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The suicide of Amala Egana, about to be evicted from her home, has triggered a national revolt against bank practices and foreclosure laws in Spain.

The conservative government, which last month saw massive protests in Madrid taking aim at its austerity program, is now facing a country-wide revolt over Spain's draconian foreclosure practices. With four hundred thousand homes have already been repossessed and no end in sight, with vast numbers of people homeless and/or unemployed, and with 1,000,000 vacant units, it seems like people might just have had enough -- finally -- and the government is at least beginning to listen.

Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos promised on Monday that no needy family will go homeless over mortgage arrears, responding to public fury at a homeowner's suicide as she was being evicted... In this situation, the government and the economy ministry ... has to take steps so that no family in good faith goes without a home. This is our commitment," he said.
Even Spain's own banksters are becoming afraid of what might happen...
Spain's banking association said its members would suspend eviction orders for two years for those borrowers worst hit by economic crisis and record unemployment...
Note the weasel words. (There are always weasel words). "no family in good faith..." "those borrowers worst hit..." (One needs little imagination to predict, as with mortgage modification programs in the United States, the endless documentation necessary in order for a family to demonstrate economic ruin, while in the meantime another department of the bank going through with an eviction.)

Spanish foreclosure law is insane, akin to debtor's prison:

Under Spanish law, even when borrowers turn over their homes to the bank, they still owe the entire amount of the mortgage.
It's no wonder people are just getting angrier and angrier. Those in need and those who see the need have come together, forming an organization known as STOP EVICTIONS. Besides taking on individual cases, they've already had an some effect nationwide:
The pressure by Stop Evictions and other groups led the government to ask banks earlier this year to forgive mortgage debt for properties worth less than 200,000 euros and where all family members are unemployed.
Here in the United States, having the government ask banks nicely to stop being cruel doesn't work, and I suspect it won't work in Spain. Ultimately, the government is going to have to choose between its people having a roof over their collective head and an austerity regime that has no bottom line other than Spain's credit rating.
Fans at a Primera Liga soccer match on Saturday protested about the fate of Egana, who killed herself in the Basque town of Barakaldo, and countless others who are losing their homes.

"They're not suicides. They're murders. The banks and politicians are accomplices. Stop the evictions!" read a banner held up by supporters of Rayo Vallecano, which plays in a working class district of Madrid.

The government may soon no longer have the choice.


p.s. For the latest on Occupy Oakland's current eviction defense action, check out the #defendjodie series, keep up with that hash tag on twitter, and check out our webpage.

There are also notable eviction defenses going on at Ft. Hernandez and For Lucero in southern California.

Originally posted to jpmassar on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 07:24 AM PST.

Also republished by Occupy Wall Street, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, and Progressive Policy Zone.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Talk about the banks raking it in.... they can (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jpmassar, TheHalfrican

    still collect from the person evicted and sell the property again.  Getting paid twice for the same property at the same time, what a deal!!  Assholes......

  •  "Recourse" states exist in the US too. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jpmassar, shrike, Sparhawk, johnny wurster
    Under Spanish law, even when borrowers turn over their homes to the bank, they still owe the entire amount of the mortgage.
    When a lender forecloses on a mortgage, the debt often exceeds the amount that the lender recovers through the foreclosure sale. In states classified as “non-recourse,” the lender cannot seek a judgment against the debtor to recover the deficiency. “Recourse” states allow lenders to seek a deficiency judgment against the debtor.

    It is difficult to classify states as strictly recourse or non-recourse. Almost all states allow deficiency judgments under certain conditions, for certain types of property or foreclosure proceedings. However, many states restrict not only the conditions under which deficiency judgments are allowed but the maximum recovery for the creditors. Based on information compiled by the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC), at least 10 states can be generally classified as non-recourse for residential mortgages: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Washington. Recent legislation also makes Nevada non-recourse in most cases for residential purchasers for mortgages obtained on or after October 1, 2009.

    State laws also vary regarding the time in which a debtor may redeem a mortgage default. To varying degrees, all states allow debtors to cure defaults before a property is sold through the foreclosure process. However, many states, under various conditions, allow debtors to redeem even after the foreclosure sale.

