Yesterday’s edition of The Guardian, featured a story on the Occupy Wall Street activists, highlighting a little-known project supported by Occupy known as “Rolling Jubilee.” The author describes it this way:
Rolling Jubilee, set up by Occupy’s Strike Debt group following the street protests that swept the world in 2011, (was) launched on 15 November 2012. The group purchases personal debt cheaply from banks before “abolishing” it, freeing individuals from their bills.
In very plain English, Rolling Jubilee eliminates actual personal debt directly from the heavy burden currently crushing the American middle-class. They pay off bills for poor people and at the same time educate people on the inner workings of the secondary debt industry.
The Rolling Jubilee website shows that the group has purchased and eliminated $14,734,569.87 in personal debt since its inception. But the fiscal conservative reader will really appreciate this part of the story: Rolling Jubilee only paid $400,000 to do it.
To put it simply, this group has approached banks in the secondary debt market, offering to purchase outstanding consumer loans at a projected cost of a nickel on the dollar (In reality though, Rolling Jubilee has done significantly better than that).
The primary focus of Rolling Jubilee is to relieve medical debt. Medical debt forces 60% of the bankruptcy filings in this country on an annual basis. Catastrophic medical issues can, and do, break families on a daily basis. Unaffordable health insurance premiums (an issue that promises to be addressed in the Affordable Health Care act), high costs of medications, and high costs of hospitalization are the single biggest burden for the average family in America.
The Guardian also went on to explain:
“Our purpose in doing this, aside from helping some people along the way – there’s certainly many, many people who are very thankful that their debts are abolished – our primary purpose was to spread information about the workings of this secondary debt market.”
The group has focused on buying medical debt, and has acquired the $14.7m in three separate purchases, most recently purchasing the value of $13.5m on medical debt owed by 2,693 people across 45 states and Puerto Rico.
We encourage readers to check out the Rolling Jubilee website and sign up to contribute to a great grass-roots program that is making a difference. Or in the words of the organization itself:
Rolling Jubilee is a Strike Debt project that buys debt for pennies on the dollar, but instead of collecting it, abolishes it. Together we can liberate debtors at random through a campaign of mutual support, good will, and collective refusal. Debt resistance is just the beginning. Join us as we imagine and create a new world based on the common good, not Wall Street profits.