We are pleased to announce that Rolling Jubilee has purchased and abolished two additional portfolios totaling $13.5 million in medical debt, abolishing debt for 2,693 individuals across 45 states and Puerto Rico! These debts ranged from $50 to over $200,000, including several accounts over $100K. These individuals will no longer be hounded into paying this debt. They have been informed via letters like this one.
To date, the Rolling Jubilee has raised over $600,000 and abolished $14.7 million in debt. Every penny spent has gone towards the process of offering mutual aid to debt resisters by purchasing and abolishing debt. For more information about the debt purchases and updates on our finances, please see our transparency page.
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Celebrate the Jubilee on November 15th
To celebrate the jubilee, Strike Debt NYC and other chapters are holding events in several cities on or around November 15th, one year since the People’s Bailout telethon that launched the Rolling Jubilee. If you’re in one of these areas, please join your friends and neighbors!
Impact and Next Phase
Aside from helping out thousands of debtors, the Rolling Jubilee has widely publicized the predatory workings of the debt-buying marketplace. As a result of our work, many more people now know that collectors have only paid pennies for the debts they harass us for in full. Knowledge like this provides moral ammunition for confronting debt collectors and standing up to lenders. We have shown that lenders are perfectly willing to write your debts off – they’re just not willing to write them off to you… Unless you force them to. We hope that this knowledge inspires debtors everywhere to not just do what the lenders demand of them, but instead to use their leverage to strike a better deal – or simply refuse payment altogether.
Yet we know that actions like small-scale debt abolition have limited practical consequences. Fifteen million dollars is barely a dent in the debt market. We’ve said from the beginning that the Rolling Jubilee is just one tactic, not the solution. As with many other Occupy actions, its impact has been to expand the boundaries of what is considered politically possible. In this, we have been successful. Ultimately, however, we know that long-term victories in the fight against debt and our exploitative economic system will require collective action.
An old saying goes: “If you owe the bank $100, that’s your problem. If you owe the bank $100 million, that’s the bank’s problem.” When we treat our debts as individuals, we suffer in silence. But if we band together, the banks will be in serious trouble. While it is important and laudable for an individual stand up and resist their unfair debts. When millions refuse, together, they have the power to shake this system to its very core.
Accordingly, we are making sure that the attention that Rolling Jubilee has generated is directed towards other, more collective tactics. We will stop accepting new donations to the Rolling Jubilee fund by the end of the year (although rest assured that debt abolition will continue into 2014 with the remaining money). As we look beyond the Rolling Jubilee, we are developing tactics to help build collective forms of power. Throughout history, when debtors have banded together, we have won. We are building tools and organizing to help bring debtors together to break our collective bonds – stay tuned for more announcements to come.
In the meantime, please join us in celebrating our victories!