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Occupy Wall Street Launches ‘Rolling Jubilee’ To Buy Up And Forgive Debt

By Pat Garofalo on November 9, 2012 at 1:15 pm

"Occupy Wall Street Launches ‘Rolling Jubilee’ To Buy Up And Forgive Debt"

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Members of Occupy Wall Street — various branches of which have recently been saving families from foreclosure and aiding victims of Hurricane Sandy — have launched a new initiative. Coined the “Rolling Jubilee,” Occupiers are raising money to buy distressed debt from financial firms.

But while purchasers of debt usually hound debtors in order to make a return on their investment, Occupy plans to simply abolish the debt for the lucky individuals whose accounts they grab. As explained on the Rolling Jubilee website:

We buy debt for pennies on the dollar, but instead of collecting it, we abolish it. We cannot buy specific individuals’ debt – instead, we help liberate debtors at random through a campaign of mutual support, good will, and collective refusal.

Organizer David Rees explained further:

OWS is going to start buying distressed debt (medical bills, student loans, etc.) in order to forgive it. As a test run, we spent $500, which bought $14,000 of distressed debt. We then ERASED THAT DEBT. (If you’re a debt broker, once you own someone’s debt you can do whatever you want with it — traditionally, you hound debtors to their grave trying to collect. We’re playing a different game. A MORE AWESOME GAME.)

This is a simple, powerful way to help folks in need — to free them from heavy debt loads so they can focus on being productive, happy and healthy.

Average student debt currently stands at more than $26,000. Nationally, nearly 25 percent of homeowners are underwater, meaning they owe more on their mortgage than their home is currently worth.

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