“If you owe your bank a hundred pounds, you have a problem. But if you owe a million, it has.” --John Maynard Keynes
Building on the deep community connections forged by standing alongside (among others) rent strikers, immigrant workers, and those impacted by Hurricane Sandy, one faction of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) has conjured up an innovative new outreach idea: A Rolling Debt Jubilee.
Let’s begin with a very brief explanation of how the shady world of debt (and collection thereof) works: “When payers fall behind on debt, it becomes delinquent, and banks often clear it off their books by selling it to third-party debt collectors for pennies on the dollar,” explains Anya Kamenetz, a senior writer at Fast Company. “These collectors then try to get you to make good on the full amount plus interest.”
The Rolling Jubilee intervenes by “buying debt, keeping it out of the hands of collectors, and then abolishing it. We’re going into this market not to make a profit but to help each other out and highlight how the predatory debt system affects our families and communities. Think of it as a bailout of the 99% by the 99%.”
OWS raises money to buy your debt from a collector.
That debt is promptly forgiven.
“The point of this stunt is to make clear, by turning the tables, the way in which the rules of the economy are rigged against ordinary people -- and to begin to fight back,” adds Kamenetz..