Occupy Helena’ s “Strike Debt” Work Group (working on Economic Justice and Resistance to Debt Caused by Wall Street – called “Strike Debt” for short) has met twice (April 27 and May 4) and will meet again on May 11, 9:15 am -- at the Red Atlas (back section of The Staggering Ox on Euclid).
Please scroll down to the bottom of this message for action taken at the May 4th meeting.
The importance of continuing Occupy Helena’s efforts to reign in corporate greed and combat the blatant buying of elections by monied interests cannot be overstated. OH has continually reiterated its opposition to Citizen United and has pledged to continue to join forces with other Occupy groups in Montana and Occupy Wall Street (OWS) across the country to stand up to the irresponsible financial hostilities that have been waged against the people by the 1%. To restate the obvious, these practices and bad corporate acts threatened to tank the global economy, and generations of Montanans and Americans will continue to pay the price for the widespread malfeasance by Wall Street bankers and financiers acting only for the profit of the 1%. Occupy Helena and its allies must continue to cure the catastrophic events of 2008 and confront the “thug capitalism” that gave rise to them.
The Helena Strike Debt work group is a logical outgrowth of, and wholly consistent with, OH’s ongoing activities. The Helena Strike Debt work group will tailor the approaches of the national Strike Debt organization to help Helenans crushed in the grip of debt brought on by the failing policies of greed and money-tainted political and financial systems acting only for the profit of the 1%.
An offshoot of OWS called “Strike Debt“ is developing initiatives to break the stranglehold of debt in which lenders hold 3 out of 4 Americans. Strike Debt is working to illuminate the practices that have so appallingly burdened our citizens. The evolution of this breakdown in the capacity of ordinary citizens to support themselves and work toward family goals is no surprise in light of the systematic deregulation of banking institutions and the unconscionable changes in bankruptcy law that occurred in 2005 -- see http://www.cepr.net/index.php/testimony/policies-mitigate-foreclosure-crisis/ and http://www.google.com/search?q=2005+bankruptcy+law&sitesearch=cepr.net).
Here are some of the activities for which national Strike Debt advocates:
—The Rolling Jubilee— http://rollingjubilee.org/ , https://www.facebook.com/RollingJubilee and http://strikedebt.org/ -- Via what they call a “Rolling Jubilee Project,“ Strike Debt buys debt for pennies on the dollar, but instead of collecting it, abolishes it. Strike Debt cannot buy specific individuals' debt—instead they help liberate debtors at random through a campaign of mutual support, good will, and collective refusal. For now there is no statutory or case law requirement that only debt collection agencies can buy receivables in this way but this may change. Thus the window for using this debt resistance approach may be only temporary. This is a very transformative process to convert the ghoulish practices of debt collection into a charitable opportunity to help Americans. The Rolling Jubilee is a “pay it forward approach,” that can only benefit society as a whole.
o http://www.policymic.com/articles/19085/strike-debt-occupy-wall-street-offshoot-group-gives-a-real-solution-to-the-us-debt-crisis Strike Debt: Occupy Wall Street Offshoot Group Gives a Real Solution to the US Debt Crisis
o http://www.forbes.com/sites/shenegotiates/2013/02/19/rolling-jubilee-a-bailout-of-the-people-by-the-people/ Rolling Jubilee | A Bailout Of The People By the People
—The Debt Resistor’s Operations Manuel—Strike Debt has provided this 132 page education and strategy resource that covers everything from credit scores to predatory lending to bankruptcy policy and ”how-to‘s.”
o The Manual is provided at http://strikedebt.org/ under the new initiatives tab
The Occupy Helena Strike Debt working group seeks YOUR help in prioritizing and carrying out our local Strike Debt activities. PLEASE plan on attending our next meeting on Saturday, May 11 at 9:15 am at the Red Atlas (back section of The Staggering Ox on Euclid) to advise upon and discuss the work group‘s next steps.
The OH Strike Debt Work Group members on May 4th:
(1) … acknowledged that we had received support and official approval from Occupy Helena (OH) for this OH Strike Debt Work Group and for the proposal that the Work Group should go ahead with the idea of the OH work group becoming a chapter of the Strike Debt organization, http://strikedebt.org/
The official approval came by means of a virtual, on-line general assembly meeting of Occupy Helena that was called for on April 30 and concluded May 3. Several OH participants expressed their strong approval. In response to one concern that was expressed -- i.e., the concern that this new OH Strike Debt working group would supersede and replace Occupy Helena – the Work Group clarified that this was not the intent of the proposal and that the new Strike Debt work group is now and would be a working group of the on-going Occupy Helena organization.
(2) … committed themselves to continue research and study of some key personal debt an issues – specifically the issues and problems of student debt and housing debt (and possibly medical debt as well, if we can identify some lead researchers).
(3) … pledged to do outreach to other groups in Montana that are also working on economic justice and debt issues and to find ways of coordinating our efforts with the efforts of these other groups (such as the Montana Organizing Project and other Occupy groups across Montana) and maybe even forming a Montana Strike Debt Chapter.
(4) … committed ourselves to using the upcoming summer months to study these debt issues in depth so we can, in the fall, do such things as:
a. Occupy Helena presentations on these issues (student debt, housing debt, medical debt, etc.) to community groups, churches, student groups, people facing a personal debt crisis or a housing foreclosure crisis or an affordable housing crisis;
b. Occupy Helena TV shows on these issues on Helena Civic TV;
c. Occupy Helena organized “bankruptcy 101” augmenting and coordinating with pro bono services by Montana legal professionals;
d. A “Debt Assembly” or a series of debt assemblies -- http://occupytheory.org/act/debt-assembly.html -- http://occupywallstreet.net/event/debt-assembly-and-conversation-about-six-ways-being-debt
Thank you for your continuing good work to advance progressive goals in Helena.