Creston Davis, co-founder and director of GCAS, says it straight:
Debt has a heavier impact than anything you will study accruing it.

Originally posted on Objet petit a:

There is a joke about the problem of reading a book completely out of context.
A man was looking into the Bible for some guidance. Not knowing where to look, he simply opened the Bible randomly and point his finger at a passage. Wherever his finger lands, he will take as advice.
Here’s the first: “Judas went out and hanged himself”. Not knowing what to make out of that, he tried again.
This time it is: “Go and do likewise.” Completely baffled, he tried a third time.
“Whatever you are to do, do so quickly.”

One of the first insights I picked up on in college was the importance of context.  Context determines meaning, a lesson easily learned from this well-worn joke about the Dalai Lama.

The Dalai Lama walks into a pizza shop and says, “Can you make me one with everything?”

Context sets the table, if you will…

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Originally posted on Midwest Campus Crisis:

Photos Provided by Jake Haines Photography

Photo Provided by Jake Haines Photography

By Strike Debt Carbondale

We held a Debtors’ Assembly on April 10 outside of the Student Center on Southern Illinois University campus. Inspired by Strike Debt, an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street, our only plan for the assembly was to come with some personal stories about how debt affects our lives and our visions for the future, and to invite others to share their own thoughts on these topics.

Speaking at the assembly, one organizer confessed that during the planning, he found himself at a loss as to what kind of “personal story” to share at the assembly.

So he called his mother.

Mom taught literature at a junior high school in rural Illinois for more than 20 years. She also raised two kids, with some financial help from grandma, a little from dad and a lot from loans.

Stress, mom said, is inseparable…

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by Orion Webb

The Coalition Against Corporate Higher Education (CACHE) in association with Strike Debt, and my own efforts is launching its new campaign to bring attention to the dire situation that the students and recent graduates of the United States are in. Further, the movement will target predatory practices by lenders, and ultimately seeks the eradication of the student-debt bubble, and the eventual realization of universal higher education (among other attainable goals). You can connect to CACHE on twitter and find CACHE’s tweet announcing the beginning of this campaign below.


Elizabeth Warren and her allies have brought the student debt issue to the eyes of many, but it is time for a mass movement that insists that we will not let this issue get sidelined and sacrifice our youths in quiet desperation.


*Please See update at bottom regarding the precision of calling FED loans “loans from taxpayers.”

Meanwhile, student loan interest rates are doubling from 3.4% to 6.8%.



As Forbes has it,


Currently, student debt is estimated to be around $1 trillion, and the average individual owes about $24,000.  While this is roughly 1/10th the size of the mortgage debt that played the key role in triggering The Great Recession, it is also a type of debt that simply is very hard to get rid of. Furthermore, delinquency rates on student loans are currently 10%, but this is likely understated because of deferment options. Our current system has created a millennial generation in limbo. Many of us are not buying a house, starting a family, taking that trip to experience the world around us, or even paying rent on time. We are carrying the unsettled karma of a society that did not punish the banks for their abusive practices that caused the great recession, and now their talons are in the flesh of our nation’s future.

For my part, I intend to help strengthen the existence in Atlanta of the Southern Debt Resistance Movement, and to that end, I contacted CACHE about organizing together.

There are exciting things happening in Chicago.  CACHE is establishing a biweekly Debtors Unanimous meeting to allow people to learn that they are not alone and that they have options in facing debt. We will be doing the same in Atlanta. We are generating literature with practical knowledge about these meetings, debtors’ options, and the movement itself. As we take this idea and turn it into a reality, we need to find organizers to roll out the movement across multiple campuses across the country. If this excites you, then please contact CACHE and join the movement to create a more just tomorrow. We will be in contact with you.

In the meantime, you can begin preparing through SELF-EDUCATION. A good initial step is to read the following chapters from Strike Debt’s The Debt Resistor’s Operations Manual Chapter 4: Student Debt: Foreclosing on the Future and Chapter 9: Debt Collection: Don’t Feed the Vultures.

For additional resources regarding student debt, follow the links below:

Lessons Learned from the Privatization of Sallie Mae

Delinquency: The Untold Story of Student Loan Borrowing

Who Borrows Most?: Bachelors’ Degree Recipients with High Levels of Student Debt from the Trends in Higher Education Series

Direct Consolidation Loans from the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid office

For longer reads: Andrew Ross’s Creditocracy and the Case for Debt Refusal  and Alan Collinge’s Student Loan Scam: The Most Oppressive Debt in U.S. History.

You may also sign a petition to support Warren’s bill here.

3:08 PM PT: At the insistence of a certain Daily Kos member, I am compelled to point out that what the above quoted PCCC language refers to is a loan from the Fed, which is merely a national bank that exists within the taxpayer created and funded infrastructure of the United States Government, operates using the cables, roads, and on the soil which is funded and kept running by the United States Government, and the States and territories that also compose it, and operates under a charter from the United States government which grants it sovereign immunity (in the visage of limited liability) which  is loaned from the power and privilege of the United States Government, which is an agent of the very taxpayers who the Fed is operating on behalf of.

The Fed determines the rates of loans following policies set by Congress.


The Fed operates on a profit; it is the bank of the United States, and is created so that it will operate at a profit.  All of the rules are designed to that end, but you cannot take that fact in isolation and then suggest that this has any meaning in a vacuum.  

The central purpose of the Fed is to “keep our money valuable and our financial system healthy.” The Fed rationalizes the said loans to banks that get as low as .75% because this supposedly keeps our money valuable and our financial system healthy, but I suggest that these rates given to the students who are supposed to be the backs on which our future economy will be towed, is a far more sensible way to meet that goal.

