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Is Occupy's 'Strike Debt' Project Purely Altruistic?

"Look, we’re revolutionaries, you might not like what we’re trying to do."

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A Bailout for the People, by the People: Occupy Wall Street's 'Rolling Jubilee' Eats Up Debt

Rolling Jubilee is Occupy Wall Street's action that aims to buy distressed debt, like medical bills and student loans, in order to forgive it.

Occupy Wall Street has been back in the news over the last couple of weeks, primarily because of their outstanding efforts dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast and now in Haiti, with Occupy Haiti. But another way they're making headlines is with a new initiative called the Rolling Jubilee, an action that aims to buy distressed debt, like medical bills and student loans, in order to forgive it. Their team has consulted the IRS, attorneys and "moles in the debt-brokerage world" to find the best way to buy debt in communities that have been struggling during the recession. The idea is that these efforts will free people of their financial burdens.

They've done a test run, spending $500 which ended up buying $14,000 in distressed debt, essentially erasing what was owed. In order to maximize their efforts they're planning a telethon and variety show to benefit the 99% with heavy hitters like Janeane Garofalo, The Yes Men, Neutral Milk Hotel, Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth, Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio and others taking the stage New York's Le Poisson Rouge on November 15.

The video below outlines the idea more clearly, and their website states:

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Coming Soon: An Alternative Banking Group Handbook?

Wouldn't it be great if we could all understand the banking system?

The Alternative Banking Group, the Occupy folks with real Wall Street experience who adopted the task of describing and advocating real financial change, may be up to something that could help the rest of us better understand the changes they want and why they want them. A story in the Financial Times alluded to their contact with a similar group in London (registration required). That group, Occupy Economics, has published a handbook explaining relevant English economic topics in layman's terms. But the U.S. might get one, too:

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Occupy Anniversary: Looking Back at the Intersection of Protest and Public Space

Exhibit marks the first year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street by exploring architecture's role in the movement.

Anniversaries help us remember something they may have otherwise forgotten—something significant happened almost exactly a year ago in New York, at Zuccotti Park. Our current show “Beyond Zuccotti Park,” at the Center for Architecture through September 22 marks the first anniversary of Occupy Wall Street.

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