Strike Debt and the Rolling Jubilee—Building a Debt Resistance Movement

Strike Debt

Graeff, Erhardt. 2016. ‘Strike Debt and the Rolling Jubilee—Building a Debt Resistance Movement.’ In Gordon, E. & Mihailidis, P., eds., Civic Media: Technology, Design, Practice. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 137–146.


Growing out of Occupy Wall Street, Strike Debt has been working since May 2012 to build a social movement through various forms of media and market-based activism under the banner of “debt resistance.” They cite the history of Biblical jubilees that canceled debt to normalize society (Graeber 2011), the debtor movement like El Barzon in Mexico (Caffentzis 2013), and “mortgage strikes” by Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s Peoples (Strike Debt 2014, 93), to make an intellectual and moral argument for debt resistance against the contemporary system of debt, which in their analysis causes dehumanizing shame and suffering. They describe debt as a weapon and a web that catches you—as soon as you pay off one loan you are indebted for another reason (Graeff and Bhargava 2014).

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