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Nationalize the Banks! Take Back Our Housing!

by Tribuno Del Pueblo  |  Issue: September / October 2011

As the economic crisis deepens, some of the world’s biggest banks are emerging in control of a commanding share of this country’s housing.

They are only a few — Bank of America, Citibank, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo., Deutsche Bank. Major world oligarchs, all of them.

Together they hold a large part of the country’s mortgages or service them for some of their most wealthy clients. They foreclose on them, sell the properties to themselves, evict the renters or homeowners.

They have deposited a big percentage of their mortgages with quasi-federal agencies — Fannie Mae, Freddy Mac. That burdens the taxpayers with any loses, but leaves the banks very much in control.

As in other arenas, they get their way with a flagrant disregard of legality — and of the needs of the masses of people who actually use the housing.

To get out of the mess they made selling booby-trapped mortgages to the unsuspecting, the banks gave themselves a trillion-dollar bailout, using the Secretary of the Treasury to frighten Congress into submission.

With the ensuing crash, they have destroyed literally trillions of dollars of the wealth of working-class America. That began with the billions lost to Latinos — who the banks assured could buy into the American dream with a subprime mortgage.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, when the era’s small, local banks foreclosed on mortgages, they often let people stay in their homes and rent them.

Today, the megabanks are kicking everybody out. They won’t let people stay and rent. They can’t even be reached to talk to. By nature, their only interest is financial — maximizing profit, or minimizing loss.

In Cleveland, the Bank of America is bulldozing its foreclosed homes and abandoning the lots to the city, so that they won’t have to pay taxes. In Los Angeles, Deutsche Bank has become the city’s biggest slumlord.

The people in this country need to take control of our banks — nationalize them. We need to take back our housing, fix it up, and make it available to the people who need it.

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