My Blog this evening is a comparison between forcible removals during South Africa's former apartheid regime and the on-going forced foreclosures in the U.S. When I wrote about the subject in December 2010, no one was making comparisons between the two. (The piece was updated a couple of times in 2011.) It's easy to feel alone with no supporters around, but I wrote anyway. It wasn't a first-time leap of faith -- it won't be the last. Further, writing is my avenue to show support for our 99% in America – the group that has my full support even though I am not marching and protesting right now. Presently, this is what I can and want to do. One more project needs completion before I move forward and that project involves some amazing, archetypal South African women who were courageous and never played the victim roles. I will continue to keep the memory of them alive as long as I breathe. Following is the comparison paper I wrote at the end of 2010, representing one of three themes I set forth when this Blog began:
COMPARING THOSE WHO BELIEVE THEY HAVE A DIVINE RIGHT
By: Donna Ruth Brenneis
During the apartheid years in South Africa (1948-1991), 130,000 people were
forcibly removed from their homes under the Group Areas Act (GAA). For those who
could afford it, some were enticed with a 30-year scheme to purchase property in
desolate areas. The Group Areas Act became legalized segregation in 1950 without
even the promise of a Constitution though it did not apply to Black South Africans. Principally, the GAA was directed at the then Colored and Indian communities where a Group Area official suddenly appeared at a person's home, banged on the door and told residents the Community Development Board now owned their property. Rent was to be paid to them until they were bulldozed (or burned) out of their homes and communities. The Group's behavior was known as “the big bang.” In Black townships, the apartheid government bulldozed homes and shanties, forcibly removing about three million Black South Africans with no warning whatsoever. The National Party reigned through unmitigated terror, ripping away the very fabric of a country that had managed to hold itself together for a few hundred years, despite numerous wars and British segregation. Where would people go? “Who cares,” said the National Party. “We have the Divine Right to do this.” But by 1976 South Africa's militant youth did not agree with them. In fact, they were prepared to give up their lives to end apartheid. These kids knew they had the power to end Nazi oppression that was being served
up by the country's minority.
By solid appearances, the skewed ideas of South African Divine Righters now belong to Wall Street's greedy bankers, some lobbyists and self-serving politicians. At about the end of 2010, banks and their buddies had forcibly removed 332,172 U.S. citizens with more plans to forcibly remove eight to nine million more people in the next four years at a cost of $702 billion. Eight to nine million people exceeds even the former Nazi government in South Africa. At this point, one has to recognize, once again, the Wall Street bailout of $4.7 trillion. Why do Wall Street, the greedy bankers, and self-serving politicians behave in this unconscionable manner? They think they have a Divine Right to accumulate even more than they have conned already, which is mind-boggling. Most of us can't even comprehend the kind of money they have stolen from others.
One Las Vegas woman and her spouse applied for home assistance under President Obama's plan; they qualified for help because of the egregious circumstances that were created by the banks. The couple began the loan modification process with Wells Fargo Bank, the bank that “services” their home loan. They did not buy “over their heads,” as they are
conservative about money matters. They had great credit, no credit card debt, and managed to save money in the event of a crisis. When they went to Wells Fargo Bank, it denied them.
The bankers told them to “short sale” their home instead. It became clear to the couple that Wells Fargo wanted them to go into foreclosure. Apparently, the money President Obama authorized for loan modifications has not gone to loan mods. It goes to the banks to cash out on huge insurance policies when someone does foreclose. The banks, once again, aren't losing money. They are making money off of the misfortune of others, sanctioned by our own government. This is my question: WHY AREN'T THESE GUYS IN JAIL?
