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Retribution Against the Financial Elite

Articles tagged debt


Communiqué from the 99%

Posted 1 year ago on April 4, 2013, 9:21 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: debt, wearethe99percent

I am a female mechanical engineering student. Dean’s List student, even for Calc 3 and Dynamics. I have no co-signer for loans, so I am only eligible for enough to cover books and tuition. It’s taken me 5 years to complete 6 semesters because I run up my credit cards to pay for gas and food, and I can’t go back until I pay the balance down. My cards are currently completely maxed, and I fear that I am beginning to lose Calculus knowledge that I learned in 2005. My car is ready to break down at 130,000 miles, and my debt payments are $700 just for interest every month. I have been paying on and off between semesters and I still have $5000 to go before I even begin to pay the principal balance. I’m 25, live at home, and I bartend 50 hours a week. I want to design machines and energy systems that have a positive impact on our society, but I’m getting you HAMMERED and cleaning up after your party instead. I especially enjoy when people talk to me like an idiot because you got the wrong cheese on your burger. I know - I’m serving you dinner because I must be a stupid girl.

From: We Are the 99 Percent

169 Comments

South Minneapolis Grandmother Wins Loan Modification

Posted 1 year ago on April 2, 2013, 1:21 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: occupy our homes, debt

After a public pressure campaign through the Eviction Free Zone of Occupy Homes MN, Gayle Lindsey, a nursing assistant and grandmother in South Minneapolis, who was facing imminent eviction, has won a modification of her mortgage from M&T Bank. Her victory marks the seventh for Occupy Homes MN and the first in the Eviction Free Zone, a project that brings neighbors in the Central and Powderhorn neighborhoods together to refuse to leave their homes without a fair negotiation.

Lindsey, whose renegotiation came a month after her redemption period ended, is the first victory in “the Zone.” With the help of Occupy Homes MN, she organized a series of actions, community potlucks, and press appearances. Lindsey received a call, while sitting at her kitchen table, from an executive at M&T Bank. The bank offered to write her a new and affordable mortgage.

“It shows that Occupy Homes MN works,” she says. “I want to move on to more victories for the community.”

Broadly, it is time to embrace what has been set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The right to housing is the right to an adequate standard of living.

Stand up, occupy, and find a local group with which to organize through the Occupy Directory.

MayDay is coming. Are you ready?

14 Comments

Debt Strangles the 99%

Posted 1 year ago on March 24, 2013, 1:09 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: strikedebt, debt

76% of Americans are in debt. 15% are being pursued by one or more debt collectors. 22% of Americans are too impoverished to qualify for credit. That forces them into informal debt like payday loans or worse, which generate interest rates of up to 500%. So add that together and we have the 99%.

62% of bankruptcies

Strike Debt and the Rolling Jubilee believe that no one should have to go into debt to cover basic human rights like health care, education, and housing. One in seven Americans is being pursued by a debt collector. Credit card debt is often the “plastic safety net” that covers for gaps in household budgets caused by financing such essentials.

Medical debt is an area of personal debt that no one from outside the United States can even understand. Spanish activists are campaigning against the privitization of their national single-payer health system. They see any payment for medical treatment as the breakdown of a decent society. The idea that people might be driven to bankruptcy by medical debt is literally incomprehensible.

But in the United States, we find that no less than 62% of all bankruptcies involve medical debt. Of these people, three-quarters actually had medical insurance. So many drugs and procedures are not covered, and so high are the deductibles, that an insured person can easily find themselves unable to cover their medical bills. Two-thirds of working households do not have the resources to cover a $1000 emergency. One hour of a specialist doctor’s time can cost that alone.

Even these stark figures conceal the discrimination built into health care for people of color, low-income workers and LGBTQ populations. More than half of African-Americans struggle to pay medical bills, compared with 34% of Hispanics and 28% of whites. Black and Latino New Yorkers are more than twice as likely as whites to be uninsured. Despite some progress in recent years, LGBT individuals are less likely to have health insurance, more likely to delay seeking medical care and medication, and more likely to have a number of physical and mental health problems.

The uninsured and the poor receive poorer quality care in different locations, at different times, and by less trained physicians than those who are privately insured.

Unfortunately, the Affordable Health Care Act (aka Obamacare) will not address most of these problems. It will certainly raise access—to expensive “under-insurance” plans with high deductibles and lots of out-of-pocket costs.

Strike Debt believes that health care that covers all a person’s needs is not a “Cadillac” plan but a human right. Such human rights should not be limited to top executives and members of Congress, who award themselves 100% health care coverage. No one should be driven into bankruptcy by an accident or an illness. In much of the developed world, these sentiments are just common sense. It’s a measure of how reactionary neo-liberalism has become in the United States that they are received here as radical.

“Life or Debt” is the choice we are offered. We refuse. Strike Debt. You are not a loan.

