a new movement is bubbling up that i think is interesting and important.
what is #strike debt? this project is aimed at a problem most of america is facing: debt. you know what debt is. i bet you have some. but do you know how it works and what your rights are?
RIGHT NOW, a big part of their debt resistance campaign is the Rolling Jubilee.
say you are a person or family who has suffered a medical tragedy. whether insured or not, you end up owing literally millions of dollars. literally. dollars you know you can never, ever pay back. i know one family who owes more than that for saving the life of their premature baby. it didn’t matter to them that it would cost over a million dollars. it was their child. but because we don’t have national healthcare, despite the fact that they had insurance they now owe millions of dollars for saving their child. and that will forever hang over their heads, their finances, their resources. it will always affect how they can live.
so you owe a $1,000,000 medical bill for saving your baby. the insurance company knows you’ll never pay. they have the numbers. they’ve run the odds. they know there’s no chance of getting anything out of you. even though you owe them money they know you are not an asset to them. so what does the insurance company do? they bundle up your debt with a bunch of other never-going-to-be-repaid debts (also known as Asset Backed Securities) and sell them off to debt collector (in fact, banks and lenders are *required* by law to write off nonperforming debts after just 90 days.) but the debt collector doesn’t buy it for $1,000,000. the debt collector buys it for $50,000. pennies on the dollar.
and then they start calling you. constantly. in the middle of the night. sending harrassing letters. threatening your bank accounts, threatening your life. this is not an exaggeration. but they aren’t asking you for the $50,000 that they paid for your debt. they are asking for the million. they are looking to make $950,000 of you*. and they are relentless.
that $950k doesn’t even exist anymore. it was written off the books. but they are hellbent on collecting it. and you stay awake, you stress, you ruin your life trying to deal with this. this illegitimate debt.
this is a reality for way too much of america. (62% of bankruptcies are from medical debt. Also of note: In 10 years of RomneyCare in MA (which is basically exactly the same as ObamaCare), bankruptcies due to medical debt have not decreased at all. Insurance is a for-profit industry. it does not help when people really need help.)
so what is STRIKEDEBT? strike debt steps in and acts as that debt collector. they buy your $1,000,000 debt for $50,000 just like the other collector would. it’s for sale on the market. but instead of harassing you with phone calls and threatening your life, they just get rid of it. they erase it. and in a little while – out of the BLUE – a notice arrives that says “congratulations. your debt has been erased”. and your credit report shows this. it’s a real thing.
“OWS is going to start buying distressed debt (medical bills, student loans, etc.) in order to forgive it. As a test run, we spent $500, which bought $14,000 of distressed debt. We then ERASED THAT DEBT. (If you’re a debt broker, once you own someone’s debt you can do whatever you want with it — traditionally, you hound debtors to their grave trying to collect. We’re playing a different game. A MORE AWESOME GAME.)”
it seems like magic but it’s just math within the system. it’s using the system to beat the system.
STRIKEDEBT cannot buy a specific person’s debt. you cannot send money to directly help your Uncle Bob pay off the debts that his family incurred while he was overseas serving in the armed forces. but you can send money so that someone, somewhere, wakes up one day and gets a phone call or a letter that says “hey, that million dollars you spent to save your baby? guess what. you don’t owe that anymore.”
so then WHY strike debt?
after last week’s hurricane Sandy, the feeble lack of government response was powerfully overshadowed by the response of people helping people. in fact, 2 days ago when the snowstorm was coming through NYC just after Sandy, FEMA CLOSED THEIR OFFICES.
the banks got bailed out 4 years ago because of their risky and unethical business practices, which they did not to save lives but to turn profit, and in the process ruined a whole lot of american homes and dreams. they got bailed out with your tax dollars.
the government isn’t going to bail us out. we have to bail eachother out. “normal” wasn’t working. the america we want is an america we have to build.
if you want to donate to help alleviate the burden of illegitimate debt all over the united states, by the people, for the people, please, click here. $10 erases $200, $25 erases $500 in debt…. for someone, somewhere, struggling in america.
see here: one person talks about their thoughts on the functions of debt in our system and his moving personal experience at a strikedebt meeting: http://occupiedstories.com/i-take-your-stuff.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=i-take-your-stuff
[Strike Debt is an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street. Strike Debt is the group / movement, Rolling Jubilee is the debt-buying project. Strike Debt has many initiatives. RJ is one, another is the Debt Resistors Operations Manual, and also informational/sharing/communal assemblies. learn more about debt resistance @ http://strikedebt.org/]
*the amount the debt collectors actually try to collect may vary depending on how much they calculate/expect they can get out of you.
Filed in politics and news, things you can do | Tagged with #occupywallstreet, #ows, #strikedebt, economics | Comments (10)