“I wasn’t rich, but I felt like I had a life,” she said — as good a definition of middle class as any. That November, the company announced it was moving its office to Cleveland. All the employees were invited to go along. All declined, including Brown, who had lived in Chicago her entire adult life, since arriving to attend college. Having been laid off, Brown was eligible for unemployment benefits — which she figured would last until she found a new job. The last time she’d looked, in 1999, she’d found work right away. Despite sending out “hundreds of résumés each week,” Brown couldn’t land a full-time job. At age 46, with every month of unemployment making her less attractive to employers, she was wondering whether she ever would. She exhausted her 401K, and only a sympathetic landlord, who cut the rent to $800 a month, allowed Brown to hang on to her one-bedroom apartment. Brown’s benefits were cut off in July 2013, as a result of the federal government sequester. Two months later, she took a job as a telephone survey interviewer, for $8.50 an hour — 25 cents above the Illinois minimum wage.
Marcin said he first stumbled upon the homeless dwellings as he hiked through the woods bordering the city during hunting season. When he saw a ‘mini-fortress’ made of milk crates just yards from a major thoroughfare, Marcin began searching for other transients ‘living off the grid’. Most were based near railroad tracks, Walmarts, gas stations, and liquor stores. ‘I have always been interested in the unique places people live in, particularly where there exists an element of defiance or desperation, or both. In these situations, a house can often reflect the dilemma of its owner. In the case of the hobo camps, this reflection is quite pronounced for obvious reasons,’ he told The Atlantic Cities.
Manitoba has a long history of social justice movements. Manitoba was the first province to grant women the right to vote, home of the 1919 general strike, and is the location of one of the first Aboriginal friendship centres in the country. Our province is imbued with the spirit of solidarity and co-operation borne from a strong trade union movement and rural agricultural roots. First Nations teach us of the importance of considering the impact of our actions seven generations from now. These values inform community-organizing efforts towards social justice in Manitoba. Winnipeg’s Inner City in the late 1980s and early 1990s was a place of divestment and concentrated urban decay. The rise of the suburbs had left the core of the city in trouble: boarded-up storefronts and arsons in abandoned buildings were coupled with low graduation rates and high unemployment.
This shows the scheme enacted by BoA to sanction this illegal and unconstitutional foreclosure which was proven because the DTA was not adhered to; as well as “failure to materially comply with that statute renders a foreclosure sale pursuant to it invalid.” Therefore the foreclosure implemented against the homeowner was illegal because there was a failure to appoint “a trustee that was independent.” Bowden clearly stated “I could not find that Fannie Mae as the claimed owner of the underlying note was a bona fide purchaser for value, even if it was not complicit in the violations of the DTA.” It was concluded that BoA and MERS action were “unfair [and] deceptive” in nature and the homeowner was “injured” because of this foreclosure.
On February 11, 2014, the CDC successfully apprehended, rehabilitated and discharged bus shelter advertisements throughout San Francisco. The ads were released into city districts with historically high rates of tenant displacement, including the Fillmore, the Mission and South of Market. One corrected ad sits at Valencia and 24th Street in the Mission District, a neighborhood with the city’s leading eviction rate from 2009 to 2013. Made with the assistance of a previously unknown agency, the U.S. Department of Home Security, the corrected advertisements feature silhouettes of people surrounding a house with their arms linked. Just above the image, a dramatic headline states EVICTION FORCES US TO MAKE A CHOICE. WE CAN BE AFRAID. OR WE CAN BE READY.
In the shadow of the Winter Games in Sochi, families kicked out of their homes to make way for Olympic construction are desperate for some compensation for their lost lives. Vova’s little eyes gleamed with a mischievous light upon hearing the word “games” and the three-year-old generously offered a visitor the chance to play with his colorful toy cars. He poured heaps of them onto a bed and set about sorting the jumble of tiny vehicles. “Games” was a word that Vova understood when the adults talked in serious conversation, but nobody seemed to be interested in playing with the boy. His grandmother, Lyudmila, was actually sobbing, looking at photographs of the family’s house, which had been demolished by authorities during the recent Olympic construction boom.
He explains, “We oppose the Stand Your Ground law because it hurts people of color and poor people. But since it’s on the books, we want to try to make it applicable to this situation and see if we can make American law really work for everyone. If it’s supposed to apply to all Americans, let’s see if it applies in this situation, where we have a big corporation hiding behind the law.” The corporation in question is Fannie Mae, the government-run mortgage servicer that ordered Harris’ eviction last August. Davis’ goal is not only to save his clients from the 12- to 24-month jail sentences they face. The four defendants had a chance to take plea bargains that offered lesser punishments such as community service, probation and paying a fine. But they unanimously rejected the deals to take the case to trial. They want to use the opportunity to force transparency from the company that strung Harris along for years, leading him to believe he could save his house, then suddenly slammed the door on negotiations.
