December 12, 2011
Photos and Story by David Bacon
OAKLAND, CA – Activists from Causa Justa:Just Cause and Occupy Oakland protested foreclosures, and demanded that banks stop foreclosures and allow families to move into foreclosed and vacant homes in Oakland. The action was one of over two dozen carried out by Occupy activists and supporters across the country to protest foreclosures and the refusal of banks to renegotiate loans.
After a march, people occupied a home owned by Fannie Mae, and announced they would make it a community center, as part of an effort to force Fannie Mae to allow people to live in the many vacant homes it owns as a result of foreclosures. In front of the occupied home, poets recited, activists made speeches, and neighbors poured through the gates.
Causa Justa announced it was holding the occupied house to demand that Fannie Mae turn it into low-income housing, and in support of the Ramirez family, whose home was improperly foreclosed on by Fannie Mae. Bank of America sold the Ramirez home while suppossedly renegotiating the loan, and the family now rents the home they once owned. Fannie Mae took $169 billion in bailout money, while its six top executives received $35 million in income, including bonuses.
A statement by Causa Justa asked, “If we can ensure that big banks don’t go under, why can’t we ensure that American families stay in their homes? To stop the displacement of long-term residents from Oakland and amplify the fight to keep families in their homes, we are OCCUPYING our homes in solidarity with 27 cities across the nation! We are the 99%!”