At the first Debtors Assembly in New York City on June 3rd, more than 50 occupiers, educators, students, and workers came together for what organizers called a “passionate discussion of how the notion of a debt strike might become a connective point for a broad-based political movement.” According to organizers with the Occupy Student Debt Campaign (OSDC), “The condition of being a debtor is often one of isolation, fear, shame, and silence. The NYC Debtors’ Assembly,” which OSDC helped to form, “creates a space where we can come out and break this silence together.”
OSDC’s stated goal is to build a student debt abolition movement. The following is the latest statement of the campaign:
The truth is that student debt relief is too important to be left to elected officials. They are chronically dependent on the financial backing of the lending industry, and are structurally incapable of addressing this crisis, let alone resolving it. As a result, reform initiatives such as Student Loan Justice and Forgive Student Debt (to Stimulate the Economy) that have been aimed at petitioning lawmakers have very little to show for all their hard effort.
The recent federal modifications in payment schedules are micro-cosmetic compared to the sea-change that is required to free debtors of their intolerable burdens and rescue higher education from its increasing use as a profit engine for financiers, asset speculators, and real estate developers. The pathway to this outcome does not lie in futile pleas for economic reform, but through a political movement, driven by self-empowerment and direct action on the part of debtors.
The Occupy Student Debt Campaign was launched at Zuccotti Park in November 2011 with the goal of building a student debt abolition movement. Our campaign is based on principles for which we believe there is widespread support
1) Free public education, through federal coverage of tuition fees.
2) Zero-interest student loans, so that no one can profit from them.
3) Fiscal transparency at all universities, public as well as private.
4) The elimination of current student debt, through a single act of relief.
Click here to read the full statement.