From Cairo to Wall Street: Lisa Epstein – The Accidental Activist

Anya Stiglitz, who goes by Anya Schiffrin, teaches at Columbia University and is married to Joseph Stiglitz, a recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (2001) and the John Bates Clark Medal (1979). He is also the former Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank.

Anya’s recently published book, From Cairo to Wall Street, includes a full chapter on Lisa Epstein’s quest of taking on the fraudulent mortgage foreclosure industry.

Below is a copy of Lisa’s chapter for your reading enjoyment.

But first, here is a blurb from Anya about the book:

My new book “From Cairo to Wall Street: Voices from the Global Spring” is a compilation of essays and interviews from the Occupy and protest movement around the world that I edited with journalist Eamon Kircher-Allen. It includes an introduction by Nobel laureate, Joseph E. Stiglitz who puts the movements in a global context.

“From Cairo to Wall Street” tells the stories of the brave young people in New York, Wisconsin, Cairo, Tunis, Greece, Spain, Syria and other countries who took to the streets in 2011 and made history.

The protestors’ inspiring and heartfelt accounts describe how they became radicalized and what it was like in Tahrir Square and the other squares of protest around the world. We found that these very different protests have many points in common: frustration with the lack of jobs, foreclosures (which took place in Spain as well as across the US) and anger because so many of the protestors worked hard at school and were caught in systems where finding meaningful work was impossible. They took to the streets and found that many people felt the way they did.

Through this personal voyage they discovered they are not alone, that their desire for change is shared by millions of others.

One essay from our book From Cairo to Wall Street that sticks with me is the story of Egyptian protestor Jawad Nabulsi, 29, who talked about how reading The Tipping Point and From Good to Great affected his thinking about social change. Nabulsi worked for charities in Upper Egypt that raised money in order to connect poor households to water and electricity.

“I had gone to villages and slums, saw the depth of problems in these places and assumed they could not be fixed. I’d tell myself, “They are too humungous, it’s like throwing something in the sea.” Then I read the Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell and understood you don’t need to change the whole population. You just need a few people. I realized I needed to bring together a circle of key players who could have an influence. I also read from Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins. It reinforced the idea that it’s not about the people in the company; it’s about the right people in the company. I didn’t need to change everything, I just needed to focus on the leaders in the community and work with them.”

Having realized this, Nabulsi began setting up facebook groups in order to connect like-minded people to each other. These groups took on a life of their own; seeing that there were others who felt the same frustrations people began to feel powerful and so were willing to go down to Tahrir Square and make their voices heard in the street. Across the globe, protestors used new technology to connect to each other and to learn from each other.

Their first-hand accounts evoke the excitement and passion of 2011 and show how these movements came about and why they will continue.

And here is the chapter Anya shared about Lisa Epstein, and how she took on mortgage foreclosure fraud.




From Cairo to Wall Street: Lisa Epstein – The Accidental Activist