Can You Stop Capitalism With A Song?
A new artistic intervention is being used to stop foreclosure auctions, effectively halting the machinery wherein the homes of unfairly evicted families are being resold for profit. Part song, part ritual, part spiritual elegy, a song called "Mr. Auctioneer" is being sung by activists who enter courtrooms and begin singing aloud as the bidding begins, thereby preventing the sales from happening. The fact that the song is a devastatingly powerful, and sung in multi-part harmony, is what makes it so effective.
All the people here
Are asking you to stop all the sales right now
We’re going to survive, but we don’t know how
The haunting yet heartfelt lyrics were written by poet Luke Nephew. However, the music evolved over time as participants began to use it more and more.
Recently, in Brooklyn, nearly one hundred people employed this non-violent tactic in a courtroom where auctions were taking place. As a testament to it's effectiveness, approximately 35 people were arrested. Those in handcuffs continued to sing as they were escorted out of the courtroom.
As a part of the direct action a group called Occupied Real Estate, posing as actual real estate agents, distributed advertising brochures to interetested buyers that profiled the properties up for auction. They included not only the number of bathrooms and parking spaces that come with the property, but photos of the occupy protesters who will be camping there if they attempt to buy the property.
Said Danielle Moesr of Occupied Real Estate, “If speculators want to bid on these listings they should know that they come with eviction defense activists from Occupy Wall Street,” making it clear that these homes would be defended, and immediately dropping their value as a speculative property.
According to organizers, last month over 50 actions were carried out across the country, including foreclosure disruptions, eviction defense actions, and home reoccupations.
“We bailed out the big banks, and then they went on to foreclose on millions of families. That’s just heartless,” said Michael Premo, an organizer with Organizing for Occupation and Occupy Wall Street. “We’re committed to keeping homes occupied by people who need homes.”
We can do that. One song at time.
"Just like that, every rendition of 'hey hey ho ho (insert noun here) has been rendered obsolete. Politics of all kinds, not just protest politics but electoral politics and all the different ways people do politics, get better when they get creative." - Rachel Maddow
Beauty against the machine