http://theviralmedialab.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/DSC_0076.jpg

Occupying Debt

My dear friend Kaity Thomson posted a link on her Facebook wall yesterday evening.  The article titled, “Occupy Wall Street activists buy $15m of American’s personal debt” on The Guardian website.

"Our purpose in doing this, aside from helping some people along the way – there's certainly many, many people who are very thankful that their debts are abolished – our primary purpose was to spread information about the workings of this secondary debt market."

“Our purpose in doing this, aside from helping some people along the way – there’s certainly many, many people who are very thankful that their debts are abolished – our primary purpose was to spread information about the workings of this secondary debt market.”
-Andrew Ross

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The article explains the nature of the secondary debt market, which enables a third party to buy in from banks and inevitably make profit upon exchange; typically five cents on the dollar.  I remember watching a video in November of last year called ‘What is the Rolling Jubilee?’ which discussed the plan to raise $50,000 to buy and abolish one million dollars worth of debt.  The desparity is that the bulk of this debt is a result of basic needs: housing, healthcare and education.

May 1, 2012 Photo Credit: Sarah Gonzalez

14 Street Union Square; May 1, 2012
Photo credit: Sarah Gonzalez

A year after the Strike Debt group launched their ‘Rolling Jubilee’ program, they have been able raise $400,000 and free $14,734,569.87 of personal debt.  When the program first started, media outlets such as The Guardian questioned the ‘real-world effectiveness’ of the effort.  However, around the same time, Huffpost Live posted a thorough report on OWS’ creation of ‘The Rolling Jobilee.”

"we need a jubilee, a clean slate, a cancellation of debts for the 99%"

“We need a jubilee, a clean slate, a cancellation of debts for the 99%”

The story to date may come off only slightly slanted, as some media outlets, such as NBC, titled their recent article, ‘Occupy Wall Street buys $15 millions of American’s medical debt.’  Of course, medical debt is only a part of the debt that consumes 99% of American society, which is what Rolling Jubilee seeks to relieve.  It’s actually quite interesting to compare and contrast the language between articles on the topic, understanding the ways information can be portrayed for affect.

Nonetheless, Rolling Jubilee continues to raise money to this day, to abolish debt of the present and the inevitable future.

The banks received a bailout from the government for their debts; this program is,
“A bailout of the people by the people”

-Rolling Jubilee

14 Street, Union Square, May 1, 2012 Photo credit: Sarah Gonzalez

14 Street Union Square; May 1, 2012
Photo credit: Sarah Gonzalez

 

References:

Official Website: Occupy Wall Street|NYC Protest for World Revolution

US National Debt Clock: Real Time

Peter Schiff Speaks for 1%: ReasonTV on Youtube
@5:05 is a short discussion of Occupy Wall Street meme

Books on the Movement

 




There are no comments

Add yours