Occupy's Trigger Moment

Strike Debt's Rolling Jubilee is a tactical mindbomb.

KeystoneUSA-ZUMA/Rex Features

With the election behind us, Occupy is emerging as an energized fighting force with new tactics and a renewed revolutionary potential. Spain's indignados are refocusing their rage against the banks by “jamming cash machines with glue and coins,” reports Reuters, in a tactical shift toward direct disruption of the flows of capital. Occupy Sandy is demonstrating the power of horizontal, people-to-people organizing with a relief operation that is feeding and caring for thousands in New York. And then there is perhaps the biggest tactical mindbomb of all: an audacious culture jam, originally conceived by Adbusters in 2009, to buy and abolish debt.

Tomorrow, Strike Debt, a maverick affinity group of Zuccottis, is kicking off the Rolling Jubilee . . . a project that “buys debt for pennies on the dollar, but instead of collecting it, abolishes it.” The ultimate goal is to “liberate debtors at random through a campaign of mutual support, good will, and collective refusal.” The plan has attracted sizable media attention from CNN, the NY Times, Salon and more. Writing for the Guardian, Charles Eisenstein explains its “transformative potential”:

Two pillars uphold the present debt regime: the moral legitimacy of debt in society's eyes, ie, the idea that a person 'should' pay back what he owes; and the coercive mechanisms that enforce repayment, such as harassment, seizure of assets, garnishment of wages, denial of employment or housing, and even imprisonment. The Rolling Jubilee erodes both. It destigmatises debt by saying, ‘we're all in this together, we believe your situation is unfair, not shameful, so we're going to help you out’.

The Rolling Jubilee has already raised enough money to abolish over $3.2 million in debt . . . raising the tantalizing possibility that Occupy's biggest trigger moment – the spark of a widespread refusal against the financialization of life – is still to come.

November 15, watch the live jubilee telethon at rollingjubilee.org.