    -7.75 -4.67

    "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

    There are no Christians in foxholes.

    by Odysseus on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 08:11:16 AM PST

    •  In Spain... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...deficiency mortgage debt is specifically excluded from bankruptcy. IIRC, that is not true in any US state and makes buying a property a much more high-stakes affair.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:19:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Homes will be purchased in lots by the wealthy, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlackSheep1, jpmassar, cynndara

    and then rented out. Don't look for home ownership to be a viable option for most Spaniards, and look for this same tactic to occur in the USA. It is part of the enslavement of the working class - take their homes.

    Send conservatives to for re-education.

    by filthyLiberalDOTcom on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 08:56:13 AM PST

    •  Why would you want to own a home... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, johnny wurster, jpmassar

      ...with laws like Spain's? Just rent.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:17:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  People get attached. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        It's a natural instinct, to get strongly territorial about your "nest".  And when you rent, you're often barred from the simplest, STUPIDEST alterations to make a barren shell more liveable.  Condemned to white walls, forbidden any pictures that require so much as a pinhole to support, not allowed to keep pets . . . the lease I signed last month even dictated the COLOR OF MY CURTAINS.

        Personally, I can't see why anyone would rent by choice.  I certainly don't intend to do so for more than a year.   Renting at best means improving a property you can be tossed out of on a maximum of a year's notice; at worse to be forbidden to make necessary repairs yourself in a hovel that the landlord refuses to maintain properly.  Landlordism was the initial root of most modern evils.

  •  Ingrates! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Don't the Spanish people understand they should respect their Savvy Businessmen?

    Heathens!  Heretics!  

    /angry snark

    Meanwhile, back at the FDA, Monsanto's Executive, Michael Taylor, is looking out for YOUR health, using YOUR tax dollars.

    Lobby from the outside, control from the inside - You Can't Lose!

    Miss Garnett, I love you. God speed and thank you for blessing me with your companionship for almost 17 years.

    by Johnathan Ivan on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:10:43 AM PST

  •  Springfield No One Leaves (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We have a very active and effective  local group engaged in this struggle, Springfield No One Leaves.  I don't think there's any single thing that the decline in my health makes more frustrating than that I just am not able to be active in this organization, the best on the ground organizing project I've ever seen in action here.

    Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

    by ActivistGuy on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:20:40 AM PST

  •  I saw this on BBC (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and thought, "this could be the first real chink in the dam."  But I thought the government had imposed the moratorium, damn.

    At some point it will become obvious that there are limits to the amount of bank fraud and corruption the rest of the world's population is willing to make good.  The Spanish banks are on the ropes due to bad loans, not only in real estate but fundamentally in government bonds (Spanish, Portugese, Greek) that were taken in as "reserves".  We read constantly about the Greek government being ready to crash into default; the Spanish government isn't in trouble -- but the entire national banking system is on the verge of collapse.  So they're under the gun to extract anything and everything they can from mortgagees . . . who are out of work and penniless because of the stringent austerity measures imposed on the government by international finance officials in order to save the banks.

    At some point, it all collapses.  Europe can bail Greece out, and if they don't, the EU doesn't collapse.  Not so with Spain.  Spain is just too big, and Portugal is right next door with the same problems.  If Spain goes, Portugal and Italy go, the French and German banks go, and the Euro collapses entirely.  Although Europe COULD devise a new monetary solution as a region and finally cut the banks and the Almighty Investors loose, they're almost certain to fall back into a bickering heap of individual currencies, with wealthy individuals and corporations mostly sheltering their capital in dollars or yuan and letting their local economies shrivel instead.

    I heartily recommend that everyone read Tragedy & Hope by Carroll Quigley, which details the rise and operation of the Anglo-American banking cartel underlying all modern monetary arrangements.  There really IS a conspiracy, it's been running in the shadows for about a century, it underpins the operation of all global commerce and finance, and IT MIGHT FALL as this crisis plays out.  We're actually only in the beginning stages.  It took twenty years for the massive debts accumulated in WWI to work their way through the system and force a collapse which might have been only half as bad as this one.  

    In 1945, the US was ultimately able to bail out the world (after Germany, Russia, and the Balkans had been leveled and looted).  Nobody is going to bail it out this time.  But after the tide goes out . . . we might get our first chance to build a truly egalitarian civilization in the last three centuries.  The American Revolution was too soon and incomplete; the French too bloody and frightening.  The Russian was nipped in the bud when Lenin died and Stalin outmaneuvered Trotsky.  But after yet another abject failure by the Masters Of The Universe, we might be ready to give it an honest go.

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