“This is a crowd that won’t scatter,” James Steele wrote in the pages of The Nation some seventy-five years ago. Early one morning in July 1933, the police had evicted John Sparanga and his family from a home on Cleveland’s east side. Sparanga had lost his job and fallen behind on mortgage payments. The bank had foreclosed. A grassroots “home defense” organization, which had managed to forestall the eviction on three occasions, put out the call, and 10,000 people — mainly working-class immigrants from Southern and Central Europe — soon gathered, withstanding wave after wave of police tear gas, clubbings and bullets, “vowing not to leave until John Sparanga [was] back in his home.”

And some version of this is happening again as we speak. Read: Resistance to Housing Foreclosures Spreads Across the Land


  1. #1 Kate
    February 2, 2009

    Here in New Mexico this week a man was killed in a shootout when he refused to evacuate his foreclosed home. He was a veteran. A woman presumed to be his girlfriend was wearing a bullet poof vest and lying on a shot gun in one of the inner rooms.

    I’m sure you’ve also heard by now about the parents who shot their 5 children and committed suicide after losing their jobs on the same day.

    As the economy gets worse, I fear more and more people are going to die, not just from starvation or exposure, but from anger and despair.

  2. #2 kasj
    February 3, 2009

    It’s just so bizarre that the banks would act like that. Surely they are in business to make money, yes? But they lose a lot of money when they foreclose and auction….. maybe they needed the money fast, I guess.

    The only long term solution will be to get the cost of housing down. There is no real reason anyone has to work full time for 9 years to get an insulated box. The average income to mortgage ratio is 9:1!