Enter the debt strike ..."
Meet the authors below the fold...
So says Sarah Jaffe and Matthew Skomarovsky from their contribution to Beautiful Trouble. A Toolbox for Revolution. A collection of short essays, ideas and tactics compiled by ANDREW BOYD and DAVE OSWALD MITCHELL. beautifultrouble.org
What I have read of the this compilation so far is riveting and beautiful. Ideas, thoughts and images from some excellent front-liners.
First heard about this volume reading one of my favorite mags, The Sun
Anyway back to short piece on the student-debt strike: Tons of coordination necessary, possible, real negotiating power at the end of the day ....
Their short essay in its entirety:
If you owe the bank a hundred dollars, that’s your problem; if you owe the bank $100 million, that’s the bank’s problem.
— John Paul Getty
What does noncooperation with our own oppression look like? Sometimes it looks like Rosa Parks refusing to sit in the back of the bus, and sometimes it’s less visible — for instance, a coordinated refusal to make our monthly debt payments.
With wages in many countries stagnant since the 1970s, people have increasingly turned to debt financing to pay for healthcare, education, and housing. Banks have aggressively pursued and profited from this explosion of debt, fueling economic inequality, inflating a massive credit bubble, and trapping millions in a form of indentured servitude.
Most people feel obliged to pay back loans no matter the cost, or else fear the lasting consequences of default, but the financial crisis has begun to change that. After watching the government shovel trillions of dollars in bailouts and dirt-cheap loans to big banks, growing numbers of citizens view our debt burdens as a structural problem and a massive scam rather than a personal failure or a legitimate obligation. But asking politicians and banks for forgiveness is unlikely to get us anywhere, because our payments are their profits. What we need is leverage.
Enter the debt strike ... an experiment in collective bargaining for debtors.
(here's the rest)
The idea is simple: en masse, we stop paying our bills to the banks until they agree to come to the table. Because they can’t operate without these payments — for student loans, mortgages, or consumer credit — they’re under severe pressure to negotiate. ..
• Sarah Jaffe is an associate editor at AlterNet.org, where she writes about economic justice and activism.
• Matthew Skomarovsky is optimistic and googleable.