“Banks leave homeowners out in the cold”

Marines like Bobby Hull go into battle with a motto that they won’t leave any of their fallen comrades behind. But Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC) activist Nick Muhammed pointed out the irony that when the banks stumbled during the height of the financial crisis, it was American taxpayers who came to their rescue and bailed them out. Now those same banks are leaving citizens literally out in the cold.

On a bone-chilling cold day in Minneapolis, more than a hundred activists from NOC and Occupy MN rallied in front of Hull’s home in South Minneapolis, which Bank of America foreclosed on and sold to U.S. Bank. Hull, a Vietnam veteran and the newest catalyst for the local Occupy foreclosed homes effort, could find himself out in the cold by February, if it weren’t for the movement budding all around him. Monique White’s foreclosed home in North Minneapolis was also occupied by solidarity activists one month ago.

“You take an oath that you’re going to protect your country foreign and domestic,” said Hull, who invited his new home defenders inside for homemade seafood gumbo and hot tea following the rally. “And as far as I’m concerned, this is domestic. We need to fight right here in the United States for our rights again. It’s what our forefathers put down in the Constitution.”

Hull’s home occupation story is already drawing nationwide media attention. MSNBC’s Ed Schultz, the Huffington Post and AOL Real Estate have all featured him since The UpTake ran this interview with the former Marine on Sunday. Meanwhile yesterday, thousands of activists in favor of occupying foreclosed homes held simultaneous rallies in New York and in Washington, D.C., and President Obama struck a populist chord that seemed to appeal to the “99 percent” with his Theodore Roosevelt-ian appeal to “New Nationalism” yesterday in Osawatomie, Kansas.

All in all, it was an inspiring day for the growing Occupy movement.

Jacob Wheeler

In addition to shooting videos for The UpTake, Jacob Wheeler is a contributing editor at the progressive political magazine In These Times, publishes the Glen Arbor Sun in his native Michigan, and authored "Between Light and Shadow," a recent book about the Guatemalan adoption industry. Wheeler's stories have appeared in such magazines as the Utne Reader, Earth Island Journal, Rotarian and Teaching Tolerance magazine, and newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and Christian Science Monitor. He speaks fluent Spanish, German and Danish.

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