For the past couple of months, protesters in Lower Manhattan have taken part of a campaign called Occupy Wall Street, fighting against many things including the disparity of wealth between the top 1% of the nation’s wealthy and everyone else. They are fighting against a system where people can get their homes taken away from them after years of perfect mortgage payments when their required payments suddenly double or triple without warning. If evicting people from their homes wasn’t enough, one New York foreclosure law firm added insult when they had everyone dress up like the homeless and mock them in a Halloween party last year —
Pictures from the Steven J. Baum law firm’s 2010 Halloween party turned up last week in The New York Times, which said it received them from an unidentified former employee.
The pictures show people dressed to look homeless and a sign reading “Baum Estates” near part of the office decorated to resemble a row of foreclosed homes. Another picture features a tattered green tarp over what appears to be a hovel for the homeless.
It is this kind of mentality against which the brave people sitting in the cold, braving storms and rough conditions, are fighting. The notion that the people who are being evicted from their homes are just that — people who may have suffered a bad turn, or a stroke of bad luck that put them into a place where it was just impossible to make the suddenly inflated mortgage payments every month. This happens when prices go up much more than salaries. In the UK, for example, salaries are going up by 1.1 percent versus triple that for inflation.
I cannot fathom what must have been going through the minds of the employees at this foreclosure law firm when they all decided to dress up like the people whom they hurt the most. In my mind it would be like if criminal defense attorneys would dress up like the victims of the people that they get out of jail time — would anybody be laughing then? I suspect some might be, but that is exactly where we are in this world — mock the weak, because they are not in a position to fight back.