In the two days since I got back from New York, I realized that I needed to take a step back and really explain my experience and state of mind at the time of my civil disobedience during Occupy Wall Street.
Banks bought & sold each individual mortgage in the United States an average of 7 times before the sub-prime mortgage crisis. These financial institutions made so many bets on the mortgages that they did not have enough assets to cover their potential losses. They would not be able to pay the people that they owed money, which destabilized the entire economy and led to many people losing their jobs and their homes.
These mortgage bets became known as “toxic assets”. Instead of allowing the collapse of these institutions that bought and sold mortgages like Pokémon cards in 1998, the government relieved these corporations of their toxic assets and prevented them from losing their money.
When many people in this country could no longer pay their mortgages in this climate of economic downturn, their mortgages became “toxic assets”. Unlike the corporations and financial institutions that caused the crisis, there was no relief for my parents or any of the other Americans who could no longer pay for their homes.
What is more, not only do these financial institutions get to walk away with public money to cover their private losses, but they continue to put people out of their homes. This leaves many families scrambling for things like short sales to get the banks off of their backs; they do this while having no plan of where they would live six months down the road.
I believe that it is wrong for the financial institutions that caused this economic crisis to get bailouts, while millions of Americans get homelessness. I told my story because I believe people should not be ashamed to say how this crisis is personally affecting them. I told my story because families don’t have to have a long history of poverty to be abused by the financial system. As long as the top 1% of the population controls most of the wealth in society, we, the 99%, must stand up for ourselves and demand justice.
This call is for more than a redistribution of wealth. We need justice in housing; we need justice for people with disabilities; we need justice in educational opportunities; we need justice in the cost of food; we need justice in the production of energy; we need justice for the full range of genders and sexes; we need justice for all ethnicities; we need justice, and we have to create it.
As long as the top 1% controls most of the resources, we don’t stand a chance. WE ARE THE 99%.