November 19, 2012
Scenes from the People’s Bailout
by Claire Kelley
Last Thursday, Strike Debt launched the Rolling Jubilee campaign with a telethon and event at Le Poisson Rouge.
“The People’s Bailout” raised enough money to abolish 5 million dollars worth of medical debt (the current amount raised since then is tracked on the Rolling Jubilee counter). According to a New York Times article about the campaign, the next step will be that the “people who incurred the debt in the first place will get a certified letter informing them they are off the hook.”
Thursday’s event featured activists who have been involved with Occupy Wall Street since 2011, as well as members of offshoots of the movement like Strike Debt, Occupy Theory, Occupy University, and Occupy Catholics. The variety show included musical acts, performers, religious sisters, and health care experts. Reporters from New York Magazine, The New Yorker, The New York Times, NPR and many more were on hand.
Lizz Winstead, co-creator of The Daily Show, and David Rees, author of How to Sharpen Pencils, emceed the event. Behind them the Strike Debt broadcasts the telethon online and reads responses from social media.
“No debt, no fees, education should be free!!” The Rude Mechanical Orchestra performs.
Kool A.D. from Das Racist waves a red debt flag.
Janeane Garofalo works the crowd.
Catholic sisters from Occupy Catholics and the St. Joseph community read a statement.
Members of Occupy Sandy speak about the ongoing work and volunteer projects.
Laurie Penny interviews Nathan Schneider of Occupy Catholics and Waging Nonviolence.
Tim Pool of Timcast interviews OWS organizer Justin Wedes.
Headliners Jeff Magnum of Neutral Milk Hotel and Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto perform three songs, including a cover of “Sign on the Dotted Line” by Tall Dwarfs.
In the video below, Debt author David Graeber explains how Strike Debt will help the “invisible army of defaulters.”
Claire Kelley is the Director of Library and Academic Marketing at Melville House.