Living

Occupy’s ‘Rolling Jubilee’ is a model for cooperative purchasing power

Today, Occupy Wall Street launches the “Rolling Jubilee,” something the group is calling a “People’s Bailout.” Basically: People pony up cash that Occupy will use to buy bundles of individual people’s toxic debt for pennies on the dollar on the dirty market where previously only big evil bastard companies were allowed to do business. Then Occupy cancels the debt. They’ve already raised enough cash to, as of this post, knock out more than $4.5 million worth.

Personal debt in America has us shackled to unsustainable lives. It keeps older Americans stuck in their underwater mortgages in the suburbs, and keeps the working poor relying on cheap, unhealthy, unsustainable food. A jubilee, or tabula rasa, isn’t really possible when it comes to debt, climate change, or any of the other massive and crushing issues we face today.

But this jubilee, “a web-enabled institutional hack,” is not another petition — it’s direct community action, and it’s a model that could be scaled beyond toxic debt, to address other issues. It’s an aggressive step beyond straight crowdfunding to cooperative purchasing power that rivals that of the evil bastards. With community bids for clean solar and wind energy gaining traction across the country, maybe a Green Jubilee is already beginning to roll.