George Goehl

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George Goehl

Activism

In 2010, as the foreclosure epidemic raged, George Goehl, executive director of National People’s Action , and Stephen Lerner, Service Employees International Union organizer, brought unions, community organizations and faith groups together to pressure banks and the Obama administration to do more for families losing their homes. As the New Bottom Line coalition, they mounted protests at bank headquarters around the country, generating media attention and helping Attorneys General Eric Schneiderman of New York and Kamala Harris of California successfully push for a stronger national settlement with several major banks, which resulted in more than $26 million in foreclosure relief.

The emergence of Occupy Wall Street strengthened the coalition’s hand, so Goehl worked with the New Bottom Line and others to sustain the momentum with explicit demands for foreclosure relief, fair taxes, student debt relief and campaign finance reform. The coalition trained about 100,000 recruits in civil disobedience and organized protests at the headquarters and stockholder meetings of Cigna, General Electric, Bank of America and other corporations.

In 2012 Goehl led more than 1,000 people in a protest at Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s suburban home to demand that he and the Obama administration support a financial speculation tax on banks and require banks to help families with underwater mortgages refinance their loans. As a result of the grass-roots pressure, Obama announced earlier this year that he was replacing Ed DeMarco, a Bush appointee who runs the agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and has stridently opposed government efforts to help homeowners hurt by the Wall Street mortgage meltdown and the dramatic plunge in home values. So far Congress has not confirmed Obama’s pick to replace DeMarco – Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC).

The 44-year-old Goehl has been an organizer for two decades, working with an Indiana housing rights group, a Chicago neighborhood organization and a national immigrant rights coalition. In 2007 he took over the reins at NPA, which had led the movement to pass the landmark anti-redlining Community Reinvestment Act in 1977. Goehl has knit NPA’s loose network into a more coherent organization that can juggle local and national issues simultaneously and shepherded NPA into alliances with unions and other activist groups — a remarkable accomplishment in the turf-conscious world of community organizing.[1]

National Leading From the Inside Out Alum

George Goehl, Executive Director, National Training and Information Center (NTIC), was a 2008 Rockwood Leadership Institute National Leading From the Inside Out Alum.[2]

Take Back the American Dream Conference 2011

George Goehl was one of the 158 speakers who addressed the Take Back the American Dream Conference 2011 . The Conference was hosted by the Institute for Policy Studies, and Democratic Socialists of America dominated Campaign for America's Future, [3]

"The 99% Spring"

Individuals and organizations supporting The 99% Spring, as of April 20, 2012, included George Goehl - National Peoples's Action .[4]

The Nation Forum

Circa June 2014, The Nation invited leading activists from across the progressive movement to talk about how we can build power to effect real change, not simply fend off reactionary assaults.

Participants in PROGRESSIVE STRATEGIES IN A POPULIST MOMENT included;[5]

Ear to the Ground Project

Ear to the Ground Project;

We would like to express our deep respect and appreciation for everyone who took the time to talk with us, and the organizations that generously hosted us during our travels. Interviews were confidential, but the following people have agreed to have their names listed for this publication:

Most of those listed were connected to Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

George Goehl was among those on the list. [6]

References