The Debt Collective is the United States' first union for debtors. We organize debtors across the country to fight back against a capitalist economic system that plunges regular people, especially members of low-income communities and people of color, into overwhelming debt.
As wealth continues to concentrate among a small handful of people, most of us are forced to take on debts to make ends meet. Low wages and limited social services make it necessary for us to borrow money to cover the costs of basic necessities like health care, housing, transportation, education, heat, electricity, and more. Even incarceration has become a form of financial extraction, with escalating fines and fees for everything from court appearances and probation costs to “room and board” for those incarcerated.
These debts are drivers of social, racial, and economic injustice. They trap us in cycles of poverty, limit our freedom, constrain our imaginations, foreclose on our futures. They are some of the most concrete ways we experience a fundamentally unjust economic system in our everyday lives, and they often go unquestioned as a feature of contemporary life. But these debts are also something we can refuse to live with.
Through creative campaigns and cultural interventions, we have built a strong multiracial, multi-generational movement. We bring people together to turn individual financial burdens into a source of collective leverage - leverage that can be wielded to push for political and economic transformation. Alone, our debts are a burden; together, they make us powerful.