We pointed to a new front of protests against the banks, namely, efforts in California to obstruct foreclosure auctions. In Greece, they are much more frontal. A translation of how they go about it, from The Greek Streets (hat tip reader Deontos, via Richard Brennman):
The committees ‘I do not Pay’ stopped house auctions at the courthouse on Sep 21 in Athens. They invaded the courthouse where houses confiscated by banks were to be auctioned, with a banner writing ‘No house to end up at the hands of bankers’ and chanting slogans entered the room where auctions were to take place, they made bank lawyers and other scum who went to buy the confiscated houses to leave the room and the judge chairing the auctions had to cancel them.
This video is in Greek, but you can see the group marched into the courtroom and made a nuisance of themselves, drowning out the proceedings:
In the US, I can’t imagine this working. The judge would get a bailiff or cops to haul the demonstrators out. But it serves to highlight an interesting issue. The Greek government is resorting to increasingly draconian measures to collect taxes (attaching them to electricity bill, so you lose your power if you can’t or don’t pay). But a variant has been successful in Iceland. Here, the “Home Defense Team” sought to bar an eviction. And even though it looks like they lost (you can see the police removing the protestors one by one), they allowed the homeowner to remain for a few weeks while a government agency looked into the validity of the debts asserted by the bank.
Ultimately, government relies on the consent of the governed. Even the Soviet Union in its most authoritarian days was able to keep up aggressive suppression and purges up only for a few years. East Germany famously relied on the Stasi, which were effectively citizen enforcers. A broke country like Greece can’t afford the security apparatus to bulldoze its citizenry.
More broadly, the financial elite seems not to have learned a key message that Marriner Eccles conveyed in 1933:
It is utterly impossible, as this country has demonstrated again and again, for the rich to save as much as they have been trying to save, and save anything that is worth saving. They can save idle factories and useless railroad coaches; they can save empty office buildings and closed banks; they can save paper evidences of foreign loans; but as a class they can not save anything that is worth saving, above and beyond the amount that is made profitable by the increase of consumer buying. It is for the interests of the well to do – to protect them from the results of their own folly – that we should take from them a sufficient amount of their surplus to enable consumers to consume and business to operate at a profit. This is not “soaking the rich”; it is saving the rich. Incidentally, it is the only way to assure them the serenity and security which they do not have at the present moment.