A demand from Occupy Detroit: Stop foreclosures

October 18, 2011

Demonstrators gathered in front of the Guardian Building and chanted the open letter to Bank of America CEO Brian T. Moynihan by means of the "human microphone." (Photo by Ryan Felton)

The Occupy Detroit group has potentially set a precedent for groups aligned with the flagship in New York City.

After their first weekend in Grand Circus Park, the group organized a demonstration with Moratorium NOW!, a pre-existing coalition that seeks to to stop foreclosures, evictions and utility shutoffs. (See “Up Against the banks,” MT News Editor Curt Guyette’s cover story about the group.) Occupy Detroit adopted the end of foreclosures in Detroit and throughout Michigan as a demand, and took that demand on Tuesday to Bank of America’s downtown offices on Griswold.

An open letter was sent to Brian T. Moyinhan, CEO of Bank of America, which detailed the reasoning for the demand.

“Foreclosures are destroying are communities,” the letter dated Oct. 16 said. “No city has been hit harder than Detroit, where vacant home as a result of foreclosures are everywhere.”

The letter concluded by saying if the bank didn’t implement a moratorium, another demonstration will follow at noon Friday, Oct. 21, with an invitation to “all those affected by the foreclosure epidemic.”

“We have a definite demand and want an immediate halt,” said Abayomi Azikiwe of Moratorium NOW! “We’ve been battling the banks now for four years. [Friday's] going to be a larger demonstration.”

Azikiwe, who’s been down to the Detroit encampment every day said the group is sending out press releases, Facebook posts and networking through Occupy Detroit supporters staying in Grand Circus Park.

The 80-100 protesters from the camp who marched, went down Woodward toward Congress in similar fashion to Friday’s Occupy Detroit inception march, chanting: “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out!” and “Bail out the people, not the banks!”

After turning on to Griswold Avenue, the group stopped in front of the Guardian Building, forming a picket line for a half hour. Passersby gawked and watched as a handful of Detroit Police vehicles guided traffic. During the time in front of the Guardian Building, the Occupy Detroit Twitter page was updated saying “#occupydetroit police are being friendly!”

Around 1 p.m. students, lawyers, and demonstrators spoke to the crowd via megaphone — with phrases repeated by the crowd in the “human microphone” style — giving their reasons for being present. Credit cards were ripped and cut, while volunteers urged others to bring more people back with them Friday.

The Occupy Detroit encampment on Grand Circus Park’s west-side has become an impressive display since being set up Friday. With a legal permit in place, the group can use tarps, tents and structural setups allowing for a sliver of extra comfort with cold weather creeping through the door.

About 50 tents surround the information station, a small library in the process of construction and a stocked kitchen which was serving coffee and French toast Tuesday.

“This is the civil rights of the 21st century,” said retired priest the Rev. Leo Reilly. “Just as we fought racism, we’re fighting richism.”

  • Cromulent

    “Moratorium NOW!”? Ho hum, yet another MT flacking for a socialist front group.

    “Foreclosures are destroying are communities”

    No, bad lending practices are destroying communities. And those practices have been encouraged by the likes of Fannie & Freddie, CRA, ACORN, Obama (legal work done on behalf of ACORN), Barney Frank, etc.

  • http://twitter.com/justbeamensch justbeamensch

    Racist, predatory sub-prime lending by bailed out banks has lead to a crisis in our neighborhoods.  Corporate miscreants are being served notice-it will no longer be safe for you to do business as usual.  You can buy off the government, but you can’t hide from the people.  Blue Cross, DTE Energy, B of A etc. have much to answer for and will no longer be able to enrich it’s executives at the expense of it’s customers.

  • Cromulent

    Predatory? You mean the banks were actually *hunting* people down? Were any of these lenders hogtying consumers? Or did the consumers freely apply for and accept these loans?

    And I didn’t know Blue Cross and DTE were making mortgage loans. Not saying they didn’t, but that is news to me.

  • Anonymous

    Cromulent: In response to your question, the answer is yes   — mortgage lenders were actually going out and hunting people down. Especially poor people in minority neighborhoods.  Look at the Senbate report on Washington Mutual. Or read our July 6 story “Up against the banks.”

  • Cromulent

    Except that you couldn’t cite any examples of coercion, save for a single guy with dementia seven years before signing a mortgage.

    Basic contract law says such a person couldn’t legally consent, and the perps that pulled that belong in the hoosegow. So does anyone else who committed actual fraud.

    I feel sorry for the Sandra Hines mentioned at the end of your piece. But absent any proof that a law was broken she should have to deal with the consequences of her rash decision.

    Robo-signings are of course a different matter. Anyone who has obtained a mortgage has some familiarity with all of the legal folderol necessary to complete the transaction. If the buyer trips he is in trouble. The lenders deserve everything they are getting on this.

  • Patron88370

    Whats Next  FREE BlackBerries?  Free gas for your Car from the Greedy Oil Co’s? Hey How about Free Food too?  All of these LAZY “ME ME ME ME” psychophants have been BrainWashed by their Liberal School Educators…Oh Yes  Forgive All Student Loans!  All these Scumbags need to crawl back under a rock!

  • Coyotechic

    hey guy, it looks like you could use some of that good ol brain-washing from the liberal school educators..LOL.. sycophant is the correct spelling, not psychophant . Do you know how to use spell check dude?

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