US home owners in California in a state-wide protest against foreclosures demand a moratorium on banks to stop the practice that is affecting millions of Americans.
A coalition of homeowners, Occupy groups, and labor unions from across California are to hold a major rally in the state capital Sacramento to demand a moratorium on home foreclosures.
The protesters plan to ask the state governor, the Attorney General, and the Legislature to declare an immediate foreclosure moratorium. They also want banks to start paying their fair compensation for the economic crisis in the US.
Millions of homes have been foreclosed in the state since the start of the economic crisis in 2007. Millions more people are expected to lose their residences this year.
Press TV has interviewed Ralph Schoenman, political commentator from Berkeley, to further discuss the issue. The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
A big anti-foreclosure rally is set to take place in California. Just tell us more about what the people are so unhappy about?
What they're unhappy about is the fact that the value of their homes has decreased to less than a third of what it was but a few years ago and the banks are simply foreclosing on houses whose value is a fraction of the actual mortgage obligations that the population has to meet.
In this situation one has to bear in mind that corporate profit margins and that, of course, especially applies to the banks, according to the Business Insider today, hit an all time high. Corporations are making more per dollar of sales than ever before. The reality of the situation is that there is an all-out war on working people being waged by the huge banks and corporations.
We've just seen a scandal in Washington focused around the fact that J P Morgan Chase has been pursuing precisely the policies of speculative paper shuffling through derivatives involving endless billions of dollars, which are acknowledged, in fact dwarfing what was being done in 2008 at the time of the last great crash.
In that setting in which banks are profiteering as never before and which in fact off-shoring of huge assets on the part of banks and corporations is a standard every day event, the people of the United States, the people who work for a living, the people who are trying to hold onto the homes are in crisis mode.
Wages as a percent of the economy are at an all time low and that in turn is one reason that the economy is in freefall.
So we have to understand that this march and the mobilization of rank and file workers around these issues is a threat not merely to the corporate and banking capitals, but to the Democratic Party and Obama who are really responsible for the vast escalation of this war on working people.
It's not going to stop; the crisis is deep and endemic; and the people are at a point where they can't take any more.
Five years on and the issue of the foreclosures and losing a home still haunts the average working American, as you’ve just mentioned, please elaborate on the issue of when will this spiral finally stop and what has to happen for this nightmare to end?
The answer to the question of the moment, the spiral, will not stop because the crisis is inherent and institutional with respect to late capital which is entirely dependent on speculative operations not involving advancing of productive forces.
As you see in the banking crisis that is sweeping Europe, that’s afflicting Greece, Spain, Italy and France is on the verge of foreclosure as well, all the US banks are heavily invested with the paper that the banks in Europe are speculating about which is causing this collapse of economies, very much a replica of the foreclosure crisis in the United States because the real value of productive forces has disappeared in a capitalist economy.
It’s a speculative economy and the people are not able to retain an income level to enable them to meet their daily needs.
The banks which speculate on mortgages, these mortgages around which there is foreclosure are packaged. They are then put into a paper context and speculated about even further, and a value derived from them.
Much of the banking speculation came about by taking mortgages of homes, new property, and turning them into a casino economy in which they’re real value was just a guess game. The banks make billions out of this, and trillions out of this.
When the chickens come home to roost, as they say, what happens? People are foreclosed upon and the bankers are bailed out.
Same situation is, by the way, taking place in China but because of the fact that the Chinese oligarchy is tied into the banking and corporate economy itself, you’ll see these empty, speculative buildings now across China and real earnings are dropping.
It’s a capitalist crisis. Its focus is in the center of corporate capital of that in the United States.
With respect to the value of homes, the value of homes is virtually disappeared for people: one-third, one-fifth of their former value but a couple of years ago, but the same obligations obtained.
People can’t do it. They’re losing their jobs. They’re one paycheck away from going into bankruptcy themselves. That’s the nature of this crisis. It’s a crisis reflecting a war on working people. There is no resolution of it short of displacing the system of nationalizing these banks, of making the government disservice of the population.