Nov 15 2012

Occupy Wall Street Launches Rolling Jubilee, an Innovative Program To Erase Debt

More than a year after the Occupy Wall Street movement was forcibly evicted from Zuccotti Park, aka Liberty Square, in Manhattan, the movement has returned full force with new energy flowing into two directions: Occupy Sandy and Strike Debt. Later in the hour we’ll hear about storm relief efforts, but first, an offshoot of 2011 Occupy Movement, has put together a project called “Rolling Jubilee” to put an end to the crushing burden of debt affecting millions of people in this country. Strike Debt is kicking off its campaign with a sold-out event called “The People’s Bailout” tonight which will will be streaming live online.

While the government has bent over backwards bailing out the banking and auto-industries, ordinary Americans have not seen much relief from the financial crisis sparked by Wall Street. Many Americans have trouble keeping up with debt payments particularly over medical bills and student debt. Banks often bundle up these problematic loans and sell them to third party debt collectors for pennies on the dollar. The debt collectors then hound people to repay the loans.

But the “Rolling Jubilee” project intends to buy up such loans and then simply forgive the debts. Starting with medical debt, which comprises 60% of bankruptcies declared in the US, the activists then plan to buy student debt and underwater mortgages in the future.

So far, Rolling Jubilee has raised $115,000 to forgive more than $2.3 million of debt. With media coverage in the New York Times, and a favorable writeup on, the project is seen as a win-win for those in debt as well as those seeking to make a political statement about the economy. However, critics have pointed out that ultimately bankers will be among the likely winners if they are able to clear their bottom lines of these problematic loans.

GUEST: Pam Brown, organizer with Strike Debt

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