Kevin has a Live Blog up at FDL with regular up dates from the scene in NYC.
Yesterday Code Pink co-director Rae Abileah was singled out by NYPD during a demonstration in front of Bank of America. She was waving a pink bra and was charged with “blocking a sidewalk”, although she was never told to move.
Now, Occupy has another action-based offshoot that starts with the Debt Resistor’s Operations Manual. Over the weekend, activists handed out 5,000 free copies of the manual in the events prior to today’s anniversary. The group leading the way is known as Strike Debt. The idea is to give practical tips to people who have navigated a default event, either through housing, student loan, credit card or medical debt. The idea is to provide advice to people drowning in debt, some of it from insiders in the lending industry, to help navigate and resist. The ultimate goal is to help people renegotiate and restructure their debt, which is related to Occupy Our Homes, but with a much broader focus. This is from Strike Debt’s initial press release:
Everyone is affected by debt, from recent graduates paying several hundreds of dollars in interest on their students loans every month, to working families bankrupted by medical bills, to the teachers and firefighters forced to take pay cuts because their cities are broke. 76% of Americans are serious debtors. At least 1 in 7 are being pursued by debt collectors. Debt is the tie that binds the 99%.
Whistleblowers have revealed a widespread pattern of immoral and illegal activity on the part of lenders and collection agencies. Yet our elected officials have proved that they are unwilling to rein in the finance industry or provide debt relief to the citizenry. The Debt Resistor’s Operations Manual is the first of several Strike Debt projects aimed at helping debtors evict Wall Street from their lives and take the first step towards creating a credit system that serves the people and not the profit margins of the 1%.
The manual, available here, offers practical tips on how to challenge debt collectors, errors on credit ratings, and bankruptcy laws. This goes well beyond a simple helpful hints manual, however, moving more into a history and ethnography of debt in the 21st century, a peek behind the curtain at how the lending industry targets and bleeds dry those in need of short-term funds. It looks at the institutional forces behind services for the unbanked like check cashing outlets and payday lenders, noting that these cost much more than traditional banking for the same services.