The situation is dire: nearly 80% of American households are in debt, medical bills continue to bankrupt American families, and the total amount of student loan debt has reached one trillion dollars. Americans are being forced to work longer hours for less pay just to keep a roof over their heads, and being debt-free and financially secure is now just a pipe-dream for millions. In short, we’ve become a nation of debt-slaves — not because Americans have been greedy or irresponsible, but because it is virtually impossible to get housing, healthcare and education for your family without going into debt. In a system that forces us go into debt just to secure basic human rights, we must stand together and fight back
That’s the message behind StrikeDebt, a new Occupy Wall Street initiative that aims to buy up debt and cancel it. How? When banks think they can’t collect full payment on “distressed” debt — debt that’s so large the debtor has no realistic way of paying it off — they sell the debt as an Asset-backed Security at hugely discounted rates to collection agencies, who hope to harass and intimidate the debtor into giving up their every last penny. Well, Occupy has another idea — buy that same debt, and abolish it. Just like that, a person’s medical debt can be declared null and void, lifting a huge weight from their shoulders. And it’s working: StrikeDebt and has already raised over 100,000 dollars — enough to cancel 2,000,000 dollars’ worth of medical debt. They’ll raise even more from a sold-out variety show to be held this Thursday, Nov. 15th. People who get bailed out will in turn bail out others — a Rolling Jubilee.
Want to free a family from crippling medical debt? DONATE HERE TODAY. Or, spread the word about StrikeDebt on Facebook or Twitter. Don’t forget to watch the show this Thursday, which features musicians from Fugazi, Sonic Youth and Neutral Milk Hotel, as well as comedians, professors and activists. There will be a Livestream on this page on the evening of November 15th.
…OWS already has had a clear and demonstrable impact on both the Obama and Romney campaigns—arguably becoming the most important outside influence so far in this year’s election campaign dialogue.
President Obama and the Democrats have been increasingly echoing the central themes that OWS introduced last fall—emphasizing unfairness in American society, income inequality, and the need to redistribute wealth. Mitt Romney—who has struggled throughout this campaign on how to address questions surrounding Bain Capital, his overall wealth, the tax rates he pays, and what role Wall Street and business should play in promoting economic growth and job development—sought to tap into OWS themes at a rally in New Hampshire on April 24 with a speech centered around “the unfairness of America today.”
Moreover, the themes and rhetoric that Occupy Wall Street introduced have captured enough attention to go beyond the political hemisphere, to influence Wall Street itself. Nowhere was this clearer than last week when for the first time in Wall Street history, Citigroup shareholders united in opposition to a proposed $15 million pay package for its chief executive, Vikram S. Pandit. The shareholder vote, which comes amid a rising national debate over income inequality, suggests that anger over pay for chief executives has spread from Occupy Wall Street to influence actual behavior on Wall Street as well…
Editor’s note: Shifting the window of dialogue is great, and a necessary first step. But if pressure does not sustain itself – and continue to build in favor of practical change – the effects such as those described in the article will be merely isolated events.
Read the full article at the Daily Beast.
On Monday, civil rights lawyers working on behalf of the protesters filed complaints with NYC’s buildings department that the closure of Zuccotti Park violates zoning laws by restricting the public from using public space. Their efforts proved successful the next day, when the barricades came down and about 250 protesters quickly poured back in. While the restrictions against tents and permanent encampments are still in effect, it is unknown whether or not protesters intend to follow them or try again anyway. More at AJE.
The Other 99 broadcasting live as Occupy NYC takes a new spot of land to restart the Occupation.
Below the cut is the liveblogging by two editors covering the first four hours.
Continue reading Occupy NYC efforts last night – partial liveblog
Hold on to your hats, folks — here we go again.
NEW YORK — In celebration of their three-month anniversary, Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York City are gearing up for Occupation 2.0, an attempt to occupy a small piece of unused land that is owned by the Trinity Church in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood. If all goes according to plan, the second occupation would begin this Saturday, Dec. 17th.
“We want to set the religious community on fire about this very question: are you interested in social justice? Because this is a prime opportunity,” said Ronnie Nunez, 24, a member of the OWS outreach working group. He handed out fliers with slogans such as “We ask you on December 17th to assemble once more” and “Noon Begins Occupation 2.0.”
Read more at HuffPo
I’m looking into my crystal ball and seeing a lot more of this to come… –ed
Almost two weeks ago, 21 Occupy Wall Street protesters decided to take the movement on the road, in a march from New York’s Zuccotti Park to the White House. Their goal: to spread the movement to the 12 cities and small towns they would pass through along the way, and to protest the supercommittee’s likely decision to retain Bush tax cuts “for the rich,” or the “one percent.”
While some of the original 21 marchers dropped out because of missing toenails, shin splints or fevers, new marchers have since joined, so that more than twice as many protesters will arrive in Washington Tuesday.
Read the rest of the article, with photo gallery and more scare quotes, at the Washington Post.
Occupy Colorado Springs was torn down last night as their 30-day permit for Acadia Park expired without any word from the city on a possible extension despite OCS’s pleas for one. After their permit expired at midnight, police gathered around the group around 1:05 and tore down their structures, throwing them into marked vehicles.
Representatives of OCS had made it perfectly clear that until the city actually came out and denied their extension for the park permit, the police had no right to do so. Certainly a far cry from the mass pepper-sprayings of UC Davis and the rubber bullets of Oakland but still, another example of an Occupy protest being taken advantage of in a possibly unlawful and certainly unfair manner.
Continue reading Occupy Colorado Springs shut down – A Plea to remember the small movements
In a Special Comment, Keith contextualizes Mayor Bloomberg’s actions against Occupy Wall Street at Zuccotti Park and how they have – unintentionally – vaulted the movement from a local nuisance to a global platform for the disenfranchised.