Strike Debt – Organizing around debt & Mutual Aid
I have been getting more involved recently in the OWS-related group known as “Strike Debt”, which seeks to develop support structures for debtors through education, debt relief and ultimately a debt strike and debtors union. A recent globalvoices article does a good job summing up what the organization is about:
Under the slogan “You are not a loan, you are not alone,” Occupy Wall Street’s “Strike Debt” group is aiming to inject life into a resistance movement against debt repayment.
I’m very interested in the prospects of organizing around debt. As workers, debt affects all of us in different ways. It is nearly impossible to function in society, with the proliferation and use of credit checks amidst stagnant wages, without becoming entangled in the financial system. Loans, credit scores, repayment, economic surveillance, crushing interest charges, hidden fees, medical expenses – debt is an inflection point of the capitalist system where issues of morality and value come into sharp contradiction. The slogan of “you are not a loan” is an attempt to uproot this economic logic that turns human relations into debt relations.
The rolling jubilee, which will begin on November 15th, is an attempt at establishing a mutual aid network for people to help debtors and help each other abolish debt. It is, I think, an important first move to establish a counter-hegemony against financialized capitalism. My hope is that we will be able to use this movement, if it takes off, to pose even greater challenges to the economic system and begin to question the basis and legitimacy of private property itself.
But these are the important first steps that must be taken, and I am continually inspired by the intelligent, creative work being done by this organization. If you want to get involved, please visit the website and fill out the online form: http://strikedebt.org/get-involved/