We came together for the first time on November 15th. Since then we have formed a working committee, an offshoot of the original NYC-based Strike Debt, dubbed Bay Area Strike Debt.
Now we’re hosting a Debtors’ Assembly, where we hope people will come together to learn about a debt system that is strangling us; where we will talk about ways to support each other against it; and where we will brainstorm ways to fight it on both local and national levels.
It will tape place at the way cool Eastside Arts Alliance, “an organization of artists, cultural workers, and community organizers of color who live and/or work in the San Antonio district of Oakland.”
It’s happening on Saturday, February 2nd, at 2277 International Blvd, Oakland, CA. We begin at 2:00 PM.
Please join us!
(And keep reading below the awesome picture).
p.s. A group of performing artists in San Francisco liked the idea behind Strike Debt so much that they decided to put on a benefit without us even organizing it or asking. It’s at the Roxie on January 28th. Check them out too.
What We’re Thinking:
As individuals, families, and communities, most of us are drowning in debt for the basic things we need to live, including housing, education, and health care. Even those of us who do not have personal debt are affected by predatory lending. Our essential public services are cut because our cities and towns are held hostage by the same big banks that have been bailed out by our government. All of us are outraged that big banks don’t have to pay their debts, but we do.
Debt keeps us isolated, ashamed, and afraid – of becoming homeless, of going hungry, of being crippled or killed by treatable illness, or of being trapped in poverty-level jobs. Those facing foreclosure, medical debt, student debt, or credit card debt feel alone, hounded by debt collectors, and forced into unrewarding work to keep up with payments.
Strike Debt is building a movement to challenge this system while creating alternatives and supporting each other. At the Debtors’ Assembly we will come together as a community and begin to rethink debt, not as an issue of individual shame, but as a political platform for collective resistance and action. Come to the Assembly to learn about tools for escaping the closing walls of debt, to share resources and skills, and to magnify our assembled energy. As we share our experiences we can begin to take back from the financiers what they have taken from us: our freedom and our future.
Debt resistance is just the beginning. Join us as we imagine and create a new world based on the common good, not Wall Street profits.
Strike Debt Bay Area is the local chapter of Strike Debt, an international movement of groups working to build popular resistance to all forms of unjust debt. Strike Debt has organized the Rolling Jubilee, the Debt Resistors Operations Manual, and local debtors’ assemblies. Strike Debt supports the creation of just and sustainable economies, based on mutual aid, common goods, and public affluence. We owe the financial institutions nothing. It is to our friends, families and community that we owe everything.
Principles that have been developed by Strike Debt:
(These have not yet been adopted by Strike Debt Bay Area)
Strike Debt is building a debt resistance movement. We believe that most individual debt is illegitimate and unjust. Most of us fall into debt because we are increasingly deprived of the means to acquire the basic necessities of life: health care, education, and housing. Because we are forced to go into debt simply in order to live, we think it is right and moral to resist it.
We also oppose debt because it is an instrument of exploitation and political domination. Debt is used to discipline us, deepen existing inequalities, and reinforce racial, gendered, and other social hierarchies. Every Strike Debt action is designed to weaken the institutions that seek to divide us and benefit from our division. As an alternative to this predatory system, Strike Debt advocates a just and sustainable economy, based on mutual aid, common goods, and public affluence.
Strike Debt is an offshoot of the Occupy movement. It respects many of the principles that were adopted by Occupy participants from other non-hierarchical movements. These include: political autonomy; direct democracy; direct action; creative openness, a culture of solidarity; and commitment to anti-oppressive language and conduct. We struggle for a world without racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and all forms of oppression.
Strike Debt holds that we are all debtors, whether or not we have personal loan agreements. Through the manipulation of sovereign and municipal debt, the costs of speculator-driven crises are passed on to all of us. Though different kinds of debt can affect the same household, they are all interconnected, and so all household debtors have a common interest in resisting.
Strike Debt engages in public education about the debt-system to counteract the self-serving myth that finance is too complicated for laypersons to understand. In particular, it urges direct action as a way of stopping the damage caused by the creditor class and their enablers among elected government officials. Direct action empowers those who participate in challenging the debt-system.
Strike Debt holds that we owe the financial institutions nothing, whereas, to our friends, families and communities, we owe everything. In pursuing a long-term strategy for national organizing around this principle, we pledge international solidarity with the growing global movement against debt and austerity.