Rolling Jubilee is a Strike Debt project that buys debt for pennies on the dollar, but instead of collecting it, abolishes it. Together we can liberate debtors at random through a campaign of mutual support, good will, and collective refusal. Debt resistance is just the beginning. Join us as we imagine and create a new world based on the common good, not Wall Street profits. rollingjubilee.org
The statistics on personal debt in the country are pretty sobering- 77.5% of American households are in debt; tuition debt has now exceeded credit card debt; and 1 in every 4 Americans is being pursued by a debt collector. 40% of indebted households used credit cards to pay for basic expenses.
These statistics reflect wage stagnation over a period of decades, the prohibitive costs of a college education, the lack of jobs and access to quality affordable health insurance. The right prefers the simpler argument that they reflect a lack of moral grounding in hard work and individual responsibility. That argument was rejected in the recent election. It remains to be seen whether national policies reject austerity as our fiscal course of action.
Strike Debt, an offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street movement, is not waiting around for a national policy sea-change. Rolling Jubilee, a Strike Debt project, is undertaking a “bailout of the people, by the people.”
Banks sell debt for pennies on the dollar on a shadowy speculative market of debt buyers who then turn around and try to collect the full amount from debtors. 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%.
At this point, Rolling Jubilee is buying up medical debt- 62% of all bankruptcies are caused by medical illness. Student debt has restrictions on bankruptcy, so it is not a focus at the moment. In an interesting victory for people over corporations, this debt forgiveness meets the IRS standards as a gift. If a corporate entity forgives the debt, the debtor would have to pay income tax on the forgiven amount.
The group has already raised $129,000 in funds which is enough to buy close to 2.5 million dollars in defaulted loans. The amount of the personal debt in the country is staggering. Increases in student loans alone since 2010 totaled $914 billion in the April-June quarter this year.
Will Rolling Jubilee roll into San Diego? We have the opportunity to participate in a movement to “liberate debtors at random through a campaign of mutual support, good will, and collective refusal.”
What is the Rolling Jubilee?