Green Party Candidate Jill Stein went orange last week, after being arrested in Philadelphia. The presidential candidate and her running mate Cheri Honkala joined in on a citizen organized, sit in protest of Fannie Mae, the mortgage giant tied to the housing bubble and subprime mortgages.
Stein and Honkala joined the 50 protesters in the “Occupy Fannie Mae” movement which was organized as a peaceful protest of home foreclosures. The protesters met on Market Street, a busy thoroughfare in the city, to hold speeches and picket. At one point, protesters attempted to enter the Fannie Mae building to speak with a representative. When shut out of the building, the group attempted to enter again, this time through Conestoga Bank. They were unsuccessful and in retaliation, staged a sit it inside the bank.
Police were called to the scene and Stein negotiated for select protesters to meet with a representative.
“Why are families out in the streets? This is a systemic problem and no one is moving fast enough to fix it, so we’ve got to continue to make a statement that a million families that are scheduled to by put out of their homes have to be accounted for,” said one protester, whose house was being foreclosed on. “They can’t just be put off the rolls.”
After the meeting with the representatives, the protesters felt that not enough had been done for them to leave. They continued their Conestoga Bank sit-in until Stein and Honkala were arrested. The running mates will face charges for “defiant trespassing.”
When asked why Stein participated, she replied, “Millions have lost their homes already. Many millions are still in the pipeline.”
“We are five years into this crisis and effectively nothing has been done about it,” Stein continued.
“I am extremely honored that they would go out on a limb for myself and everybody else,” said one of the protestors, “because they have families just like everybody else, and they have obligations.” She said the event gave her hope that something will actually be done about her case.
Besides lobbying for the environment, Stein and Honkala’s campaign will feature their “Green New Deal” which Stein argues will create eco-friendly jobs and center around an economic bill of rights, which includes an “immediate halt to all foreclosures and evictions.”
“The developers and financiers made trillions of dollars through the housing bubble and the imposition of crushing debt on homeowners. And when homeowners could no longer pay them what they demanded, they went to government and got trillions of dollars of bailouts,” Stein said.
“Every effort of the Obama Administration has been to prop this system up and keep it going at the taxpayer’s expense. It’s time for this game to end. It’s time for the laws be written to protect the victims and not the perpetrators. It’s time for a new deal for America, and a Green New Deal is what we will deliver on taking office. ”
Running mate Honkala largely agreed, chiming in: “The laws and the budgets and the procedures are designed to protect the lenders and to extract as much money as possible from the victims. This isn’t the way it would be if we really had a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. The first goal of government should be to keep families in their homes, and to provide restitution for the deception and fraud that has robbed millions of Americans of financial security.”