Student Union of Michigan

This is part of an ongoing series of printable pamphlets designed to explain how money flows through public research universities in general and the University of Michigan in particular. The pamphlets are intended to clarify arguments and push back against pervasive and seemingly “common sense” narratives about the crisis of public higher education that impede, rather than advance, meaningful political action. We hope tactics and strategies will emerge from these counter-narratives—after all, we can’t fight what we don’t understand. Download the printable version of this pamphlet here and see the Resources page for the entire series.

Since the 1970s in the United States, there has been a shift from industry to finance as the driving force of the economy. Instead of investment in productive capital, money has been increasingly invested in the financial sector, seeking speculative profits. This money always seeks profitable outlets, namely projects, institutions, or individuals to which…

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The Montreal Student Movement Convention is a gathering of students from 5 continents that has been in the planning for nearly a year. From June 19-22, students will converge at the University of Quebec at Montreal to meet fellow organizers and learn from organizers all over the world about building student unions, creating intersectional movements, and taking a crucial step towards uniting as a global movement. 

The good news is that registrations have been pouring in, and more students than originally expected will be attending the convention. The bad news is that this has led to unexpected costs with UQAM and other logistical issues coming up at the 11th hour, which is why


Because of the larger participant pool, the University has decided to charge more for room reservations beyond what was originally intended. In addition, hard fought for union regulations that protect the wages and rights of university workers must be honored. So, we need you to help get this link out to the world. 


Sending this link to every student you know, every professor that supports the student struggle, every union member that believes in solidarity – it all matters. Posting in Facebook groups, sending emails, soliciting your second cousin you met once at a family reunion – it’s all valid. 

It’s up to us to make this conference a reality now. We can’t rely on just a few people to lead the way and solve this problem. If we’re going to overcome this deficit, it’s going to take all of us mobilizing in a real way over the course of the next 2 weeks. As student organizers, we believe that another world is possible, and that radical generosity can create a new reality. In attending this convention, we are taking a tangible first step toward building real international solidarity and a global student movement that is connected and powerful. Let’s practice what we preach. Let’s unite in solidarity. Let’s create one fist. As the student revolutionaries of May ‘68 said, LA BEAUTÉ EST DANS LA RUE. Let’s make it a reality. 


In solidarity and love,
The Montreal Student Movement Convention organizing commitee

Click through the picture to donate. 

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

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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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