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Shannon Bryan

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Posted: January 11, 2013

Buy debt, bye debt: Abolish debt with the Rolling Jubilee

Written by: Shannon Bryan

Debtors Ball: A Rolling Jubilee Benefit

7:30 pm Fri, Jan 11 | $10 and up | SPACE Gallery, Portland

Most of us have too much money on our hands.

Just kidding. Most of us are broke. Like, really broke. Not just broke – in debt. The kind of debt that keeps the phone ringing and the mail box full of envelopes from collection agencies in Altanta. The kind of debt that keeps people up nights because of its seeming insolvability. Credit agencies don’t have a habit of letting debt slide or calling it good because hey, you lost a job last year or your Sallie Mae school loan kicked in or your company thought now was a good time for a pay freeze and they know you’re in a tough spot and they feel for you. Agencies don’t feel.

But people do. And some people have decided to tackle this looming and insurmountable debt issue themselves – not by haggling with debt collectors, but by becoming debt collectors. Except the folks behind the Strike Debt project known as Rolling Jubilee won’t collect debts. They’ll forgive them.

See, debt collectors buy anonymous, bundled debt for pennies on the dollar. Then they harangue the debtor for the full amount. Do the math: Debt collection agencies walk away with a lot of money. The Rolling Jubilee Fund – a non-profit organization born out of Occupy Wall Street – is gathering donations from regular Joes like you and me and using that money to buy anonymous, bundled debt, just like a collector does. But rather than collecting that debt (which could partly belong to you, me, or some woman in Tallahassee), they abolish it.

It’s sort of the Secret Santa of financial crisis.

Tonight in Portland, the Rolling Jubilee will roll into SPACE Gallery, soliciting donations and sharing information. Attendees give $10 – more if they can spare it – and those funds will go directly to the Rolling Jubilee Fund (and every dollar raised is able to cancel out $20 worth of debt. That’s more bang for your buck than you’ll ever get from any slot machine). Plus there’ll be live music and activities and a late-night dance party. Because tackling debt one bundle at a time is certainly something to celebrate.

FMI on the event: www.space538.org

FMI on Rolling Jubilee: rollingjubilee.org

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