On Saturday, December 3, Occupy San Francisco united with San Franciso Housing Rights organizations to oppose evictions, foreclosures and other housing injustices across the city. The day began with actions in the Bayview, Mission, Castro and Tenderloin, and culminated with a mass march from the Occupy SF site through the financial district to confront banks that put up the bucks that fuel these abuses.
A statement from a flyer promoting today’s action declared:
“From the subprime mortgage crisis that began our current recession, to bank bailouts, the rising rates of homelessness and policies like the Ellis Act that prioritize profit over people, housing has been central to the occupy movement in San Francisco, and around the country.”
The day’s actions began at 11 a.m. in the Bayview district, which has been hard hit by foreclosures and evictions of low income African American homeowners. Just this week a 75 year old great-grandmother was locked out of her home while going to the store to get food for the children in her home day care center. The foreclosers refused to let her go back into her home to get diapers and baby formula for the young children.
At noon protesters met in the Castro district to highlight gentrification and anti-homeless tactics that are violating the spirit and legacy of Harvey Milk and the Gay Mecca.
The 1 o’clock hour brought people together in the Mission district to oppose housing abuses aimed at Latino families that have caused high rates of evictions.
An hour later a tour of the Tenderloin kicked off, which exposed collusion between notorious Citi Apartments and profiteering local banks, which has resulted in the displacement of some of the city’s poorest citizens.
A 3 o’clock mass march kicked off from the Occupy San Francisco site at the foot of Market, which once again successfully resisted a police attempt to shut it down earlier this week.
The colorful high spirited procession initially swarmed around the main branch Wells Fargo bank. Wells Fargo received a huge ballout, then carried out a rampant blood sucking campaign of foreclosures and evictions after taxpayer funds saved its sorry ass.
Riot police rushed in to defend Wells Fargo from the protesters non violent accusations, lining its feudal like walls. Motorcycle cops quickly joined in the escalating police presence.
After this standoff went on for some time, the march resumed, eventually seizing Sansome Street. After protesters occupied the block abutting California Street, the riot and motorcycle cops hurried in again, this time to protect Chase Bank, another of the Big 7 bailouts.
The occupiers sat down in the street and began rallying. Ted Gullicksen of the SF Tenants Union pointed out that above the adjacent Bank of the Orient was the headquarters of the Business Owners and Managers Association, or BOMA.
BOMA’s website says it owns or manages 9 billion square feet of properties in North America, and the local branch is the “voice for the local commercial real estate industry.” It”continually helps craft national public policy development by educating public officials about our industry.”
Recently, it has been “educating” SF mayor Ed Lee by “lobbying to evict Occupy SF,” according to Gullicksen. Gullicksen also reported that BOMA “led the campaign to repeal rent control statewide,” with Prop 98, which 62% of voters opposed in 2008.
Gullicksen said, “We are here to issue a 3 day notice to quit” to BOMA. “You are a community nuisance. You continue to make threats to sue the city for economic losses, leading to violent police actions.” A gigantic Eviction Notice was affixed to 233 Sansome, BOMA’s HQ.
The next speaker, an African American woman, said, “I’m a homeowner facing forclosure. Chase is trying to chase me out of my home. By the end of 2012 we expect 10 million foreclosures in the US, with 2 million in California. When they attack our homes, they attack our health, and we’re done with them attacking us. People across the country are saying, ‘We need our homes more than you need one more.’ ”
As the rally continued, police and sheriff’s vans inched closer to the seated crowd. Behind those vehicles a MUNI bus commandeered by the “security forces” awaited arrestees.
But the people kept their collective cool, until the rally was concluded, then got to their feet and marched off, taking a right onto California. We passed the Bank of California building, Union Bank, Citi Bank, West American Bank, Redwood Credit Union (cool), City National Bank, Charles Schwab, 101 California. And the anti-union Hyatt Regency, whose main entrance organized labor occupied for the better part of an hour yesterday in support of Hotel Workers Local 2.
Talk about a rogue’s gallery.
Then back onto Market, opposite the Federal Reserve Bank, which is being reoccupied more each day.
The march concluded back at the Occupy SF site, but the party went on, compliments of the Brass Liberation Orchestra, which provided funk and inspiration along the entire march route.