A Bailout of the People by the People – Will it Work?

by Ida Ince on November 12, 2012

[Editor’s note: A few months ago, I wrote enthusiastically about the possibilities of Strike Debt, Occupy Wall Street’s new initiative that seemed to promise a shift in the conversation to the dynamics of the neoliberal political economy, and a greater class consciousness. After releasing a Debt Resistor’s Operation Manual, the main focus of Strike Debt has shifted to a Rolling Jubilee, an anarchist-inspired “mutual aid” fundraiser that claims to have raised over $87,000 in donations in order to buy up and cancel distressed debt. While The North Star has been strongly supportive of Occupy, this current direction raises some new questions. The following article is reprinted to give an overview of the current initiative and encourage discussion – BC]

Originally posted here.

From 15 Novem­ber 2012, a part of the Occupy Move­ment in the U.S. led by Strike Debt will be oper­at­ing a “Rolling Jubilee” which their web­site describes as:

A bail­out of the people by the people.

We buy debt for pen­nies on the dol­lar, but instead of col­lect­ing it, we abol­ish it. We can­not buy spe­cific indi­vidu­als’ debt — instead, we help lib­er­ate debt­ors at ran­dom through a cam­paign of mutual sup­port, good will, and col­lect­ive refusal.

David Grae­ber, for example, has been tweet­ing about this enthu­si­ast­ic­ally and the Rolling Jubilee Face­book page has a pic­ture of Sla­voj Zizek hold­ing the linked “Strike Debt” logo and a state­ment claim­ing that he too sup­ports the cam­paign. My ini­tial reac­tion to the plan was open-minded bemuse­ment and a ques­tion which I see keeps recur­ring on the Rolling Jubilee FB page: “How does this work?”.

I think this is a ques­tion the people involved need to address, because invest­ig­a­tions of their min­im­al­ist lit­er­at­ure and promo video sug­gest that some of their own people are not very sure either. Some of the state­ments about secur­it­iz­a­tion, bund­ling of assets, and hit­ting Wall St., indic­ate this con­fu­sion and frankly mis­lead inter­ested parties. After sev­eral wrong turn­ings I think I have worked out what Rolling Jubilee are pro­pos­ing to do, but it is guess-work so bear that in mind.

I think some people are con­fus­ing a spe­cific kind of debt syn­dic­a­tion in the U.S. with inter­na­tional fin­an­cial syn­dic­a­tion and secur­it­iz­a­tion. The U.S. debt “syn­dic­a­tion” Rolling Jubilee seems to be refer­ring to, occurs with respect to unse­cured debts that are dis­tressed, i.e. the cred­itor thinks it won’t get its money back, or at least not much of it. What hap­pens is that the cred­itor decides that pur­su­ing the debtor will cost it more money than any even­tual recov­er­ies and so dumps the debt on a grey mar­ket for dis­tressed debt pop­u­lated by debt col­lec­tion com­pan­ies and small spec­u­lat­ors. There are dis­tressed debt brokers that make these mar­kets. Now either the dump­ing cred­itor bundles up dis­tressed debt and then unloads it on the mar­ket, or the debt brokers do. This is the mean­ing of “syn­dic­a­tion” in this spe­cific case. Another more usual mean­ing is where banks group together to lend money to a bor­rower — they are a syn­dic­ate. See also insur­ance syn­dic­ates. Secur­it­iz­a­tion is more inter­ested in rev­enue streams from debt (interest). Secur­it­ies from these schemes are not the debt themselves.

In light of the above, it seems to me that the Rolling Jubilee will be enter­ing the grey dis­tressed debt mar­ket in the U.S. to buy bundles of dis­tressed debt, at which point they will waive the debt, which cred­it­ors are entitled to do. While the debt­ors affected will be ran­dom accord­ing to the mar­ket, it should be noted that Rolling Jubilee still have to choose the classes of unse­cured debt they will be buy­ing. Their trial run fea­tured loans related to med­ical costs. I sus­pect they won’t be buy­ing U.S. stu­dent loans which are gen­er­ally bet­ter per­form­ing, but I do not know the market.


