An open space for global conversation
The Rolling Jubilee officially launches today.
"This fiftieth year is sacred—it is a time of freedom and of celebration when everyone will receive back their original property, and slaves will return home to their families. "
2500-3500 years ago, Jubilee was declared every 50 years, that a person's property was to be restored within the Land of Israel.
3pm PT | 6pm ET | 10pm GMT
62% of all bankruptcies result from medical illness. It is not uncommon for someone to enter a hospital via the emergency room as a relatively solvent person with "normal" debt, only to emerge with debt they cannot remotely cover in their lifetime. On today's call, Occupy Cafe steward Heather Tischbein will share just such a story.
Questions for this conversation:
Join us on this discussion thread and on the call
I was hoping that I'd be present for this important call, but gut problems are driving me back to bed (on a sunny Portland day!).
When I first heard about the Jubilee, my first thought was, "This is such a brilliant idea, I wish I had thought of it!"
Focusing on medical debt (instead of generalized consumer debt) strikes the right note...
However: I think that it is important to recognize that ALL DEBT involves a dance between two actors... and that it is important to build responsibility into any and every system. ALL OF US CREATE AND MAINTAIN THIS SYSTEM -- WE CAN NEVER CHANGE IT UNTIL WE RECOGNIZE THAT FACT. I have a share of responsibility for the debt that I accrue, even in situations that are heavy-handed.
For example: Knowing the high cost of medical care, I have scheduled medical procedures in Third World countries, where the care is BETTER and CHEAPER than in the US. (That's right: not "as good as", but actually superior to the US medical system). I also take responsibility for finding natural (and cheap) alternatives to what the doctors prescribe. (For example: Garlic to balance my blood pressure: prescription garlic = $200/month. Garlic supplements at health food store (SAME THING!!) = $12/mo. A clove of raw, fresh garlic every day = $4/month.)
But: I cannot tell you the number of people who refuse to think for themselves, who blindly follow "doctors orders", even when the doctor orders them into bankruptcy.
What responsibility do we as a society have to bail out people who will not take responsibility for themselves?
In what ways are the 1% in our debt? Can we forgive them? And how does forgiving debt figure into a world where assets are even more maldistributed than liabilities?
Scribing the harvest from today's call:
Thanks for the joke...
Reminds me of a saying from South Africa during the Apartheid days:
A black African, remarking how few whites rule them, encourages others to join him. "There are so many of us, if we all just SPIT, we would drown the whites!"
To which someone replies, "Yes, but when the white man comes, our mouths all go dry..."
It's not even a matter of "ganging up"... if we all just DID SOMETHING ELSE, the existing system would simply GO AWAY. This is the lesson and the power of the "Velvet Revolution" of Czechoslovakia -- which for some reason few people other to understand...
Jerry, you get points for joke-telling...
We framed this conversation in terms of "forgiveness," but Strike Debt organizers apparently don't want to use that term to describe the Jubilee, according to this report from Yes! Magazine:
[Strike Debt organizer Yates] McKee emphasizes that the campaign is not about charity, but "solidarity and mutual aid." Nor is the campaign calling for debt "forgiveness," which reinforces the notion that debtors are guilty of moral failures. Instead, it encourages debt resistance. After all, "We're calling for this to be a political act of economic non-compliance,” he told me. “We are intentionally withdrawing our consent from this system."