252 Comments

The People's Bailout: a Live Telethon for the 99%

Posted 1 year ago on Nov. 15, 2012, 8 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: strike debt, rolling jubilee, debt

rolling jubilee logo

EDIT: Show's over – with enough raised to abolish over $5,000,000 of debt! Keep the Jubilee rolling: click here to donate!

Join Strike Debt for an updated version of an old classic, the telethon, to launch The Rolling Jubilee, a campaign that buys debt for pennies on the dollar and does away with it. Instead of collecting the debt, we will abolish it and help free the debtors!

People shouldn’t have to go into debt for an education, because they need medical care, or to put food on the table during hard times. We shouldn’t have to pay endless interest to the 1% for basic necessities. Big banks and corporations walk away from their debts and leave taxpayers to pick up the tab. It’s time for a bailout of the people, by the people.

It will be a wild night of music, comedy, magic, education, and the unexpected. This fast-moving variety show will mix well-known performers, intellectuals and activists from Strike Debt and Occupy Wall Street.

THE PEOPLE’S BAILOUT will feature music, comedy, education, magic, and the unexpected. Special guests include Janeane Garofalo, Lizz Winstead, Hari Kondabolu, David Rees, actor/director John Cameron Mitchell, Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel, Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth, Guy Picciotto of Fugazi, Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio, Climbing Poetree, the Invisible Army of Defaulters, Holistic, Kool A.D. and Dapwell of Das Racist, The Music Tapes, Rude Mechanical Orchestra, members of Healthcare for the 99%, Occupy Faith, and many more.

$25 (abolishes an estimated $500 worth of debt)
$50 (abolishes an estimated $1000 worth of debt)
$100 (abolishes an estimated $2000 worth of debt)
$250 (abolishes an estimated $5000 worth of debt)

33 Comments

Communiqué Internationale de Paris: October 13 Against Debt

Posted 1 year ago on Oct. 11, 2012, 12:12 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: globalnoise, paris, 13o, o13, debt

Action Mondiale

via Real Democracy Now! Paris:

To the financial institutions of the world, we have only one thing to say: we owe you NOTHING!

To our friends, families, our communities, to humanity and to the natural world that makes our lives possible, we owe you everything.

To the people of the world, we say: join the resistance, you have nothing to lose but your debts.

On O13, in the larger context of the worlwide "globalnoise" mobilisation, and within the Global Week of Action against Debt, we will mobilise against debt in several cities of the world: Barcelona, Madrid, Mexico, Paris, New York, Rome…

The governments' response to the financial and economic crisis is the same everywhere: cuts in expenditure and austerity measures under the pretext of reducing deficits and the repayment of a public debt which is the direct outcome of decades of neoliberal policies. The same neoliberal policies that have plungered economic and natural resources and exploited human lifes in Latin America, Asia and Africa for decades, are now also being imposed on the people of Europe and North America.

Governments in the service of finance are using this pretext to further reduce social spending, lower wages and pensions, privatize public utility and goods, dismantle social benefits and deregulate labour laws, and increase taxes on the majority, while social and tax giveaways are generalized for the big companies and the highest income households, the rich, the 1%.

The campaign to subdue the world to public and private debt is a calculated attack on the very possibility of democracy. It is an assault on our homes, our families, our social services and benefits, our communities and on the planet’s fragile eco-systems—all of which are being destroyed by endless production to pay back creditors, who have done nothing to hog the wealth they demand we make for them.

Faced with such coordinated attacks on our social gains, resistance is getting organized around the world, there are national general strikes and the ‘indignados’ movements are increasingly active. In Iceland, the people refused to pay the Icesave debt to the UK and the Netherlands. In Ecuador the people pushed the government into a Debt Audit that saved the country millions of dollars in debt payments. In Argentina, Brasil, Bolivia, Zimbabwe, Mali, Burkina Faso, Indonesia or the Philipines, among many other countries, people have been resisting and oposing debt for decades. In Spain, and in Portugal, from the 15th of september, enormous demonstrations against debt have gathered more than 1 million of people, and a movement of major scale is growing around the surrounding of the Parliament in Madrid to demand a Constituant process.

We from the Occupy / Real Democracy Now / 15M / AntiDebt movement call for public and private debt resistance and repudiation. Debt resistance includes: fighting for free public education, free healthcare, defending foreclosed homes, demanding higher wages and providing mutual aid. But also a first step to build a new economy, based in the principles of equality, solidarity and cooperation, and not greed, acumulation and competition.

In Europe as in Egypt and Tunisia, learning from our colleagues in Latin America, South Saharan Africa and Asia, initiatives for a citizens’ audit of public debt analyze how much of the public debt is illegitimate, odious or unsustainable, and must therefore be cancelled. Paying such creditors means stealing what rightfully belongs to the population and payments will continue to be the cause of college and hospital closures, pensions cuts, and so on and on. And the debt feed the debt.

We Don't Owe, So We Won't Pay! We Are Not a Loan. Bad laws allowed all this debt. Let's rewrite them together

7 Comments

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