Some tech­nical quibbles can be and have been raised:

  • The test run used US$500 to buy US$15,000 of debt. This is a great write down, but this dif­fer­en­tial is beholden to mar­ket forces. As soon as Rolling Jubilee start buy­ing great chunks of dis­tressed debt the price must surely rise, if not before as mar­ket par­ti­cipants mark up. After all, they want the best return for their debt. This might pro­duce a rather strangely shaped return curve on the invest­ments, with the worst debt actu­ally get­ting x cents in the $ return as bet­ter debt is writ­ten off. Rolling Jubilee may well start get­ting less bang for their buck over time.
  • There is a pos­sible tax issue, in that in the U.S. the waiv­ing of debt counts as income in the hands of the bene­fi­ciary. A curs­ory read­ing of the tax law sug­gests there is an exemp­tion for don­at­ive waivers, but let us hope the IRS don’t require any spe­cial forms to be filled out or bene­fi­ciar­ies may be caught out. I hope the Rolling Jubilee makes this issue clear to beneficiaries.
  • This isn’t really hit­ting Wall Street. This is more about con­sumer credit com­pan­ies and debt col­lec­tion agen­cies. Even if JP Mor­gan ori­gin­ated the debt in ques­tion, their whole model relies on being able to off­load even before money has been trans­ferred. If there will be an effect with respect to Wall St., it will derive from the wider social res­ults of the Rolling Jubilee in lib­er­at­ing debt­ors. Some act­iv­ists may feel that this just turns the Rolling Jubilee into another char­ity, mit­ig­at­ing cap­it­al­ism and so uphold­ing the status quo. That depends on the effic­acy with which debt for­give­ness raises con­scious­ness (see below).
  • Matt Yglesias at Slate Magazine has stated that it would surely be easier just to give this money to the poorest dir­ectly, so that they could pay debts or bet­ter essen­tials. It seems to chime with a Keyne­sian argu­ment that money in people’s hands is what will get the eco­nomy going again, com­bined with the view that cash should not be going to cred­it­ors who should be forced to write off and take the hit. I agree with Strike Debt that this misses the point about the way in which debt shackles human free­dom and is a sig­ni­fic­ant part of social con­trol, but more on this later.
  • Moral Haz­ard I — that waiv­ing debts just encour­ages people to get back into debt believ­ing wrongly that they’ll be saved again. This is a red her­ring; the debts the Rolling Jubilee are tar­get­ing tend to be of the type (med­ical care) which people don’t whim­sic­ally take on board, and are in any event dis­tressed such that the debt­ors are already being pur­sued as default­ing and have a bad credit rating.
  • Moral Haz­ard II — the Rolling Jubilee will just be buy­ing dis­tressed debt taxi rank style. I see no evid­ence that they have con­sidered whether any of the debt is void. For example, if debtor was mis-sold a loan by cred­itor, then a court might hold that the loan is void, espe­cially if the cap­ital that has been repaid but the debtor is labour­ing under usuri­ous interest pay­ments. If Rolling Jubilee pay off the wrong­fully act­ing cred­itor when they could have fun­ded legal advice and action, are they encour­aging mis-selling of loans?

A big­ger issue, which has been raised by sev­eral people, is the ques­tion of pos­sible anonym­ity. Debts are waived at ran­dom, but will the bene­fi­ciar­ies know that the Rolling Jubilee was respons­ible and more import­antly, why they were waived — what were the polit­ical reas­ons for this act of solid­ar­ity and mutual aid? I think this is a very import­ant issue as it links in to why the Rolling Jubilee is a good idea.

David Graeber’s Debt: The first 5,000 years (Melville House, New York 2011) broadly aims to show how the fab­ric of social struc­tures are built on debts in the broad sense and that there is an unhappy con­fla­tion between owing someone a favour and owing a bank a spe­cific sum of cap­ital. Grae­ber, draw­ing on the found­a­tions of Mod­ern Mon­et­ary The­ory, shows how debt rela­tions already can be found in the first agri­cul­tural civil­isa­tions and con­sti­tute the basis for exchange sys­tems and sub­sequently money.

It is instruct­ive to oppose this ana­lysis of the ori­gins of money through debt with cer­tain Marx­ist views that it is the abstrac­tion of reason in ancient Greece which leads to the cre­ation of money and it is this lat­ter moment that is omphalos of human eco­nomic his­tory. Grae­ber makes a good case that it is debt that cre­ates money, not vice versa, and that in the earli­est cit­ies the debt was con­sti­tuted and gov­erned by the temple, which held a pre­cious metal that formed the ref­er­ence point but not actual object of exchange. Farm­ers paid their dues in the form of grain but by ref­er­ence to the metal price, and this grain could be recir­cu­lated as needed. The duty that con­sti­tuted the “dues” came from the func­tion of the temple itself in ensur­ing good gov­ernance, the plan­ning for the flood, and divinely secured fer­til­ity. They are hypo­thes­ised as ori­gin­at­ing in earlier social inter­ac­tions of vary­ing form­al­ity in which oblig­a­tions such as good will, recog­ni­tion, mar­riage were the glue that bound people and groups together and pre­ven­ted conflict.

