Magazine article New Internationalist

You Are Not a Loan

Magazine article New Internationalist

You Are Not a Loan

Article excerpt

Occupy progeny Strike Debt has an ambitious scheme to deliver 'a bailout for the 99 per cent'. Its members plan to abolish millions of dollars in personal debt, in a 'Rolling Jubilee'. How will they pull it off? By buying up bundles of distressed debt on the secondary debt market - where it's sold for a knockdown price of about five per cent of its value. Then, instead of asking the people concerned to repay it, the debt will be abolished.

Within a month of launching in mid- November 2012, Strike Debt said it had raised enough money to buy - and then write off- more than $9 million worth of debt. While that figure may represent a tiny fraction of US citizens' personal debt, the group also has a political point to make. 'We don't feel that we owe these companies anything,' explains Matthew McLoughlin, an Occupy organizer from Chicago. 'The debts they're trying to collect from us are mostly for things that should be guaranteed, like housing, medicine and higher education.'

Rolling Jubilee plans to start by buying up medical debt, a problem that contributes to more than half of all personal bankruptcies in the US. …

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