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"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 ..."

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:

debt strike

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)

Beautiful Trouble

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.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leftykook, tardis10, rbaillie, ban48, eviemarie

    we are heroes and believers

    by say it on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 03:14:45 PM PDT

  •  Do you have written permission (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Adam B, Hayate Yagami

    from the authors/copyright holders to post this in its entirety? If not, your diary violates fair use law and you need to trim it to three paragraphs or less from the essay and link to the original. You're allowed to cite it, but unless you have written permission, you're not allowed to republish it. If you do have written permission, say so in the diary to eliminate any question about fair use.

  •  the banks don't own the loans. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    virginislandsguy

    You'll be taking money from pensions and 401ks.

    Knock yourself out, but you should have an idea of who you're trying to harm.

    •  Gaining collective leverage (3+ / 0-)

      I think thats the idea.  Its the banks and their felonious cousins, the collection agencies -- who would be hurt.  If every time we take an action against a bank, we in fact hurt our pensions and 401ks then we can never take any actions against banks.  I dont subscribe to "too big to fail" -- do you ?

      we are heroes and believers

      by say it on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 03:56:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  the banks as servicers get extra fees for default. (3+ / 0-)

        The only people getting hurt by thr defaults are the lenders, which is to say pensions, 401ks, individual investors, etc.

      •  No. Its a great idea. Banks still have to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eviemarie

        collect the money to pay the bondholders.  Stage a debt-strike and the entire business model risks collapse like a house of cards.  It is the only leverage you have.  Wall Street will happily turn your entire generation into debt-slaves and tell you it is your own fault for taking out such silly loans.  A debt-strike may be your only way out.

        "Wrong, Do it again!" "If you don't learn to compete, you can't have any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don't learn to compete?" "You! Yes, you occupying the bikesheds, stand still laddy!"

        by ban48 on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 04:55:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  weird, meant to reply to the comment up-one from (0+ / 0-)

          yours.  I agree with 'say it'.

          "Wrong, Do it again!" "If you don't learn to compete, you can't have any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don't learn to compete?" "You! Yes, you occupying the bikesheds, stand still laddy!"

          by ban48 on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 04:57:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  banks love student loans (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alypsee1, eviemarie

    you can characterize a bank anyway you want... "aren't all of us really just the bank since we are the depositors."  And if we hurt the banks, dont we just hurt ourselves.  If that is true, we can never visit any pain on any financial institution because its all just "us" .  All of the student loan fianancial institutions -- and their collusion with higher education institutions -- create a no risk- anything goes free money program whose debt can never be discharged and whose interest is locked in even at the highest rates of the last decade.  Ought we not bring them to the table?  Or should we avoid that because we "are just hurtin ourselves"

    we are heroes and believers

    by say it on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 04:06:31 PM PDT

  •  Several comments: (0+ / 0-)

    This reminds me a bit too much of the chain emails urging everyone to not buy gas on the 16th of May, or calling for a "general strike" for a single day.

    This has similar hallmarks:  a call to action that is so easy that one need only do nothing; an action that requires a very large number of people to do the same thing in order to have its conjectured effect, and a lack of actual analysis of those numbers (i.e., it only makes sense as long as you don't do the math.)  

    The article states a goal of gathering a million debt refusal pledges.  There are about 37 million borrowers out there, and recent loans are reported to have a default rate somewhere on the order of 1 in 10 or 1 in 7.  If a million people not paying their student loans will bring the banks to their knees or at least to the table, wouldn't they be there by now?

    Taking jokes seriously is the exact mirror activity of laughing if someone says they have cancer. --jbou

    by Caj on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 11:07:37 PM PDT

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