A Bailout of the People by the People

By , Posted on Feb 18, 2013
Debt.
Debt.

Occupy Wall Street…  While the  rag-tag, mostly inarticulate, group of 60’s wannabe protesters have gone, they might have left more than just filth and human waste behind.  Rolling Jubilee.  Rolling Jubilee is an offshoot of the movement called Strike Debt.

Rolling-Jubilee-fire First started in New York City, but inspired by movements around the globe, Strike Debt now has affiliates across the country. They believe people should not go into debt for basic necessities like education, healthcare and housing. Strike Debt initiatives like the Debt Resistors’ Operations Manual offer advice to all kinds of debtors about how to escape debt and how to join a growing collective resistance to the debt system.

Their network has the goal of building a broad movement, with more effective ways of resisting debt, and with the ultimate goal of creating an alternative economy that benefits us all and not just the 1%.

While I’m not on board with these Occupy Wall Street types at all, this Rolling Jubilee / Strike Debt is interesting and a bit encouraging in that instead of asking the government or the wealthy to give them something, they are actually raising the money they need themselves without government assistance.  …Bravo!

What Rolling Jubilee is doing is that they are buying that same debt that those nasty collection agency buy, debt for pennies on the dollar, and then they are, get this, forgiving it, not collecting it.  Originally Rolling Jubilee’s goal was to get together $50k to purchase a million dollars in debt.  According to their website, they have to date raised over $500k to abolish some $11mil of debt.

Imagine you are going through your mail, overwhelmed by the letters from collection agencies only to open one and see the balance is now zero.  That sure would make most of us more than a little excited.

While I personally do not care for the politics of this group or others like it, I have to applaud them for being proactive and putting their money where their mouth is.  Per their website, there is no way for individuals to request their specific debt gets added to the list as when buying the debt, it is anonymous accounts bundled together.

Rolling Jubilee gets the funds to purchase debt from contributions.  As touted on their site, “A Bailout of the people by the people”.  While Rolling Jubilee is a non-profit, it is a 501(c) (4) (“an organization whose primary activity is the promotion of social welfare”) not a charity, so your contribution is not tax deductible.  Rolling Jubilee states that 100% of the money raised will go to the process of buying and abolishing debt.

Rolling Jubilee, while not my political cup of tea, is proof that people given the free will to choose, will help each other. There should be no need for the government to get involved and dictate who should get help and who shouldn’t.

Americans have a history of helping each other in times of need and Rolling Jubilee is proof that this spirit is still alive, no matter the political underpinnings.

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