Occupy Our Homes: From the Streets to Foreclosed Homes, OWS Finds a New Frontier
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What's going to happen is "satellite mini-occupy sites around the country so heroic battles can be fought and won on the local level, but can also connect to a much bigger theme," says Stephen Lerner, a veteran organizer with SEIU who has been helping to plan Occupy Our Homes. Beyond the individual efforts, Lerner notes that there's a policy proposal floating around that's connected to these actions, too: the idea of " principal reduction" — or in layman's terms, reconfiguring mortgages to be commensurate with the noninflated, actual value of a property (rather than the inflated "bubble" price).
"This is about how to make Wall Street pay, not in terms of retribution but in terms of actually fixing the economy," he says. "It's not enough to say we should stop individuals from losing homes, but we also must fix the housing bubble: these unfair, illegal, cheating mortgages which are terrible for economy and terrible for people."
The specific goals and targets of these occupations, the issues they highlight, and the solutions proposed, as well as the interfacing with the communities hardest hit by the recession and the policies of the 1 percent, are incredible rejoinders to the mainstream critiques of OWS – its alleged purposelessness, its failure to interface with communities of color and on the margins.
Sarah Seltzer is an associate editor at AlterNet, a staff writer at RH Reality Check, and a freelance writer based in New York City. Her work has been published in Jezebel.com and on the websites of The Nation, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Wall Street Journal. Find her at sarahmseltzer.com.