Building collective power via a new debtors’ union
Debt Collective is building new forms of collective power for debtors.
Debt Collective is the nation’s first debtors’ union, and they organize around intersecting forms of indebtedness – from medical debt to carceral debt, housing debt to student debt – that characterize life for working people, disproportionately in Black and Brown communities.
The Debt Collective’s work shows that people do not go into debt because they live beyond their means. They go into debt because they are denied the means to live. Housing, education, and healthcare are all out of reach for most people, and people are even forced into debt for their own incarceration. The Debt Collective organizes debtors, including artists, to collectivize their debt and their political voice to force debt relief and changes to the legal and financial system to protect individuals from predatory financial practices. Debt Collective is building power to decommodify basic needs—education, food, shelter, and health—and make sure everyone has a material share of what is rightfully theirs.. Its recent significant wins of student debt relief in 2022 have elevated conversations about how debt exacerbates the racial wealth gap.