Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Rolling Jubilee Well Into Third Year, Sky Hasn’t Fallen Yet

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 22, 2015

One of the more interesting things about the critics of Occupy offshoot Strike Debt’s Rolling Jubilee program is that they keep warning of Big Problems Lurking Just Around The Corner.

Well, it’s been over two years now since the Rolling Jubilee was started, and the insinuative warnings are still coming, even as there is no evidence that any of the Big Problems have ever come to pass.

And, yes, we would know very, very quickly if any Big Problem did come to pass, because all of the members of the right-wing, Occupy-hating corporate puke funnels that dictate America’s news diet (as well as creating the right-wing email smears that your nutty uncle sends to everyone in his mail contacts list and his Facebook friends list) would be all over this before you could say “gold bug”.

One thing the critics of the Rolling Jubilee like to do is to complain that the program doesn’t strike at the root of the debt crisis. One finds it surprising that all these super-smart and super-honest critics (well, maybe, um, not so much) are for some strange reason ignoring what the Rolling Jubilee’s creators have been saying about it all along, as in this November 27, 2012 article in The Nation (an article that’s linked to on the Rolling Jubilee homepage, by the way):

The Rolling Jubilee was not designed to be a feasible, long-term solution to the debt crisis in and of itself. Instead, it is a “bailout by the people, for the people,” a chance to offer others support and solidarity where the government has failed them. While critics like Yves Smith and Doug Henwood have focused on the limits of this tactic, what interests us are the possibilities this experiment opens up, the good will that is fostered, the conversations that it sparks and the new ideas and action plans that are percolating. Who knows where the jubilee will roll next or what its impact will be? Regardless, organizers are well aware that the result of debt cancellation, even on a mass scale, would be negligible unless it was coupled with a far deeper restructuring of our economic system. That is the prize our eyes are on, and that’s why Strike Debt chapters are now springing up in cities all across the country.

And in fact, the Rolling Jubilee stopped accepting donations as of December 31, 2013, so the program is being wound down in any event, having served its main purpose of bringing attention to America’s true debt crisis.

But even as Phase One (the Rolling Jubilee) is being wound down, Phase Two is about to be initiated:

Strike Debt is wrapping up the Rolling Jubilee project. [Strike Debt spokesman Thomas] Gokey estimates it has enough money left to buy two or three more debt portfolios before it exhausts its funds.

And then ….. the debt fairy morphs into a debt demon.

In what should make veins in the blue blood community run even colder, the group plans to move on to organizing “debt strikes” in which selected groups of debtors who share a common debt or creditor strategically stop payment in an effort to force creditors to renegotiate a yet-to-be defined “unjust” debt by, for example, reducing the principal or interest.

“It’s a waste of time to work through a political system bought and paid for by industries,” Gokey said. “We need to organize mass resistance.”

Whether trying to destablize the credit system is a good idea is debatable. And whether enough consumers would buy into the idea of a strike to make it effective, considering the huge risks involved to them personally, remains to be seen.

But it certainly should get people talking.

And getting people talking is indeed the whole point. Changing the terms of debate paves the way for eventual and long-lasting success; in fact, success — especially enduring success — is not possible unless the terms of debate are changed.

When Occupy first started in the fall of 2011, the debt being talked about the most was the debt or deficit the Federal government was running up, and the people doing the talking were all right-wingers and corporatist types who wanted to keep doing the main thing that created the debt, which was to cut taxes on rich people and big businesses. Occupy abruptly stopped that in its tracks, and the “deficit hawks” have never been able to regain control of the national dialogue since.

3 Responses to “Rolling Jubilee Well Into Third Year, Sky Hasn’t Fallen Yet”

  1. Charles II said

    An excellent moment to learn the meaning of NPV… and why if debtors can access cash, they hold all the cards.

    The people of the United States, if they wanted to, could put all the big banks out of business.

    And make a profit.

    • One of the better pieces of legislation I’ve seen would allow post offices to become small banks. Since so many rural areas don’t have banks or even cash machines, yet do have post offices, this would be a win-win for both the USPS and rural America.

      I know that this is just a small facet of what you have in mind, but I also wanted to let you know that some congresscritters are thinking along lines similar to yours.

      • Charles II said

        Yeah, we haven’t done a piece on postal banking or other good ideas to save the Post Office. We should. Bernie Sanders has been championing these ideas for a while. And Elizabeth Warren is in on the act.

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