Chicago–Cook County’s Anti-Eviction Campaign activities include rallies, meetings with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, door-to-door canvassing in Chicago neighborhoods where there are many foreclosures and talking to people who come to foreclosure court.
On March 24 we rallied at Bank of America with a pink pig made of wire and tape that was filled with gold coins (fake ones filled with chocolate). We whacked the pig and “got back our money.” Then we marched to the Illinois Attorney General’s office and delivered a letter demanding that banks be prosecuted for their illegal foreclosures and that people being foreclosed be given relief. Madigan has promised us a meeting. We have contacted her office for an appointment, but so far no commitment.
We begin by asking the people being foreclosed to help us organize, talking to them about their situation. Sometimes we explain the credit default swap to them and, for the first time, they understand why banks won’t renegotiate their mortgages and how much money the banks have to gain by stonewalling and aggressively evicting them from their homes. But a plaintiff’s lawyer handed our literature to the sheriff’s deputy on duty who made us leave. People who are going through very tough times show up unable to afford legal representation, while the courthouse is crawling with well-paid plaintiff’s lawyers. We are not lawyers. Our purpose is to organize people so they can help each other resist being thrown out of their homes. Standing together in large number is the key.
Now we are appealing to the Chief Judge, Timothy Evans, for status as an “approved group” so we can continue to talk to people, organize them, help them cope and give some hope. We have drafted a statement for anyone who wants to vouch for us and request that the Judge approve our group.
Fisher Shapiro, attorneys for Fannie Mae, were recently cited for 1,700 robo-signed mortgages and foreclosures. At the Anti-Eviction Campaign we are sure this is just the tip of the iceberg on illegal doings. However, the Attorney General gave them a pass, by allowing them to admit their “error” and re-file their foreclosures. Thus, the homeowner comes to court, the foreclosure is vacated and Fisher Shapiro files it legally the next day.
It’s not news to most readers of News & Letters but it must be said: these goings on are very much against the working class and the unemployed. Closing down a house disrupts even a stable family. Ultimately an entire neighborhood is scattered and destroyed. But we will keep trying to organize the poor and fight our detractors. Results will come, but it will take longer than we want it to.