When the Las Vegas couple closed escrow on their home a few years ago, the Bank Note was with Provident Funding Associates. Later, Provident sold out their loan to HSBC Bank USA, National Association as Trustee for Wells Fargo Asset Securities Corporation. HSBC never provided them with the Note that it now held. In fact, the Note vanished into a grey, foggy hole that no one can locate. At the end of 2010, the Clark County Recorder's Office showed nothing about the Title Holder on its site. So, here's how it goes: Wells Fargo didn't know where the Note was though it had been hounding the couple five times a day since July, despite the couple's ultimate references to the non-profit organization that was supposed to be helping them. Worse, Clark County didn't seem to know that the property existed at all. FYI: Clark County is in Las Vegas and Nevada is the state Senator Harry Reid represents -- our Senate Majority Leader.
statements to the couple: (1) Wells Fargo “...doesn't have a program for you;” (2) “If you are current with your loan, Wells Fargo will not work with you;" and (3) “...make a partial, monthly payment – one-half of the original loan amount.” After the non-profit took a $700.00 down payment from the couple, it continued to request money to do things like get a credit report; or, it had to “pull a report.” CAG then requested pay stubs and bank statements, ad nauseum. It then sat back and did nothing until Consumer Advocacy was faced with a
lawsuit for fraud. Then they did something: they ran like all Divine Righters and cowards. However, Consumer Advocacy hung onto the couple's loan modification paperwork. (Much later, the couple learned the woman who was in charge of Consumer Advocacy Group at the time they approached the organization had fraud charges pressed against her in some other state, so she came to Nevada to prey on more people who had pinned their hopes on someone actually helping them.) The Las Vegas couple wasn't trying to run away from any responsibility. They were trying to take it as surely as Wells Fargo, HSBC and CAG ran like the thugs they are.
government? Nevertheless, the family was harassed by constant foreclosure notices. Folks who are doing the dirty work for the greedy bankers and self-serving politicians want to make
certain people simply give up so banks can move on to destroy another family or individual. There may not be bulldozers coming to tear down a house, but for me the bulldozer has become a metaphor for those who have had their hearts and souls ripped out by greedy bankers and their infamous buddies. Ah well, who cares, says the big bank delivering the
metaphorical big bang. This is our Divine Right to destroy families and communities – exactly something the National Party in South Africa would have said.
Returning to my comparison – how is our present system of greed and entitlement (aka Divine Right) in the United States any different than the former Nazi government in South Africa who forced millions of people from their homes, destroying their souls. It isn't. However, now we have our own divine intervention. They may not be kids doing the toyi-toyi, but they are dancing to the beat of a different drummer that represents the 99% and they are called OCCUPY.
12/23/2011 Addendum: Now Provident has decided to sue a Nevada couple for doing what our government, a nonprofit and other corporations told them to do. I'm supposed to be putting good vibes out into the Universe, but PROVIDENT -- I HOPE SOME OF YOU GO TO PRISON WHERE YOU BELONG. A lawsuit against THIS couple will never be won by PROVIDENT or any other heartless corporation or greedy banker(s). Their experiences represent the experience of thousands and thousands of decent Americans which even the mainstream media is reporting now.
As an aside, and absolute irony, on March 15, 2012 I was summoned for jury duty. Oddly, I believe the case may have been about a older person who might have written on the walls of his own home (perhaps graffiti style) that may have gone into foreclosure. (He was being sued by someone for defacing walls from what I could gather.) He may have lived in his home for
decades, as do so many in Oakland. It's difficult to say given some of the questions that came from the prosecuting and defense attorneys; however, articulate, potential jurors began to make assumptions about the case. One potential juror described his foreclosure experience as "stupid" and, indeed, it was. Another seemed to be concerned about putting an older person out on the street; I am sophmorically paraphrasing. My comment was stronger, but I did not
tell anyone the book's title -- "the TRUTH is on the WALLS." I was so caught up in the overall irony, I did not think about the book. I didn't do it on purpose. Nevertheless, we came in this morning and the attorneys had reached a resolution that was unknown to the potential jurors so we were all dismissed. All I can say is I HOPE the older man DID write on his walls. I cannot think of anyone I could get behind quicker. And the banks just keep on rollin'...,
ruining and devastating lives just like apartheid did for 43 years.