Housing Advocates Call to Bail Out Main St. Not Wall St.! at Federal Reserve Protest
BOSTON/Leather District - As an immediate response to the growing financial crisis and the sub-prime mortgage scandal which was its major trigger, 30 people from local housing advocacy organizations and unions gathered in front of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston on Tuesday to demand a federal bailout for working families instead of financial services companies. The event was organized by the Boston Chapter of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now and the Massachusetts Alliance Against Predatory Lending.
Brenda Douyon - a member of ACORN's youth wing, ACORN Youth, and a senior at Boston University - laid out the advocates' basic analysis in her remarks to the crowd, "In recent events – we have all heard about the bailout of some of the worlds richest financial institutions in this country. The bailout that would cost everyone billions of dollars – but wait one minute, what happened to the hard working families facing foreclosures? The tenants who are being misplaced, the home owners who are being forced out of the their homes? I do not hear anyone mentioning them.
She continued, "Well here is what we have to say about this. Congress must ensure that the bailout actually helps ordinary homeowners and not just the big banks. Congress can do that through three major actions: Here are our demands on this so called bailout: 1) Automatic modifications for distressed homeowners; 2) Allow bankruptcy judges to modify the mortgage of a principal residence; 3) Re-regulate the industry, including by requiring bailout recipients to adhere to an updated Community Reinvestment Act.
Grace Ross of MAAPL and the Massachusetts Green-Rainbow Party agreed, "This has to be a bailout for Main St., not for Wall St! What's the logic of giving the same folks that have drained billions out of our communities and transferred them to the wealthiest folks another 700 billion to spend? It doesn't make any sense. Meanwhile, Massachusetts households will have lost $58.9 billion by the end of 2009. This is the largest wealth transfer in the history of the U.S. And it's upwards."
Steve Meacham of City Life/Vida Urbana also backed for federal aid for working families, "We demand the right to stay in our homes. We demand that the people get bailed out. The bailout of the banks is not going to do anything to restore our prosperity."
Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner (G/R - District 7) spoke at length about the current crisis as a repeat of the Savings and Loan crisis two decades ago, "Last time they bailed out the banks. What do they plan to do this time. The same thing ... We don't trust them to do the right thing. The question is: 'What to do?'"
Responding to his own question, Turner concluded with a strategy of mass civil disobedience, "We have to call on all right-thinking people to fill the jails. Every day in Boston there should be people going to jail in the name of justice."
Rally organizers said that the small event was only the tip of a huge iceberg of local outrage against financial services industry, and that many more protests will follow in the weeks and months to come.
No police presence or counter-demonstrators were in evidence, but there was a significant mass media presence.