Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Strike Debt Rolling Jubilee Progress

As those who have been following this story are aware, Yves Smith and her buddy Lambert have taken Strike Debt's Rolling Jubilee to task in some extraordinarily long and detailed posts that can be summarized by saying that she doesn't like what they are doing and doesn't want them to do this.

The idea of buying uncollected [medical] debt on the secondary market and cancelling it rather than trying to collect it makes her nervous enough to shit bricks. She insists that doing this jeopardizes debtors in ways that cannot be fully anticipated, and that this is a clear and present danger to life and liberty -- and must be stopped forthwith.

Primarily it seems she doesn't like it because she's afraid they might get hold of some of her outstanding debt and by cancelling it might force her into paying taxes on the "gift," something she doesn't want to do.

She has repeatedly railed against the Rolling Jubilee and has issued numerous implied threats that someone -- who knows who -- should or will report them to the IRS for investigation for tax evasion or whatever.

And then she wonders why Strike Debt doesn't keep her fully informed about what is going on and how they are doing their work and whose debt they are buying and how much money they're paying themselves, and when and where they are having board meetings, and on and on and on.

It's been pretty bizarre.

This is what was in the email that was forwarded to me today via one of the Occupy lists I'm on:

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Strike Debt’s Rolling Jubilee project has abolished $13.5 million in medical debt - http://strikedebt.org/rjupdate3
Celebratory events in five cities around the USA
Spread the word on social media - http://rollingjubilee.org/#tweet
More ways to take action - http://strikedebt.org/act
Thousands of people are better off today
Strike Debt is pleased to announce that, with your participation, we have purchased and abolished $13.5 million in medical debt, affecting 2,693 individuals across 45 states and Puerto Rico. These debts ranged from $50 to over $200,000, including several accounts over $100K.  These individuals will no longer have to pay this debt.  They have been informed via letters like this.
To date, the Rolling Jubilee has raised over $600,000 and abolished $14.7 million in debt across four separate purchases.  Every penny spent has gone towards the process of buying and abolishing debt. Read our accounting report for details.
Find your town on these maps of where the Rolling Jubilee just abolished medical debts
(Map one and Map two)
Celebrations on November 15th
To celebrate the latest round of the jubilee, we’re holding events in several cities on or around this Friday, November 15th, the one year anniversary of the Rolling Jubilee.  Join your friends and neighbors in these areas:
If you’d like to hold an event to celebrate the Rolling Jubilee’s largest debt purchase to date - let us know! Email organize@strikedebt.org
What’s next?
The Rolling Jubilee is a tactic for raising awareness of the fact that debts are sold for pennies on the dollar on the secondary market. This means that lenders are perfectly willing to write your debts off; they’re just not willing to write them off to you.
Simply buying more debt is not going to solve the problem. For ways you can take action against debt, look at our new, regularly updated list of resources: http://strikedebt.org/act
The solution is collective action
Debt is so devastating because it is treated as an individual burden. As the saying goes: "If you owe the bank $100, that's your problem. If you owe the bank $100 million, that's the bank's problem." If we band together and force them to deal with us as a group, rather than as individuals, we’re the ones who have the power. Helping to build that collective strength is the primary goal of Strike Debt. If you'd like to help, email info@strikedebt.org
Join us as we build new forms of collective power and create a world where our debts are to our friends, our families, and our communities, not Wall Street.

This is well beyond anything the originators of this action, including David Graeber, were anticipating. It is amazing, and it helps demonstrate just what a hold the debt industry has on us, and just how little valued that debt really is to those who hold it. 

Before Rolling Jubilee actually canceled these debts, the debt industry would keep selling and re-selling these uncollected debts, essentially forever (no matter what the "law" says about that) for pennies on the dollar, and collectors would keep harassing debtors and whoever might have picked up their former phone numbers unto eternity. Now, for those whose debts have been cancelled, the cycle has ended. It's over.

UPDATE: JPMASSAR writes about it at dKos and links to other news stories. The announcement was previously scheduled on November 15, so no doubt there will be more articles and stories over the next few days. I expect Yves and Lambert to grouse and crab, however.

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