By Mike Shane, Detroit
Published Mar 4, 2012 10:05 PM
A national conference devoted to the fight to stop foreclosures and evictions is set to take place in Detroit on Saturday, March 31. The conference, initiated by the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions & Utility Shutoffs, aims to bring together activists to share experiences about fighting foreclosures and evictions through direct action and to plan a national campaign to raise and win a national moratorium on or halt to all foreclosures.
Strategies for challenging the banks in the courts and in the streets will be shared. Demands to move people back into government- and bank-owned foreclosed homes, for a principal reduction on home mortgages, and for related demands and ideas will also be discussed.
The conference is extremely timely as already this winter there has been a tremendous upsurge in the struggle against foreclosures and evictions. Across the U.S., the Occupy movement has joined with community groups and unions to confront the banks — along with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — in challenging and stopping unjust evictions.
This spring promises a further intensification of the anti-foreclosure movement around the country. A nationally coordinated week of actions against the banks and to save homes, proposed by Occupy Atlanta and coordinated by Occupy Our Homes, is taking shape for March 12-16.
Take Back the Land has announced a spring initiative to move families back into foreclosed homes.
On March 13 in Detroit, a coalition including Occupy Detroit, People Before Banks, Jobs with Justice, United Auto Workers Local 600 and Moratorium NOW! will hold a demonstration against Chase Bank in support of the national day of action against that criminal bank.
The coalition will “package” together Chase foreclosures threatening several Detroit and Detroit-area families — flipping the script on the banks that “package” and sell mortgages and routinely toss people out of their homes. Protesters will demand that the foreclosures against eight families be stopped immediately and that Chase place a moratorium on all foreclosures and evictions.
These important actions may prove effective in keeping a few more families in their homes. But they are not enough to stop the 2 million foreclosures currently in progress or the projected 4 million additional foreclosures anticipated over the next couple years. The demand for an immediate national two-year moratorium on foreclosures and evictions is what is needed.
Such a moratorium would help stabilize our communities, while giving homeowners, renters and families breathing room needed to come up with a long-term solution to the worst economic crisis to hit working people since the 1930s. And if two years is not enough to solve the foreclosure crisis, then we can fight for an extension.
The conference takes on even greater importance in light of the recent announcement that the federally controlled — and taxpayer-funded — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will sell several hundred thousand foreclosed homes to private investors at steep discounts. These homes belong to the people, and should be returned to families who have been evicted.
The March 31 conference will take place at Central United Methodist Church in downtown Detroit. The gathering will be streamed live using the internet for those unable to attend in person. For more information and to register for the conference, visit nationalmoratorium.org or call 313-680-5508.