Target: Strike Debt
Goal: Applaud Strike Debt for their debt forgiveness campaign
Strike Debt, an organization formed from a coalition of Occupy Wall Street organizers, has announced the Rolling Jubilee. The Rolling Jubilee endeavors to challenge America’s current socio-economic status quo through a clever tactic: buying up distressed debt. The organizers plan to raise money to buy up debt that is in default (i.e. distressed debt) and then forgive the debtors. Banks sell distressed debt cheaply in attempt to get rid of the unprofitable debt. Often, $16,000 worth of debt can be purchased for $500. This debt can be bought up by Occupy and then erased, thus relieving the debtor of the fear, stress, and despair that burdensome debt brings them.
Strike Debt has already begun taking donations and recently announced that it had already erased $100,ooo worth of medical debt. A fundraising telethon called the Rolling Jubilee was also held on November 15 and featured big name artists including Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel and Lee Ranaldo from Sonic Youth. The telethon initially started with the goal of raising $50,000. Before the telethon had even begun, Strike Debt had already raised almost four times that amount.
Discharged credit card debt, medical debt, and private student loan debt can be bought and forgiven. However, despite the full legality of Strike Debt’s actions, the banks and debt collectors are expected to fight against their campaign. Many debt collectors oppose what they call the “moral hazard” of reducing penalties for those who default of mortgages or other forms of debt. The whole point of Strike Debt is to challenge the moral obligation that debt incurs and to disrupt the conditions under which debt is conceived. The aforementioned institutions oppose any action that will hinder their ability to profit off of vulnerable Americans who need help in an era of stagnating wages and endemic part-time employment.
Debt has become the means by which the underprivileged are shamed and disciplined by banks and loan agencies. Strike Debt believes that massive debt overburdens people and makes their lives overly stressful and difficult to manage. Their campaign is a clever and interesting approach to bringing attention to the need for socio-economic justice in America. Applaud Strike Debt for bringing debt relief to debt overburdened Americans.
Dear Strike Debt organizers,
I am writing this letter to commend the Strike Debt campaign and the Rolling Jubilee telethon. So many Americans are burdened with debt that has rendered them depressed, distressed, and fearful for their livelihoods. These people are being shamed and hassled by debt collectors looking to profit off of their misery. Many of these individuals have gone into debt as a result of stagnant wages and/or the inability to make a living off of their job alone. In a time when Wall Street profits are soaring thanks to a federal bail-out, ordinary Americans should not have to face the burden of crushing debt by themselves.
This is an American crisis that has been conveniently ignored and pushed to the side by those in power. Attention needs to be drawn to the debt traps people have been drawn into by wilding lenders. Only then will debt as a social issue properly be addressed in America. Thank you for taking the first step in this process.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: grist.org