The First Amendment guarantees the right to “peaceably” assemble. Unfortunately, that right seems to be in some type of Orwellian limbo at the moment. Eighteen cities participated in a conference call about the Occupy movement before they simultaneously cracked down on occupations in their cities, according Oakland Mayor Jean Quan.

Given that this mass eviction was a national, coordinated effort, the Occupy movement must respond in its own coordinated fashion.

I’ve got a suggestion for the people in this movement who are facing foreclosure from their permanent homes, rather than eviction from those tents and tarps that are increasingly banned: Occupy the bank that originally loaned you the money for your house.

SEIU protestors occupying a Bank of America in Los Angeles. (SEIU721 / Flickr)

SEIU protestors occupying a Bank of America in Los Angeles. (SEIU721 / Flickr)

Let’s say your bank has just notified you that you are about to be homeless.

If you’re like millions of other Americans, your foreclosure is directly related to the fact that your bank packaged and sold hundreds, or even thousands, of risky mortgages that Wall Street geniuses then repackaged and treated like a Las Vegas roulette wheel. When you visit your bank to see what’s going on, you’re informed that your bank no longer has your mortgage. Even stranger, your bank doesn’t know who does.

What to do? Where do you go? Well, interestingly enough, you’re actually already where you need to be. Once a business is handling a transaction for you, you’re not trespassing when you go down to check on its progress.

Furthermore, if you’re waiting on that business to finish your transaction, there is no actual limit for how long you can remain on the premises. If you quietly take a seat and say that you’ll wait for them to find your loan holder or process whatever paperwork they keep dragging their feet on, you’ll be completely within your rights.

Not only can you do this, but so can any person that you designate in your place. All you need to do is give that person a notarized statement that makes him or her your “designated agent.” This person may now legally go to the bank on your behalf on the days that you can’t make it and ask about your mortgage. This goes for you and all of your neighbors.

Wouldn’t that be cozy? You and 100 other unsatisfied customers packed into the same bank each day until you get answers to questions that no one should ever need to ask in the first place.

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Samuel J. Vance

Samuel J. Vance is a commentator for Follow him on Twitter at @samueljvance or contact him via email at
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