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Occupy Wall Street - Strike Debt [Episode 27] Wired For Success TV

Occupy Wall Street - Strike Debt [Episode 27] Wired For Success TV

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Published by wiredforsuccesstv

The Occupy Wall Street Movement has been a powerful force in representing the 99% who are controlled by the 1%. Strike Debt is an off shoot group who have taken it upon themselves to highlight the gross inadequacies of a system that requires people to go into debt to pay for basic human needs such as housing, education and medical care. Disgusted by the stories of personal debt that they heard during their time occupying parks in New York, this group of volunteers decided to circumvent the system and began investigating how they could take positive action and make an invaluable difference to people's lives. Rolling Jubilee is a very successful initiative managed by the Strike Debt group to help people become free of the burden of debt. Recognising that debt is what bonds 99% of Americans and that by joining forces, with everyone donating a little, large amounts of debt can be bought and literally written off. Aaron Smith is representing the Strike Debt group in the following interview. A young man passionate about this cause and intent in creating waves in a system that is crippling the American people. It is an enthrallling conversation and an issue that we must not wait for others to take action on, but look for ways in which we can play our own part in creating a new world that is fair to each and every one of us.

The Occupy Wall Street Movement has been a powerful force in representing the 99% who are controlled by the 1%. Strike Debt is an off shoot group who have taken it upon themselves to highlight the gross inadequacies of a system that requires people to go into debt to pay for basic human needs such as housing, education and medical care. Disgusted by the stories of personal debt that they heard during their time occupying parks in New York, this group of volunteers decided to circumvent the system and began investigating how they could take positive action and make an invaluable difference to people's lives. Rolling Jubilee is a very successful initiative managed by the Strike Debt group to help people become free of the burden of debt. Recognising that debt is what bonds 99% of Americans and that by joining forces, with everyone donating a little, large amounts of debt can be bought and literally written off. Aaron Smith is representing the Strike Debt group in the following interview. A young man passionate about this cause and intent in creating waves in a system that is crippling the American people. It is an enthrallling conversation and an issue that we must not wait for others to take action on, but look for ways in which we can play our own part in creating a new world that is fair to each and every one of us.

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Published by: wiredforsuccesstv on Jan 24, 2013
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~
Wired for Success TV
~
Mastering the 7 Areas of Life
Melanie Gabriel & Beryl Thomas
 
[
Episode 27
]Occupy Wall Street – Strike Debt
Occupy Wall Street - Strike Debt - Wired For Success [Episode 27]
 
[0:00:10]Beryl:
So welcome to another episode of http://www.wiredforsuccess.tv.I am Beryl Thomas and with me is my co-host Melanie Gabriel. Say hi Mel.
Melanie:
Hello everyone.
Beryl:
And today’s very special guest is a young man called Aaron Smith who’s part of a group of volunteers who go by the name of Strike Debt. Strike Debt, an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street is dedicated to exposing the enormous inadequacies of a systemthat forces people into debt to pay for the very basics in life such as housing, educationand medical care, debt that is owed by the 99 percent to the 1 percent. Aaron has been a participant in several initiatives of Occupy Wall Street from parkmaintenance to research on the financial system. He’s also a host of Occupy WallStreet Radio on WBAI.Strike Debt recognizes that what 99 percent of Americans have in common is debt. Butby joining together and taking collective action, there are ways to write off these debts,ways that are unavailable to the individual.Today Aaron is going to tell us about their Rolling Jubilee initiative where they buy debtfor pennies on the dollar but instead of going out and collecting the debt, they abolish it.So welcome Aaron. It’s fabulous to have you on our show. Thank you so much for beinghere.
Aaron:
Thanks Beryl and thanks Mel for having me. Pleasure to be here.
Beryl:
So you are doing incredible work, Aaron, your organization. Tell us why Occupymovement started this new offshoot Strike Debt. What was the inspiration going onthere?
Aaron:
Well, from the very first moment that we were in the park last fall, you could tellthat the reason a lot of people are coming own there and the reason that sort of tiedeveryone together – we call it the “tie that binds the 99 percent” – was that they were inthese crushing amounts of debt and that this debt was shaping the choices that theymade in life and it often came from not
[0:02:06] [Indiscernible] 
get spending but tosort of daily basic needs.Forty percent of Americans put basic needs on their credit cards. More than 50 percentof the debt collection accounts in the country are from medical expenses. Almost two-thirds of bankruptcies are from medical expenses.
 
Housing debt is ubiquitous and was a major factor in the financial crisis and tuition debtis spiraling out of control. It’s now larger than auto loans and larger than credit card debtin the United States. So everyone, almost everyone has debt and almost everyone ismaking choices in their lives in order to pay off that debt. They’re essentially mortgagingtheir future in order to pay for their ability to survive in the present.This is a theme from very early on in the park. One day a man held up a piece of whiteboard and just asked people to write the amount of their debt on there and you hadpeople just streaming in, writing these huge amounts of debt and telling stories abouthow they got into debt.So it has been a motivating principle ever since the early days of Occupy Wall Streetand that several campaigns came out of that. One of the most
[0:03:12] [Indiscernible] 
was the Occupy Student Debt campaign, which was a goal to sort of build a movementto end the student debt problems here in the United States.What they did, one of their initiatives was to issue a pledge for people to sign that. Onemillion people signed this pledge. All of them would stop paying their student debt andthey ended up only getting about 10,000 people to sign the pledge and they learnedsomething very interesting in the process of going through this pledge, which helpedthen form Strike Debt and the Rolling Jubilee.What they learned was that there are actually already 5 million people who are indefault in their student loans in the United States and this number is growing extremelyrapidly. I think it’s actually close to six million now. Just growing since last year.So what they realized is that this group of people who are already in default who werealready basically on Debt Strict can be thought of as this invisible army, these peoplewho are sort of isolated from one another but are participating in debt resistancebecause they have no other choice.So that became the motivating principle behind Strike Debt when we started meeting inWashington Square Park in May of this year was that if we could somehow mobilize thisinvisible army, if we could somehow get them to step out of the shadows and see eachother as a collective force rather than this individual, isolating situation that they’re in,then we could start to build a debt resistance movement and that’s exactly what we’vebeen doing since May.
Beryl:
So tell me what the Debt Resistance Movement is. Well I know what you’re doingis you’re collecting donations and then you’re able to buy debt with those donations in away that an individual couldn’t do. So I love what you’re saying about people comingtogether because as individuals, you’re very isolated and you’re very disempowered butactually when you come together as a group, you’re much more empowered and youhave found a way to be able to buy up that bad debt. Would you like to talk about that?
www.wiredforsuccess.tv 3

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