Today in Chicago, 40 activists dressed as Robin Hoods kayaked down the Chicago River while several hundred more protesters rallied outside a hotel to deliver a message to the Mortgage Banksters attending a national conference inside: It's time for big banks to Pay US Back!
The Mortgage Bankers Association is one of the most powerful lobbying organizations for the big banks and they represent the mortgage arms/tentacles of the BIG 4--Wells Fargo (who happens to be sponsoring the conference), Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup--as well as numerous independent mortgage companies that created the housing bubble and blew up the economy in 2008.
One of the MBA claim's to fame is defeating Judicial Loan Modifications - a piece of legislation that Congress was attempting to pass in order to help millions of homeowners who had fallen victim to the housing crisis. Under the current law, if you only have one home you can’t declare bankruptcy and have a judge renegotiate your debts. But if you own two homes, or a boat, you can. This is unfair and biased against working and middle class families that don’t have boats, airplanes and homes in the Hamptons. Chicago has been hardest hit by foreclosures, mostly due to the MBA blocking this legislation.
Today, the MBA held a conference in a downtown Chicago hotel.
While 600 protesters rallied and chanted outside the hotel, a team of 40 kayakers dressed like Robin Hood paddled down the Chicago River and anchored outside of the hotel chanting "We Are the 99%!" for 30 minutes while another team of activists dropped a banner from the DuSable Bridge at Michigan Avenue.
Inside the mortgage bankster meeting, a fourth team of activists were embedded in the audience, ready to interrupt the banksters' plenary conference. Two activists were able to interrupt the discussion panel before the banksters shut down the meeting entirely to avoid further interruptions.
Here are the demands that the protesters presented to the MBA:
1) Raise the marginal tax rates on the wealthiest individuals by ending the Bush Tax Cuts and supporting the Rep. Schakowsky’s Fairness in Taxation Act.
2) Close corporate tax loopholes and offshore havens, and institute a Financial Speculation Tax on risky Wall Street trading. All corporations should pay their fair share.
3) Enact a real jobs program that will put millions back to work repairing and upgrading our crumbling physical and social infrastructure.
4) Require the banks, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac to lower principalamounts for all the underwater mortgages they hold and guarantee to create jobs, savecommunities, families and tax-payer dollars from any more unnecessary foreclosures.
Today's MBA actions were organized by National People's Action and were part of a larger, 7,500 person protest to Take Back Chicago. The protest will kick-off a week of Chicago action and is part of a ten-city protest nationwide organized by The New Bottom Line.
More pictures and video coming soon, so stay tuned!