By encouraging officials to abscond with one of the few tradable assets possessed by those in the lowest (and even middle) tiers of our economy, the U.S. healthcare system reveals itself to be another cornerstone in the structure of American economic inequality. While the lower- and middle-classes have had a tough time securing stable investments in real estate, the wealthier have profited on this instability. Ironically, speculation in real estate and mortgage-backed securities and the concomitant bail-outs for irresponsible banking institutions dramatically reduced state revenues. Governments across the country have been forced to play an agonizing game of budgetary triage. Meanwhile, as more people have been forced into poverty by the massive wealth destruction of the Great Recession, the state has had to pay more into safety net programs while drawing less revenue from a poorer population.
Barry Farm, a public housing complex in southeast Washington, “is the line in the sand,” says Schyla Pondexter-Moore, a community organizer. “If you take away Barry Farm, you’re basically just giving away the whole Ward 8.” Barry Farm is the latest battleground for grass-roots housing advocates in the nation’s capital, where intense gentrification has altered the city’s demographic landscape dramatically. Because Washington was America’s first city to have a black majority, it came as a shock to many in 2011 when DC’s black population dropped below 50 percent for the first time in more than 50 years. In the past decade, the district lost nearly 40,000 black residents, many driven out by skyrocketing rents fueled by an influx of mostly white professionals flocking to increasingly gentrified neighborhoods.
Still, the protests have the attention of the city authorities. The public transport agency, which had previously allowed the Silicon Valley firms to operate their buses free of charge, agreed last week to introduce a tariff for use of city streets and city bus stops. It was, however, a notably modest tariff: just $1 per bus per bus stop. City officials said their hands were tied by rules preventing them from levying a more significant fee without a public vote endorsing a move. But that did not begin to satisfy the protesters, who heckled as two tech workers addressed a heavily attended public meeting and said they were looking for a much more comprehensive response. “One dollar per bus stop is not in any way a remedy and does not mitigate the damage,” McElroy said.
The city argued the rule is meant to protect both the organization’s street vendors and motorists. But Cononie points out that in 17 years they have yet to lose a street vendor, and that the city’s concern for the well-being and safety of the homeless does not extend to helping the group compensate for their loss of revenue. Instead, he sees the ordinance as an effort to hide visible poverty from the nicer parts of town. “It’s because they don’t like homeless or poor people to be on the street,” he says. “They did it on the streets that were main streets in nice areas.” The Sun Sentinel reports that other Florida cities like Coral Springs, Miramar and Cooper City have similar bans, and that Fort Lauderdale officials have been emboldened by the ruling to pursue similar policies.
Planning for smart municipal growth is crucial for achieving long term sustainability. Affordable, energy efficient housing, and green spaces are components of sustainable cities in the future. In Paris, this vision is already taking shape at Parc Clichy-Batignolles, a 133-acre development in the 17th arrondissement. The city has reclaimed land formerly used as railroad freight yards to build a sustainable community. The central park features low maintenance plants, wind turbines, solar collectors and a rainwater harvesting system. Building sustainability into a city’s infrastructure creates long-term livability, jobs and increases the quality of life. Planning for a low carbon future, while preserving resources such as water and green space, is critical in terms of meeting the challenges of climate change and population growth.
Even as the traditional labor movement falters, hitting a ninety-seven-year low in membership rates, female labor leaders like Jayaraman are on the rise and becoming highly visible. Women workers, who were all but shut out from unions in the 1930s, when the movement first gained real power, have been pushing into the top ranks. Mary Kay Henry is president of SEIU, one of the largest unions in the country. Randi Weingarten heads the American Federation of Teachers. At the AFL-CIO, Elizabeth Shuler is the secretary-treasurer and Arlene Holt-Baker recently retired as executive vice president. Lower-profile leaders are also making headway—and meeting with success. Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, made headlines around the country when her members went on strike in 2012 and won important concessions. At the helm of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, Bhairavi Desai secured a fare hike that benefits taxi drivers. And outside the traditional labor movement, in the so-called “alt-labor” sector, female leaders dominate: Jayaraman at ROC United, Ai-jen Poo at the National Domestic Workers Alliance and Caring Across Generations, Nadia Marin Molina with day laborers at the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, Sarita Gupta at Jobs With Justice, and Madeline Janis bringing workers together with other groups in Los Angeles through LAANE. These women are bringing new ideas and strategies to labor organizing, many of which are borrowed from the women’s movement—like making the connection between what workers face on the job and what they’re dealing with at home. They don’t only target corporate bosses but bring together a variety of stakeholders within communities to fight for change in the workplace and beyond.
Inspired by the real-world experience and skill sets developed on the ground during Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Sandy, folks involved in these two previous relief missions came together to address another problem threatening more and more people during the economic crisis: homelessness. An #OpSafeWinternyc contact describes mutual aid as a two-way street. Not only do the homeless and hungry receive relief in the form of coats and food, but those doing the relief are developing contacts and getting the chance to use their skills. Everyone gets an expanded sense of what’s possible by learning to interact with their neighbors, homeless or not, in an informal setting.