Strike Debt emerged out of thematic assemblies held in May 2012 in solidarity with the student strikes in Montreal. Occupy Theory, Occupy Student Debt Campaign and Free University collaborated to hold an assembly on Education and Debt. Several weeks later, the group continued to meet under the name “Strike Debt”. Strike Debt quickly realized that organizing around debt (in all of its forms) provided much-needed energy and systematic analysis to the movement. Strike Debt is a network of people, many of whom identify with Occupy Wall Street, who are attempting to build a debt resistance movement.
- Full group consensus is needed in order for a project to use the “Strike Debt” name
- Subgroups are empowered to make decisions & reportback major decisions (allowing room for questions/concerns/blocks) and post meeting times and minutes to the group
- Minutes should be uploaded to www.interoccupy.net/strikedebt
- Recommended format: 1st page: decisions & next steps; later pages: discussion (no names)
 Group Objectives
- Build a debt resistance movement
- Change discourse around debt and credit
- Transform economic (debt) system
- Rebuild community and mutual aid networks
 Current Projects
- Main List
- Announcements only, moderated
- Discussion List
- Discussion, unmoderated
 Additional Media
 Hand Signals
These are some hand signals that are frequently used at meetings:
- Volume Up (Pointer Finger, Pointing Up Repeatedly) – This is used to show the speaker that they need to be louder.
- Temperature Check (AKA 'Vibes Check') – This is used as a gage to show the facilitator what people think, and helps shape the direction of the meeting. The 'agree, unsure, disagree' gestures are used during the temp check.
- Agree (Wiggle Fingers in the Air, Applause in American Sign Language) – This means I like this, or I feel good. It also can mean ‘I agree’.
- Unsure (Hands Out Flat) – This means I am unsure, on the fence or don’t know.
- Disagree (Wiggle Fingers, Hands Down) – This means I don’t like this, I don’t feel good or ‘I disagree’.
- Point of Process (Form a Diamond with Hands/Fingers, Palms Out) – This means we’re off topic or that process isn’t being followed and we should get back on track. This is mostly a cue to let the facilitator know there’s an issue with process.
- Point of Information (One Finger in the Air) – This means I have pertinent information about what is currently being discussed. It is not a question or a concern, it is merely information.
 About Strike Debt
Strike Debt, an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street, emerged out of a series of open assemblies. It continues to spark conversations about debt as a global system of domination and exploitation. Debt binds the 99%—although as we’ve seen in this manual it binds some people (women, people of color, and the poor) more tightly than others.
Debt resistance can take many forms and Strike Debt is developing tactics, resources and frameworks for generalizing the fight against the debt system. These initiatives include publishing the Debt Resistors’ Operations Manual and hosting debtors’ assemblies; supporting the work of the Occupy Student Debt Campaign and their Pledge of Refusal; launching the “Rolling Jubilee,” a mutual-aid project that buys debt at steeply discounted prices and then abolishes it (to learn more, email email@example.com); and planning direct actions across the country, ranging from debt burnings to targeted shutdowns of predatory lenders of all kinds.
Planning for the slightly longer term, Strike Debt is focused on bringing debt resistors together with the aim of growing the struggle against debt into a force to be reckoned with. Imagine, if you will, a global Debtors’ Union made up of a network of lender-specific sub-unions. For example, if someone had a mortgage with Bank of America, tuition debt from Sallie Mae and Citibank, and credit card debts with Wells Fargo and Chase, when this person joins the union they automatically join the sub-unions for Bank of America, Sallie Mae, Citibank, Wells Fargo and Chase. These unions could, eventually, be platforms for sustained agitation, providing support for strategic actions, including debt strikes, akin to the labor battles of earlier eras.
Underlying all these projects is Strike Debt’s support for a Jubilee—a full cancellation of all debts. Civilization after civilization has recognized that when debt gets unmanageable, it must be cancelled. This has happened many times throughout history. We should remember that there are conservative as well as revolutionary jubilees; debt cuts can save the system if what follows is business as usual. A Debt Jubilee needs to be accompanied by a program of social transformation.
We all know that promises have been broken. The 1% have gambled with our livelihoods. In contrast to their recklessness, those of us who advocate debt refusal take our collective responsibility very seriously. By dissolving the bonds which bind us to the 1%, we seek to forge new and equitable bonds with one another. We recognize that everyone deserves adequate housing, meaningful work, short hours, fair wages, access to health care and a truly liberating education. We cannot fulfill these obligations if we continue to cooperate with the system as it currently exists. Why keep paying our money to the Wall Street mob? We know our resources could be better spent.
Remember: we don’t owe Wall Street anything, we owe each other everything. The possibilities of organizing around debt resistance are only beginning to be realized. Strike Debt, like Occupy Wall Street, hopes to inspire autonomous action.
Take Action. Join the resistance.