One can see how this social oblig­a­tion would become an enforced legal oblig­a­tion, and farm­ers whose har­vest failed were still expec­ted to sub­mit tithes, this time determ­ined in absen­tia as a debt, pay­able within the year or if not than by giv­ing up goods, slaves, land, chil­dren, and ulti­mately one’s own free­dom. On this ana­lysis, Grae­ber treats the Greek inven­tion of money as sec­ond­ary to the inven­tion of a demand for taxes which must be paid in a spe­cific money form. The tax debt, enforced, cre­ates the cir­cu­la­tion of the money form.

The study of early agri­cul­tural civil­isa­tions is instruct­ive as has been noted on these pages before. Grae­ber informs us that in the years of gen­eral drought or sim­ilar calam­ity great num­bers of farm­ers would default on their dues, and over time more and more mem­bers of a soci­ety would fall into debt peonage, while many oth­ers would simply run away, per­haps join­ing the Scythian nomads in cent­ral Asia. In short, the bur­den of debt became so great that cit­ies would col­lapse into revolt or simply wither like mod­ern Detroit as eco­nomic activ­ity ceased and the pop­u­la­tion migrated. To pre­vent this, over hun­dreds of years, the Meso­pot­amian peoples developed the jubilee — a great for­giv­ing which undid all the harm caused by debt and restored social bonds to zero. The Baby­lo­nian prac­tice of jubilee was exten­ded to the Hebrews by a courtier named Neremiah, who had been sent to rebuild Jer­u­s­alem (then part of the empire).

It is the idea that debt founds social struc­tures and more deeply social con­scious­ness, but that insti­tu­tion­al­ised and enforced debt can (will) over time build up and strangle that very same soci­ety, which is the prin­cipal mis­chief that the Rolling Jubilee is try­ing to rem­edy with its cam­paign of mass debt lib­er­a­tion. It is not just a ques­tion of set­ting another person’s net debt to zero, but of set­ting the dis­tor­tion of their per­ceived oner­ous oblig­a­tions to our warped, over-leveraged soci­ety to zero so that per­son can help refound their soci­ety again. I see the greatest merit in this intention.

What strikes me, how­ever, is this ques­tion of pos­sible anonym­ity: will Rolling Jubilee be telling indi­vidu­als that it was they that have waived the debt, and if so, the reas­ons for this act as it arises from within Occupy. If one fol­lows Graeber’s logic about the width of the debt concept in soci­ety, then one can read­ily see an ana­logy between the kind of socially pos­it­ive, informal oblig­a­tion that arises from help­ing one’s neigh­bour — a debt need not be repaid save in amity — and the don­at­ive mutual aid of the Rolling Jubilee. In short, the Rolling Jubilee is not really can­cel­ling debts; it’s con­vert­ing them into a new kind of social debt which binds the bene­fi­ciar­ies to Occupy but which need not be repaid save in solid­ar­ity. It is ironic to me, as someone research­ing fin­ance, that the Rolling Jubilee has set up a spe­cial pur­pose vehicle which attracts out­side invest­ment so that it can pur­chase assets (debts owed), bundle them up and con­vert them into a dividend stream of polit­ical good will. It is, dare I say, mutual aid securitized.

I have said for many years that effect­ive polit­ical activ­ity starts on the ground —To The People as it was called in C19th Rus­sia — build­ing net­works of sup­port and a wide base of people who know from per­sonal exper­i­ence that polit­ical act­iv­ists are noth­ing like the media cari­ca­tures they are fed. A prob­lem has always been the sup­ply of uncon­di­tional funds to provide the neces­sary sup­port (edu­ca­tion, health­care, fix­ing someone’s roof, legal advice) as volun­teers can only do so much. In one stroke the Rolling Jubilee may have found both a solu­tion and a way of apply­ing that solu­tion dir­ectly to a press­ing social problem.

