Wild Old Women Breathe New Life into the Occupy Movement

Categories: Occupy Bay Area
wild old women.jpg
Courtesy of occupybernal.org
Wild takes on a whole new meaning when you are 80
Last week we regaled readers with a story about a small group of seniors who successfully shut down a Bank of America in Bernal Heights -- a tale that seems to have re-energized San Francisco's Occupy movement.

Since then, Tita Caldwell, 80, has been getting nonstop calls and e-mails from supporters all over, excited by this small group of "slow-moving" seniors and its unexpected contribution to the anti-Wall Street protest. Every Thursday -- or at least every other Thursday -- you can see this group of nine women, ages 69 to 82, making the trek from their senior housing complex to the Bank of America on Mission Street where they stage an afternoon protest.

"We are not out to be cute," Caldwell told SF Weekly. "We want to be taken seriously, because we are serious."
But nobody is making light of their actions, especially not Bank of America, which closed its doors and locked up on two separate occasions when employees saw the seniors walking toward the bank. Caldwell laughed it off, saying they had no plans to occupy the BofA. "That's too demanding," she said.

The group -- which has dubbed itself the Wild Old Women -- started last month after Caldwell, and a few others frustrated by the economic meltdown, began discussing ways in which they could join Occupy without actually having to occupy a bank or the Port of Oakland.

"When the occupation started [in San Francisco], I really wanted to be part of it, but I had to be careful because I recently had surgery and I don't want to fall," Caldwell told us. While at a potluck, the women started making plans to meet weekly outside the nearest bank and protest.

There's no chanting, tents, or tear gas, and certainly no cops in riot gear. Rather, the Wild Old Women hold signs and hand out pamphlets, trying to talk to people and convince them to move their money out of the big banks, Caldwell said.

"We are appalled by the evictions, and we are appalled by the joblessness," Caldwell told us. "And the rich keep getting tax breaks -- that includes the banks."

For now, the group has only committed to weekly protests through the end of the month. After that, they will reconvene and decide whether they feel like pushing forward. But the pressure for the Wild Old Women to continue is definitely mounting, as their fame for being the "little old ladies" fighting the banks continues to grow.

"I am not little and I am not a lady," Caldwell quipped. "I just want to feel useful."

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Steelynsweet
Steelynsweet

Congratulations to these courageous women, no matter what age. Advanced a nations depend on women who are free from fear and anxiety who are fair, wise and and kind.

Realist
Realist

Oh, hell. What's so courageous about sitting around on a bench with posters and handing out fliers? I suppose you'll be calling them "heroes" next?

The reason they get attention for this (for the next few days, anyway, until a new flavor hits the shelves) is because what they are doing is very much a gimmick, which is all occupy has brought forth thus far. Gimmicks! No substance! No direction! No ideas!

How do "advanced nations" depend on women who are "free from fear and anxiety who are fair, wise and kind", and what in the hell does that even mean?

You people are fools and, because you do nothing to educate yourselves, attempt to face reality, or accept responsibility for your own actions, you deserve your stupidity.

Jeffrey Ferreira
Jeffrey Ferreira

I agree with the old ladies, And you. People made bad decisions and they should have to pay the consequences, but shouldn't the banks as well. When the banks couldn't collect the money they gave away to some "selfish, greedy idiots take on a debt load that they cannot sustain" as you put it. They should have had to pay the consequences, but no, the governments bailed them out with our tax dollars. Those banks should have failed, disappeared and all the employees who work for them. Then the homes would have been bought for way less and reintroduced into the market. But no, the banks are now sitting on thousands of homes in California with no people living in them and they wont even put them on the market. They only let a little at a time as to hold up the over inflated price. Its bull shit. The is a way that people can punish the banks for being stupid and crooked.

Realist
Realist

I agree that no government money should have gone to any private corporation. GM should have failed and any bank that wasn't able to cover their own debt should have failed. In America, you are entitled to the "right to fail", just as you are entitled to the "right to try". However, I'm quite sure Americans could not have handled the depression that would have followed an economic collapse of that magnitude, which is something that occupy conveniently ignores.

