Tenants Tell Deutsche Bank to Stop Putting Around

by D&D

Bankers, brokers and other elites came together on Saturday, August 30th for a posh and pompous romp at TPC Boston in Norton, Massachusetts. The Deutsche Bank Championship featured world class golfers, thousands of spectators, and is sponsored by multinational Deutsche Bank. As it happens, Deutsche Bank is also the leader in home foreclosures in Massachusetts. Protestors from across Massachusetts and Rhode Island picketed outside the tournament, greeting each shuttle bus with their message to stop the evictions and stop the predatory lending that leads to foreclosure.

Two weeks beforehand, City Life/Vida Urbana, a Boston based tenants rights organization, sent a letter to Deutsche Bank demanding they support MA legislation that would put a moratorium on evictions in foreclosure cases. CLVU also demanded the bank call in their top ten servicers to the negotiating table. They declined as expected and the protest was on!

About one hundred people attended, representing organizations such as CLVU, Lawrence Community Works, SEIU Local 615, Students for a Democratic Society, the National Lawyers Guild and others. Among the protestors were several tenants and former owners of foreclosed homes across the region. One woman from Lawrence, MA, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, expressed her frustration by saying "the bank tells us to leave, but all the houses are abandoned. We need to talk together, to negotiate in order to keep people in their homes. We came here looking for the American Dream, not the American Nightmare." It's no coincidence that so many immigrants, people of color and low-income families are bearing the brunt of this crisis. Mortgage companies have targeted these people for predatory lending scams such as sub-prime loans. Between February 2007 and February 2008, 31,516 foreclosures were initiated in Massachusetts alone. The number continues to grow exponentially.
Soledad Lawrence, a tenant organizer with City Life/Vida Urbana, appropriately drew the connections between the foreclosure crisis and the racist and classist displacement of mainly African American poor residents of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. Lawrence stated "Foreclosure is like Katrina without the water." As residents of the Gulf Coast prepare for Hurricane Gustav, tenants in Boston and across the US brace for the continuing economic tidal waves of foreclosure, unemployment and rising food and energy prices. Working class people are displaced from their homes and communities by the greed of Capitalist "development."
Many tenants and former owners shared their stories at the protest. Those most directly affected, such as Miriam, an East Boston tenant currently living in a foreclosed building, are pushing the organizing forward despite the fear that banks and real estate agencies try to instill in them. Speaking at the rally, she said "Many people are suffering, but together we can move forward and we will win!" Protestors were enlivened and inspired by people's stories of struggle.
The demonstration was only a small component of the multi-faceted campaign to resist evictions after foreclosure. When it comes down to it, participants are prepared to physically block evictions. We're proud of our 7 for 7 track record. Saturday's protestors will return to their respective neighborhoods invigorated and ready to continue the door-to-door organizing that is the heart of the struggle.

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If you live in the Boston area and want to support the campaign, please contact the Boston No-Eviction Network at: boston.noevictions@gmail.com