A Time for Jubilee (by Elizabeth Palmberg)
The subprime mortgage crisis in the U.S. has raised just outrage at the behavior of predatory lenders. It’s wrong to push a mortgage which the lender knows the borrower won’t be able to pay back, driving homeowners into foreclosure and bankruptcy.
But when poor nations have unpayable debt—often the result of Cold War favors to corrupt dictators—they can’t declare bankruptcy. They have to just keep paying, even if all they can pay is the interest, never touching the principal. Even if it means ignoring desperate needs at home for education, antipoverty strategies, or fighting the AIDS pandemic. And even if, as is all too often the case, the creditors—wealthy nations or institutions like the IMF—impose harmful economic policies on debtor countries…
I’m asking folks to do this, it’s easy to call your congress-critter (Congressional Switchboard 202-224-3121)… takes about a minute and a half to call, give your zipcode to confrim you are a constituent, and say “I’m asking Congress(wo)man XXXXXX to please vote for the Jubilee Act.” When I did my stint as a registeredc lobbyist (long story), elected officials told me that fifty calls on the same topic was a very scary “flood” for them; and it made them sit up and pay attention.
The comments in response to Elizabeth Palmberg’s article are interesting all on their own.
When I said class needs to be re-analyzed, I refer specifically to Michael Hudson’s point that the employer-employee relation has been eclipsed by the creditor-debtor relation. It’s an important distinction when we start the mass movement conversation again.