallas, TX November 13-15, 2014. Organizers, educators, artists, funders and everyone interested in racial equity is invited to exchange best practices and learn about innovative models and successful organizing initiatives. Proposals must be submitted by January 24, 2014.
Contact: Race Forward, 32 Broadway, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10004; 212-513-7925; media @raceforward.org; http://race forward.org/.
VETERANS - They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars - The Untold Story, by Ann Jones, is about the journey of veterans from the moment of being wounded in rural Afghanistan to their return home.
Contact: Haymarket Books, PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618; 773-583-7884; http://www.haymarketbooks.org/.
LIBYA - Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution, by Francis A. Boyle, is a history and critique of American foreign policy from Reagan to Obama.
Contact: Clarity Press, Inc., Ste. 469, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GE 30305; 404-647-6501; email@example.com; http://www. claritypress.com/.
CHILDREN - Fannie and Freddie by Becky Z. Dernbach is about two bumbling villains who gamble away the savings of the people of Homeville.
Contact: fannieandfreddiebook @gmail.com; http://fannieand freddie.org/.
PROTEST/COMIC - Fight the Power!: A Visual History of Protest Among English Speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson and Benjamin Dickson is a graphic narrative that explains how people have fought against oppression.
Contact: Seven Stories Press, 140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-226-8760; info@ sevenstories.com; http://www. sevenstories.com.
CHILDREN - Brave Girl by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is the true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
Contact: http://www.harpercollins childrens.com/Kids/.
FESTIVAL - The 2014 Queer Women of Color Film Festival will be held June 13-15 in San Francisco. The festival is currently accepting submissions until December 31.
Contact: QWOCMAP, 59 Cook Street, San Francisco, CA 94118-3310; 415-752-0868; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.qwocmap.org/.
IRAQ/REFUGEES - Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, thousands of displaced Iraqi refugees are still facing a crisis in the United States. The Lost Dream follows Nazar and Salam who had to flee Iraq in order to avoid threats by Al- Qaeda-affiliated groups and Iraqi insurgents that consider them “traitors” for supporting U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Contact: Typecast Films, 888- 591-3456; info@type castfilms. com; http://type castfilms.com/.
HUMAN RIGHTS - Lyrical Revolt! III will be held December 4 in Syracuse, NY. The event will feature hip-hop musician Anhel whose album Young, Gifted, and Brown was just released. The event is sponsored by ANSWER Syracuse, Liberation News, and SyracuseHip Hop.com. Performers and artists are encouraged to send submissions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.answercoalition.org/syracuse/.
FOLK - Musician Painless Parker has released his album Music for miscreants, malcontents and misanthropes featuring “Fuck Yeah, the Working Class.”
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://painlessparkermusic.com/.
COMEDY - Political comedian Lee Camp’s new album Pepper Spray the Tears Away has been released.