But these com­ments are irrel­ev­ant if the bene­fi­ciar­ies of the Rolling Jubilee were to remain ignor­ant of the work being done and the reas­ons why: both how we got here and where we want to go. I think only the most Stirnerian of anarch­ists would want to can­cel debts in a com­plete inform­a­tion black hole in the hope that no bonds of social oblig­a­tion be felt by any­one. I do not sense this is Graeber’s fla­vour of anarch­ism and the “mutual aid” watch­word of the Rolling Jubilee sug­gests that the spon­tan­eous vol­un­tary com­ing together of people in free organ­isa­tion is at the heart of this import­ant exten­sion of Occupy’s work.

[Update: A comment posted on the original article by David Graeber reads: “Of course the idea has always been to alert those whose debt is can­celed. First of all, you acquire the names and basic con­tact info so it’s quite pos­sible. Second of all, how could any­one not want to be able to call and say “hi, Mrs, Fen­wick? We’re OWS and we just can­celed your debt…”]

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

BC November 12, 2012 at 6:41 pm

Of the objections I have to this recent direction, I am particularly puzzled by the term “rolling”. As Charles Eisenstein (the ‘gift economy’/’Sacred Economics’ guy) writes glowingly in The Guardian: “The hope is that the liberated debtors will themselves contribute to the fund, ‘rolling’ the jubilee forward.”

It seems to me that “Pay it Forward” is a dubious tactic at best, and particularly lacking when the subjects in question are bankrupt.

Further troubling is Eisenstein’s assertion that this “transcends politics”, and that it returns “Occupy to its origins as an advocate for the wellbeing of ordinary people, neither leftwing nor rightwing”. Little wonder then that writers at Forbes are getting behind it: http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2012/11/10/links-10-nov-finally-an-occupy-wall-street-idea-we-can-all-get-behind-the-rolling-jubilee/

However, David Graeber seems to view this more radically, analogizing this on twitter to a “union strike fund.” Of course, the debtors in question here are not unionized, apparently random, thus not even politically conscious. However, Graeber’s argument appears to be that merely by having defaulted, these debtors have committed an act of civil disobedience, and thus should be aided to encourage such default: “We’re not going to wait till they’re ‘properly’ organized. This is the 1st step toward organizing”

Given all the energies behind this, I imagine SD/RJ will raise a fair sum of money when all is said and done (i.e. $1M+). I can’t help but think that there must be better ways to use that sum of money to organize for debt resistance. If that initial seed money somehow snowballs via “pay it forward”, I will be happy to admit I am wrong – but it seems to me that the far more likely outcome is simply a one-off charitable fundraiser that generates some positive press.


Arthur November 13, 2012 at 1:32 am

A much shorter article could simply mention that this is merely one of the most spectacularly weird examples of the
bizarre ideas about money, debt, banking and capitalism that have flourished around Occupy.

On the other hand the financially insignificant amounts involved confirm that these ideas are not actually taken seriously but merely something that floats in the milieu.

Serious study of how the world actually works and must develop is required.


David Berger November 13, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Amen to this. This is, as an organizing/political tool some of the dumbest shit I have every come across.

David Berger


BC November 13, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Arthur and David, I agree with your general dismissal of the efficacy of this project. Nevertheless, perhaps we could elaborate on why this is “spectacularly weird” and “some of the dumbest shit I have every come across”? Assuming this fails to take off (as seems likely), what would be more effective suggestions for collective debt action that are grounded in “how the world actually works” (i.e. a Marxist perspective). Or is collective debt action so difficult to pull off, that we should set our sights elsewhere?


Arthur November 13, 2012 at 11:04 pm

Set sights elsewhere.

Collective action is required to actually take over and run entire world economy. This is also “difficult to pull off” but financial schemes are just fantasies for people who won’t face up to that difficulty and somehow imagine it can be avoided by magic.

Finance IS the way the world economy is run. THAT is what needs change.


David Berger November 13, 2012 at 11:36 pm

Attractive as it seems to be, I don’t think that any kind of debt action is possible. If you walk away from crazy utopian schemes as above, how are we going to organize around debt? In fact, even if the above scheme had some reality to it, how would we organize around it? It would end up as some kind of an NGO-type project that would go the way of all such groups.

As a member of the Labor Outreach Committee of Occupy Wall Street (a group that, unlike Pham Binh’s nonexistent Class War Camp, actually functions), we are constantly involved in labor actions ranging from supporting local actions such as that of the Hot and Crusty workers to support for the striking Chicago teachers.

