Singing Foreclosure Protesters Occupy Queens Courtroom


The third "People's Bailout", a series of singing protests organized by activist group Organizing for Occupation that aims to disrupt the court foreclosure proceedings, took place this morning at 11am at the Queens Supreme Court. Forty-two people showed up for the movement and, in three separate batches, interrupted the auction process by standing and singing "Mr. Auctioneer".

With the movement advertised heavily on social media the last several days, the courts were prepared. Over 20 court guards patrolled the courtroom, and arrests were made within seconds of song outbursts. Twenty three people, including some who did not sing but were merely standing up, were arrested and escorted out of the court room in rapid
succession. Deborah Seabrook, a 63-year-old activist of sorts who has been monitoring foreclosure proceedings for the past nine years under various groups, called the reactions by court guards "overkill".

"I've never seen this many guards in one room before," said Seabrook, who attended on her own and was not part of the People's Bailout movement.

Madeline Nelson, an unemployed activist who attended today's event as well as last month's blockade action in Brooklyn, said the guards were "rougher and quicker to act than last time".

Not that they were caught by surprise or anything. At a 9am pre-meeting held at the Afrikan Poetry Theatre on Jamaica Avenue, the singing activists - a diverse group that included two women in their 70s and a couple of teenagers - explained the day's process, with Common Law attorneys Jay Kim and Karen Gargamelli breifing newcomers on what to expect. They then practiced the song, you know, just to ensure they hit the notes properly.


"We're trying to confuse them with our loveliness," Gargamelli told the group. "Let's preach peacefully."

While half the crowd were veteran activists, some were there for the first time, including Loren Hart, a Catholic worker who said he first heard of these protests via YouTube videos, and Joan Jensen, who showed up with her teenage daughter.

The three bursts of singing took place within the first 15 minutes and despite causing quite a stir, the auction was able to continue, wrapping up by 11:40, with all three foreclosed properties sold. It was a quick process, with bidders raising their hands to bid. None of the foreclosed homeowners were present.

"I'd say last time was more of a success, but we still put them on alert," said Nelson. "The banks know people are watching this."

Those who've been arrested - including Occupy Wall Street regular Michael Strom, Gargamelli, Kim - have not been released yet, but Runnin' Scared will be keeping track.

bsin@villagevoice.com / @bencsin



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16 comments
Debthelper.com
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Lehigh Acres Foreclosures
Lehigh Acres Foreclosures

This will only show the problem that we're facing in the housing market. This is the first for me to hear something like that. Hopefully things will be better for the housing market to finally put an end to all the sufferings of homeowners that was affected.

shelmae
shelmae

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GENUG
GENUG

Put 'em all in Rikers lockup for 24 hours. One does NOT disrupt the Courtroom. The Courtroom protects THEIR rights - idiots.........

Mombo909
Mombo909

Power to the People..................John Lennon

Kevin Allen
Kevin Allen

Seems like they did something other than complain. That's what was accomplished.

Dseegolam
Dseegolam

If you want to make a sufferance ask for proof of owner of title of bank requesting foreclosure. The is adnan sakli they can get the proof by typing his name into the fed screen there is the truth. He has not authorize any foreclosure.

Charles Deihl
Charles Deihl

PEOPLE Standing Up For People is a Show of Pride & Honor among Fellow Citizens.The Crime Wave that Banks have brought to OUR Living quarters is a Show of Injustice to EVERY Person that Lives among us ALL.Just because you may NOT be a victum of their Crimes right now,Don't think for one minute you wont become one in the near Future,if they are allowed to continue with their Fraudulent Misguiding Business Practices.

LeavingNY
LeavingNY

So what was accomplished?  The auctions proceeded; so they were delayed for 15 minutes or so.  The banks don't care about those of us who read these blogs or watch these videos.  All that was accomplished was these organizers got their 15 minutes of fame....got their names in print...feel like they're bigshots!  And the followers got arrested and may (or may not) have to pay a hefty fine to the courts in which they protested.  There's got to be a better use of one's time and energy, don't you think?

None
None

What the protesters don't understand is that the  foreclosure auctions that are held at the queens court on fridays have little or nothing to do with the wide spread  foreclosures that were caused by the banks. These  foreclosure auctions have been held at the court house for years. They were previous;y done on the courts front steps.

Christopher Neal
Christopher Neal

"We're trying to confuse them with our loveliness" surely refers to demeanor rather than physical appearance no doubt...

Jim Hardy
Jim Hardy

Very  irresponsible  silly  comment  by  this   stupid  LeavingNY, may  be  he   sides with  the  99% .

Cloudgather
Cloudgather

 Yes, sitting in a chair at your house commentating.

Rafael
Rafael

And, I think that is the point.

lily
lily

Yes, everyone knows that sitting on a chair at home, criticizing people who try to do something positive, helps to change the world for the better.  But hiding, quietly,under the bed is even better.

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