It’s been a while since the Occupy Movement has been in residence in parks and public spaces, but the work of confronting economic inequality is never done. As an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street, Strike Debt is now a global movement helping to confront the debt people get trapped in by college loans, medical costs, housing, and other predatory financial situations.

Reports say that 15% or more of Americans are currently being pursued by a debt collector. Now here’s where it gets interesting…a program called Rolling Jubilee, set up as a non-profit 501(c)4 (organization dedicated to social welfare, but NOT a charity) is liberating folks from debt they cannot get in front of. Interest rates and penalties make loan principal the smallest part of debt load, and people end up owing many times the original amount borrowed. Banks readily “sell” debt to outside collectors who usually try to collect the full amount (often through strongarm and threatening tactics). Now Rolling Jubilee is buying up discounted debt notes, and abolishing them.

It is being referred to as a “Bailout of the people, by the people.” It is a pretty fascinating experiment in resistance to the system of predatory debt practices that guarantee that individuals lose. Root around the website a bit, and explore. So far, they have abolished well over eighteen million dollars of debt, and “debt resistance” is just the beginning of a burgeoning movement of mutual support.

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About The Author

Andrew Mersmann's picture

Andrew is the author of Frommer's global guide to volunteer vacations, "500 Places Where You Can Make a Difference" (Gold Medal Winner from Society of American Travel Writers: Best Guide Book 2010). He spent more than a decade on the editorial team of PASSPORT Magazine. He has volunteered and led teams on service projects around the world, and is honored to be on the boards of directors for the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation (AARBF.org) and Mentor Artists Playwrights Project (mentorartists.org). Mersmann has been a featured speaker, interview guest, or moderator on several travel talks, from the New York Times Travel Show, Smithsonian Associates, and the 92nd Street Y-TriBeCa to Oprah and Friends, Animal House, and The Focus Group on satellite radio as well as on NY1 television. Past participant at the Clinton Global Initiative and judge for Condé Nast World Changers Conference, he blogs about volunteering and service travel at www.ChangeByDoing.com. As part of the evox television team, he is dedicated to audience engagement, so if you're not engaged, he needs to be thumped on the head (gently)...or at least told (nicely). Twitter: /ChangeByDoing

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