Three years after the Occupy movement’s first protests, the Rolling Jubilee initiative has proven to have some staying power. Vauhini Vara reports on the group’s latest move to cancel private debt.
Photograph by Nina Berman/Noor
It was an ordinary Friday. Courtney Brown, 24, of Kalamazoo, Mich., was busy looking for a job. “I’ve applied all kinds of places,” she says. “Wal-Mart, Target, Verizon Wireless.”
Then she got a strange letter in the mail. “‘We are writing you with good news,’” she reads to me over the phone. “‘We got rid of some of your Everest College debt … no one should be forced to mortgage their future for an education.’”
The letter went on to say that her private student loan from a for-profit college, in the amount of $790.05, had just been forgiven outright by something called the Rolling Jubilee.
Since November 2012, Rolling Jubilee has purchased and eradicated about $15 million worth of debt arising from unpaid medical bills. Today, the group announced that it has erased $3.9 million in private student loans, including Courtney Brown’s and almost 3,000 other students of the for-profit Everest College.
Illustration credit: LA Johnson/NPR
Coupland’s images of jumpers and of the ultimate boogeyman, Bin Laden, remind us of how deep inside us those images are lodged, how they can never be removed, and how, as time passes, their meanings remain as potent as ever, even though we can’t fully decode them. By evoking memories that can’t be deleted by wilful ignorance or overabstraction, Coupland reminds us that we all share a set of uncloseable doors in our minds, and through these opened doors, in an almost cartoon-like way, now march the NSA, Google, spooks, shadow governments.
Ok, technically, Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu didn’t win the Democratic nomination on Tuesday. But we should not let this moment pass without recognize just how much they won. We no money, they took on a candidate with $30M. And with incredible grace and warmth, they garnered 34%/40% respectively….
"I’m 66, but I bike 55 kilometers every day. I don’t get much from my pension, so I ride along this road and pick up metal scraps to bring to the collection center. I ride my bike everywhere. A few months ago, I rode 170 kilometers to visit my daughter. I left at noon and got there before dark. I wasn’t even rushing!"
(Bila Tserkva, Ukraine)