Currently our members are involved in relief work in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. However, we are constantly striving to relate this work to a larger perspective and are preparing for a joint relief worker/labor meeting in a few weeks.

That’s what I’m talking about!

David Berger


BC November 14, 2012 at 12:00 am

There is no doubt that the classical Marxist worker-capitalist class conflict will play a role in any broad-based left movement. And as things start to pick up, labor movements will likely play an increasingly prominent role. However, at this point we are at the very early stages of the struggle, and it is worth considering the role that other non-labor challenges to capital could play in the broader struggle. For instance, a mass student resistance to student loans could strike a major blow to finance capital. Similarly, Doug Henwood’s comments posted below concerning bankruptcy seem intriguing (I imagine mutual aid to encourage bankruptcy would be more effective than this “Rolling Jubilee”). Other consumer-side things such as closing bank accounts and other lifestyle choices should not be immediately dismissed – sure, they are not revolutionary, but if they are oppositional to capital accumulation then they could have a role to play in a much larger struggle.

Organized labor plays an essential role in a Marxist account of class struggle, but that is no guarantee that at all times organized labor must be in the lead. Indeed, the Occupy movement was started last year by the strangest of all things – a group of two hundred anarchists sleeping in a park. Somehow their activities emboldened other segments of society to step up their struggles, including labor. Similarly in Quebec, predominantly middle-class students fighting something seemingly minor (a $1300 tuition raise) were able to galvanize an entire society. Thus, while we don’t want to be foolish (and I do think this RJ is foolish) we should still be open-minded to a role that might be played by non-labor forces in the broader class struggle, particularly as they might relate to the novel features of neoliberal financialized capital (e.g. debt).


Joe Vaughan November 16, 2012 at 11:50 am

I agree that this particular scheme sounds futile.

It seems to me, however, that the issue of mutual aid is one that the left must address if a mass movement is going to get traction. Both socialism and anarchism, historically, have done this far more than any contemporary movement–at least in the United States–is now doing.

There is perhaps a certain “austerity” tropism on the traditional Marxist left–frequently associated with third-worldism and ‘sixties-style anti-imperialism, but not limited to them. This sees a primary virtue in workers’ sharing a sub-minimal standard of living and prefers large doses of dialectical castor oil to any form of actual assistance, mutual or otherwise.

Many of those involved in this tendency respond with glee to the perceived punishment of the “labor aristocracy” and their fellow parasites.

But where there is real distress, there can be no organizing without mutual aid, whatever form that may take. Leaving aside the Democratic Party horseshit about “pragmatism” and Just Folks Getting Together, it remains a fact that no mass movement will succeed if it offers its followers only a correct party line and a table full of difficult literature.

In my reading, both Berger and Binh understand this, so I regret seeing the two of them at daggers drawn over the details–if that’s where they actually are.


Brian S. November 16, 2012 at 1:50 pm

There is a very long tradition of militant working class ( and peasant) struggle against debt – in particular against the enforcement of it. Resistance to evictions, bailiffs etc. This was one of the most successful campaigns of the Scottish Socialist Party in its hey day 10 years ago – linking mass action in the communities with initiatives in parliament against “poinding” (enforced sale of goods to repay debts). See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abolition_of_Poindings_and_Warrant_Sales_Act_2001.
Resistance to evictions was also an important move of the Indignados in Spain once they moved on from occupation of public spaces.
I don’t know how the enforcement of debt plays out in the US, but this the sort of community- based organising should be a relevant there in one form or another as everywhere else.


Joe Vaughan November 16, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Debt acts as the isolator of the individual from the mass and as the source of legitimacy of ruling class power, and is the vehicle for the terrible punishments of homelessness, disease, starvation, and police action that threaten every debtor with every missed payment, every threat to employment, and every stain on the credit rating.

This is not as divorced from the topic of mutual aid as one might think: if socialists and the more thoughtful anarchists can create mass movements that free people to any extent from the isolating tyranny of debt, they increase the potential for revolutionary action by the people so freed.


BC November 13, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Here is a conversation/debate between Strike Debt organizer Andrew Ross and a skeptical Seth Ackerman. Worth a read:


PM November 13, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Doug Henwood weighs in: http://lbo-news.com/2012/11/13/rolling-where

In a nutshell: “it’s not going to do much more than generate some publicity.”