Yes, it is all rigged, it is all crooked, which should have given pause to those that made such stupid, greedy decisions. Greed drove their actions, just as it drove the banks' actions. They are, to me, one in the same. Greed is greed.

Realist
Realist

There's no fool like an old fool.

These ladies are tired of the evictions? Guess what, ladies? That's what happens when selfish, greedy idiots take on a debt load that they cannot sustain, as in, taking on a huge mortgage way beyond their pay level during a housing bubble because they intend to flip the house for more money. Every person that did this was stupid to do so and is paying the price for exercising this foolish option. Do these ladies not believe in personal responsibility? I thought that was an American value that we respected but these occupy morons are showing me otherwise.

Guess what I did during the housing bubble? I bought below my means, even though I was approved for much more. I bought a house that needed plenty of work and I did all of it by myself, raising the equity in the process. About four months ago, I put the house up for sale, got an offer within two weeks, sold and was out within two months, and made $50,000. That was my reward for doing the right thing and not being a greedy fool.

They're appalled by joblessness? How is BofA responsible for the rate of joblessness in this country? No, really, please do explain. It's obviously over my head.

They can't stand the rich getting tax breaks? Maybe they're not aware that the rich in this country pay 50% of taxes overall (70% Fed) while almost half of Americans pay nothing or, worse yet, get tax credits, like the earned income credit, without having put a dime into the system.

99% of this Occupy crap is, well, 99% crap.

putaro
putaro

You did the right thing during the housing bubble, so kudos for you.

However, when you talk about responsibility, there are two parties to those transactions.  The people who took out a foolish loan and those who sold it to them (yes, sold, because in today's world a loan is a product like anything else and is sold to you).  The banks and mortgage brokers actively sought out people to make these loans to.  The banks took on little risk because they bundled the mortgages into CDO's and made their money on the transaction and servicing fees - not by loaning money and not by making accurate risk assessments.

So, if there are two (really three, also those who bought the CDO's) parties to this transaction, why should one party (the banks) get off scott free?

These loans were engineered to explode on the homeowners.  If someone sold you a toaster that exploded you would expect them to pay for the damages.  Why should it be any different for loans?

Realist
Realist

There are lots of things I can buy in this world that are obviously and blatantly crooked. I can go out right now, go to some used car lot, and allow myself to be ripped off. Nobody forced anybody during the bubble to sign off on a loan for a home. That was done willingly by fools that were driven by the same greed they now put wholly upon the banks. I don't buy it and do not accept it - they made their bed, they will sleep in it, and it is 100% their fault.

And the banks are taking a hit, massive hits. Take a look at stock prices today and compare them to prices before the bubble burst. Take a look at current earnings compared to earnings the collapse. The banks have lost millions on the losers they sold the crummy loans to, and that is the bank's fault. I don't feel any worse for the banks than I do for the people that willingly bought the loans.

Occupy drives me crazy with their stupidity and their whining and their moronic gimmicks. The point to Occupy should have been removing corporate control from political policy. All I hear Occupy participants saying is that they want what other people have because, for some reason, they are entitled to it. I hear them saying that they are not responsible for the choices they've made in life, like buying houses they could not afford, like buying huge cars in order to look cool, like drowning themselves in unnecessary consumer debt.

I make less than $25K a year, work for every penny, have no consumer debt, and I resent the losers that screwed themselves over, because they are GREEDY, and now do not want to accept that they are responsible for their actions. You take on a loan, be it student, mortgage, credit card, or otherwise, you are responsible for paying it off. If you don't, you pay the price. It is very simple.

No, these occupy people are just a bunch of misguided, attention-seeking, self-entitled weenies making noise for no reason. I still have no idea why these old ladies are sitting out in front of BofA, and neither do they.

ItsKROOKS
ItsKROOKS

Occupy IS SO OVER LIKE GET REAL.

Pookie
Pookie

Occupy Santa Ana  supports these Wild Women to the end.

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