Strike Debt Announces Abolishment Of Student Debt On Occupy Anniversary

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Strike Debt, an offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street movement, announced yesterday that it has abolished $4 million worth of student loan debt as part of its Rolling Jubilee program. The group was able to purchase the debt for around $100,000. The announcement came on September 17th, which is the anniversary of the beginning of the Occupy Wall Street’s occupation in New York City.

The Rolling Jubilee program has abolished over $18 million worth of debt in total using the same strategies debt collectors use in acquiring large debts for pennies on the dollar, but instead of trying to collect from troubled borrowers they “abolish” the debt and send a letter to the debtor alerting them that they no longer have to pay. Previously Strike Debt targeted medical debt and was able to abolish $14 million using the same strategy.

The student loan debt that was abolished was connected to a for-profit college called Everest.

These debts were held by students who attended Everest College, a predatory for-profit institution in the Corinthian Colleges network. We bought debt from this school in order to focus public attention on the grim consequences of allowing higher education to be used as a vehicle for private profit. The students at this college were conned. The schools are now being closed or sold off to other predatory companies, leaving students with no good options. The Department of Education is not doing its job to protect the students.

In the short term, we intend to help Corinthian College students pursue a complete cancellation of all their debts. But our long term goal is to end student debt, along with other forms of predatory lending. Access to vital common goods, like education and healthcare, must be available for free, as they are in almost every other wealthy country. To achieve this goal, debtors need to be able to organize together and use their debts as leverage.

This is apparently just the beginning of a longer and more expansive campaign against student loan debt. As noted, part of the goal for the group is to make education, including higher education, free. While that is likely a troubling thought for the for-profit education industry, many countries pay for their citizens to attend higher education seeing it as an investment in the future.

Perhaps programs like the Rolling Jubilee will not only help people struggling with onerous debts get free but provide inspiration to others to get involved in trying to transform America’s debt slave economy into something more humane.

Strike Debt is organizing students and other debtors at

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