Further, taxpayers own the money that the Fed generates, that is why surplus money held by the FED goes into the Treasury. Logically, if surplus money goes to the Treasury, and some of the money is meted out to big banks at low interest rates, then the money, it follows, would otherwise go to the tax payers.  It is not a stretch to say that this money belongs to tax payers.

Thus I cannot honestly say that the Fed is directly collecting your tax dollars and then loaning them to big banks at low interest rates, but the effect is pretty much the same.  

Republished from Daily Kos

Save Our Childrenfrom Furniture First! Students Second. at Do Division Fest

Whittier already had a playground set and basketball courts before Mayor 1% came along. What it didn’t have was a library. A one book per child handout from a Christian charity does not cut it for a fully-funded public education.

Let’s not forget that while we’re celebrating in the neighborhood, CPS approved spending $35 million to move the central offices and buy brand new furniture. That’s over 20 times what the article says was spent at the Whittier playground. They are spending $7917 per staffer on new furniture – nearly two times as much as the $4140 per pupil spent at schools like Whittier, according to a WBEZ interview with CPS spokesperson Becky Carroll.

And what about the 53 schools that got closed at a cost to taxpayers of $285 million? No playground or library instruction for them, huh? Sun-Times reported that only 38% of receiving schools have a librarian.

This was a re-election stunt, plain and simple. Until the CPS budget is directly controlled by parents, students and teachers in the LSCs and not by an unelected puppet board, we will have no control of the public school system that we pay for with our taxes.

Begging FactionHave a spare $9.5 million so CPS can buy office furniture?


Help us raise $9.5 million for the CPS Board’s new office furniture!

In 2013, the Chicago Public School Board said it needed to close 53 schools to save money. The idea is that if it doesn’t have to fix a leaky roof on one school, it can spend the savings on a library at another school.

In 2014, the CPS Board decided it could save money on both roofs and libraries, if it just spent the funds on brand new furniture for it’s sleek new downtown offices. Joel Hood, told WBBM’s Bob Roberts the old furniture won’t be cheap to move and doesn’t fit the style of the modern 1 North Dearborn space. 

We know the Board wants to do the right thing and put the money in the classrooms, but really, really just need new furniture. Do your part and help us ask the public at large for funds! Dress for success (or in character as a circus performer or a church goer) and bring your donation jar!

Join us at Damen and Division at Do Division Fest, Saturday at Noon. We’ll be putting on a spectacle as well as inviting audience members to become spectactors for a Theater of the Oppressed practice focusing on public education.

This production put on by you! and Chicago Educational Workers Industrial Network, Coalition Against Corporate Higher Education and Theater of the Oppressed.

May Day didn’t come in with a bang but with a drizzle. No fireworks at midnight, no rally calls in the streets. It was like any other Chicago spring day: gray, potholed, and downtrodden.

11:45 a.m., Paulina Ave.

Walking north to Union Park from the Illinois Medical Center blue line, I saw an unhappy woman fooling with the laminated nametag around her neck and a dusty old man sloughing along the sidewalk. A busted red and black umbrella by a fence. Last year’s leaves dead near the curb.

I expect a spectacle. For the whole city to be lit up and on the verge of erupting. Camaraderie raging. But like you I rarely get what I want. Not to mention that anytime I participate in an anniversary of a historic event or visit a monument, I don’t feel anything. I’m a ghost passing through, thin and veiled.

It’s been a difficult spring. Folks have been hard to organize. Everyone has been so insular in their chosen struggles, their individual battles bleeding them dry.

Union Park: Red & Black Brigade Rally

A small group of cold comrades stomp and clap in a circle, singing a chant with POWER as the refrain. Men with black bandanas covering their faces carry red and black flags. Food Not Bombs Pilsen serves banana bread made from dumpster finds on a card table. The social media guru of IWW shouts updates through a bullhorn. CACHE smokes and chats with our Michigan Student Union allies.

“Anytime you’re ready, go up and speak,” she told told me.

I’ve been thinking about what to say. I knew I had promised to speak. And for the last few months, I’ve been working with the idea that we’ve already won. It’s powerful.

You should try it.

Pretend that we just have to go through the motions for it to become complete.

Believe that everything you read is published in order to convince you otherwise: the higher courts refusing to hear the NDAA case, Monsanto creating a GMO marijuana plant, the death of net neutrality. Know that #badmin and oligarchs are pulling so much from under our feet that they can’t possibly continue without severe and relentless backlash. Didn’t they know that? What made them think they could get away with cruelty and austerity forever? Such fools these bourgeois be.

Energy picks up. SlutWalk raise their fists toward heaven and stand defiant. Image.

I take the microphone because clumsy me can’t figure out how to use my new bullhorn without setting off the siren. The thrill of the moment and the brain stagger: “I’ve resurrected and co-opted Rik Mayall’s People’s Poet, for all y’all who know The Young Ones. So you have to scream PIG! at the end of every line. Ready? All right: Taking even more from your public’s hands, are you?”


“You still forget the rifle’s kickback?”


“You know Liberté weighs in our favor?”


“Don’t you know that we’ve already won?”


“Guess who taught us that?”


“Not YOU.”


“You can’t kill revolt.”


“It’s alive and well.”


1:30 p.m., Red & Black Brigade Feeder March

A bit of a scuffle taking the streets off Union Park.
“Whose Streets?”
“Our Streets!”
Cop brigade was slow to organize.

And then once ready we were off like a cannon in slow motion. An engine building steam and momentum. Bucket drums out of sync with the chants, always. Why folks say But it’s anarchy as an excuse for not catching the beat I’ll never know.