On Tuesday Feb 26th, around 30 people came to hear George Caffentzis give a presentation to Occupy Boston’s Strike Debt working group. George is a professor of philosophy, a marxist, and a prominent figure in NYC’s Strike Debt movement.
A portion of the talk focused on the differences between debt and wage struggles. There are many examples of wage struggles (think labor movements and unions), but far fewer examples of debt struggles. The populist movement, Catiline, Shay’s rebellion, and Christianity’s rejection of usury are the more well-known examples of debt resistance; there aren’t many others, and we’ll need new movements to produce a rich history of debt resistance.
Debt struggles are unique in two significant ways: debt tends to isolate people more than it brings them together, and debt struggles typically cross class boundaries. The very poor can go to debtors prisons, but so can the middle class, and the very wealthy. This makes it challenging to decide who is in a debtors movement; for example, is a small business owner a capitalist, or are they running a business to satisfy their basic personal needs?
Finally, despite the hardship and unfairness caused by the 2008 financial crisis, we’ve been slow to develop a movement to strike out against bank bailouts, foreclosures, and indebtedness (several years passed between the TARP bailouts and the first Occupy encampment in NYC). We still have time to build a movement, but the window of consciousness may be closing.
A rough transcript of the presentation is available here:
The GA on March 5 will be set aside for the first of several discussions designed to evaluate the contributions of OB since the camp, and to evaluate ideas about future directions. Our first discussion will attempt to answer the following question: What are the most significant accomplishments of OB since the end of camp?
A potential list might include:
Everyone is encouraged to make his/her own list of what was accomplished and its significance (and bring copies if possible). Members of working groups are strongly encouraged to report on their specific accomplishments, as well.
Please Join us on Tuesday March 5th, 7pm at Community Church (565 Boylston Street).
We still have red duct tape, we still have cough drops, and we still want to help keep you all well!
To that end, several of the OB street medics are launching a project to build a mobile, street based health clinic in Boston.
We’ve kept busy together organizing a 20 hour street medic training last summer (http://bostonstreetmedictraining.wordpress.com), going to medic at NATO, S17, the RNC, and the DNC, as well as doing relief work with Occupy Sandy this past fall (http://sandyrelief-boston.tumblr.com).
Now we’re building a project to turn this bus into a mobile health clinic and radical library.
More info about the project is here: http://solidaritynotcharity.tumblr.com.
If you have questions about the project or would like to get involved, please email us at: masc-AT-riseup.net