17 September 2009
The debtors' revolt seems to be a failure
We gave some publicity almost a week ago to one woman's crusade to do over the American credit card companies over rates of interest that amounted to usury. Sadly, we have to report that the debtors' revolt seems to be a failure. Whether it can be resurrected in some form is debatable, but as it stands the revolt is probably going nowhere.
What Ann Minch, the organiser of this campaign probably did not realise is that the credit card companies can shovel their debt onto the federal government. Thus even if the campaign took off in a big way, the companies would not be hurt as Uncle Sam would pick up the tab.
Secondly, the campaign appears to have become rudderless, with sympathetic bloggers and journalists just not getting the information that we need to keep the campaign alive. Thus during the first two days of the debtor's revolt video's life between the 8th and 10th of this month, it attracted 60,000 hits largely because plenty of bloggers were posting about it. However, the hit-tally at the moment is just 177,000, which may sound a lot but isn't really. What is happening is that the video is still being watched, but not by the growing numbers that we would expect had it truly gone viral.
What went wrong? Basically Ann is not managing things properly. She does not reply to e-mails, and neither does she appear to be sending out news releases. It does not take a genius to search the blogs to find out who is posting on this theme and then get information out to them to keep the topic alive.
The failure to do this means that the issue will quickly fade from the public memory. It may very well be that Ann's campaign was doomed from the start owing to the ability of the credit card companies to offload their debt, but the failure to generate sufficient publicity is Ann's fault. There used to be a saying in the Communist Party of old that spontaneous outpourings of popular wrath need to be very carefully organised, and that is something that everyone, not just Ann Minch, needs to keep in mind.