Nov 13 2013
One of the most concrete outcomes of the Occupy Wall Street movement was a project called Rolling Jubilee, organized by the OWS-affiliated group Strike Debt.
Launched a year after the Occupy movement began, Strike Debt was an ambitious effort to raise funds from individual donors in order to buy bundled debt and forgive it.
There is today a secondary debt market where debt-collection firms buy up delinquent debts from companies that have been defaulted on, for pennies on the dollars. Those debt collectors attempt to recoup the debt from the individual debtors and make their profits by aggressively targeting poor Americans — so much so that they have recently come under the scrutiny of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which plans to regulate such companies more tightly.
Strike Debt, taking advantage of the very low price that companies sell debt for, has now spent $400,000 to effectively wipe out $15 million of personal, mostly medical, debt. In doing so, the activists are hoping to raise awareness of the debt collection industry and the existing wealth inequality that leads to widespread debt.
GUEST: Andrew Ross, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University and a member of Strike Debt, author of “Creditocracy and the case for debt refusal”