Brian S. November 14, 2012 at 9:01 am

This is a very good critical review of the Rolling Jubilee initiative but I think some of the critical points should be reinforced.
On the one hand, this is a clever idea and could provide a tangible focus for the wider Strike Debt campaign. As Matt Iglesias argues on Slate “almost all charitable undertakings are organized around some kind of gimmick or other … If the peculiarity of the distressed debt situation and the concept of a jubilee happens to inspire people and motivate them to be more generous with their time and money than would otherwise be the case, this is a perfectly good idea.” BUT –
I am not familiar with the workings of the US secondary “distressed debt” market, but I assume it is centred around brokers who buy up large volumes of nonperforming consumer debt from financial institutions and sell it on in smaller packages to collection agencies and the like.). I imagine that some cherry picking and grading goes on in this process to establish different discount rates for different debt bundles. The Jubilee seems to be dealing in the area where only 5c/$ is being paid. This must be the fag-end of the trade, where demand even from the collection agencies is low.
First, this raises the question – how much help is really being provided here, since these are debtors who no one seems to expect to be able to pay and who may well have already used personal strategies to slip through the system?
Second, this market is one of the worst examples of the sort of evil traffic the capitalist “financialisation of life” can produce. Won’t Jubilee be providing demand in the weakest section of this market? Does Occupy really want to get involved in this dirty business? OK – maybe it will keep some people out of the hands of the most unpleasant agencies (both by buying up debts and by pushing up the price in the “no hope” area); but it will do so at the cost of boosting the market as a whole, with the main beneficiaries being the brokers.
The third – and in my view fatal – flaw is that it is an essentially “charitable” model that leaves the beneficiaries in a passive position – the only political mobilisation is of middle class donors.
Strike Debt has produced a really excellent resource in the Debt Resistors’ Manual – surely a better initiaitive (at the very least least an essential companion one) would be to channel resources into promoting self-help groups in poor communities to provide information and support for implementing the excellent strategies outlined in the Manual.


BC November 16, 2012 at 12:00 am

So Doug Henwood got into a bit of a back-and-forth with the left-liberal Mike Konczal today over Strike Debt and Rolling Jubilee. The exchange itself isn’t worth going into, but it prompted this concise reply by a “Jcl Sismondi” on Facebook:
I will make, once again, the point that is resolutely missing from the back’n’forth between Henwood, StrikeDebt!, Konzcal, etc. It is
• entirely salient
• has yet to be refuted in any serious way
• and yet people keep pretending it is not the case, because they don’t like the implications.

It does NO GOOD to “connect” the debt struggle to ideals of free education, health care, and all the other forms of the social safety net. The question of whether or not Strike Debt does this, or should do this, is ENTIRELY EMPTY.

If people can’t get what they need to live through the wage they fight back hard. This became a major problem earlier in the 20th century. Social Democracy developed as a way to purchase social peace.

The current regime of debt arose precisely because capital could no longer afford to purchase the social peace via such programs. It still needed to cover the gap between wages and the cost of staying alive; it also needed new revenues. Debt and financialization were its solution to this problem. It was a real problem.

We cannot simply go back to social democracy. If capital could purchase the social peace that way, it would. It can’t. The current debt regime is not a bad idea somebody had that they can just fucking re-have given adequate pressure. It is not an option.

The missing part to a struggle against debt IS NOT A STRUGGLE FOR SOCIAL DEMOCRACY. You might like it to be, because that seems doable, because you have some memory of it, or have heard great things about Sweden. Stop it. It’s not going to happen. And it’s not going to happen regardless of whether our politicians are good or bad, and regardless of how much “pressure from below” is applied. They abandoned it for a reason and that reason hasn’t changed. Get it?

The missing part of the struggle against debt is the struggle against the very arrangement where you can only get access to what you need to live through the wage. There is nobody out there or in here, capital or labor, who can suddenly pay more wages or provide more services and stay profitable, —and if you can’t stay profitable, you dont do anything.

The struggle against debt — at THIS particular time, in THIS particular historical situation, HERE, in REALITY — the struggle against debt is the beginning of a struggle against the wage form. I don’t care if you don’t like this fact or think Marx was a bad guy or feel like revolutions pretty much go wrong. Fine to all of that, grand. DOES. NOT. MATTER.

The struggle against debt is the beginning of a struggle against the wage form or it is nothing.


Pham Binh of Occupy Wall Street, Class War Camp November 20, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Doug Henwood, Amin Husain and others discuss the Strike Debt initiative on MSNBC:


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