Student Debt Jubilee & Why Higher Education Ought to be Free


Student Debt Jubilee & Why Higher Education Ought to be Free, Part Two

Tuesday, July 17th, 8:30pm EST/5:30 Pacific

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Last December, the Backbone Campaign hosted our 84th Conversation with the Cabinet podcast entitled Student Debt Jubilee and Why Higher Education Ought to be Free. On April 3rd, our team led a somber Student Debtor Ball ‘N Chain march to the Department of Education and Sallie Mae in Washington, D.C.; later in the spring, the Backbone Campaign was a key partner in Occupy Graduation.

On Tuesday, July 17th, at 8:30pm EST/5:30pm Pacific, we will host a second Conversation on this topic. For our upcoming Conversation, we will again be joined by incredible organizers using different tactics to demand higher education as a right. Our guests will be Occupy Student Debt Campaign‘s Ann Larson, Natalia Abrams of Occupy Colleges, Robert Applebaum of Forgive Student Loan Debt, anti-Sallie Mae activist Stef Gray, Kyle McCarthy of Occupy Student Debt, and Loan Reform Now founder Rae Ann Roca.

Much has occurred since our last Conversation. In Canada, Montreal students went on strike, conducted ‘casserole’ demonstrations with an expanded base of support, impacted the city’s economy, and met with government officials to demand the re-establishment of free higher education. Here in the U.S., student loan debt surpassed credit card debt in April, rising to $1 trillion; in the following weeks, organizers took to the streets in Washington, D.C. New York City, and elsewhere.

Mainstream media coverage of politicians discussing the issue has exploded; politicians need voter turnout among the 36 million Americans impacted by this issue. We have witnessed calculated sympathy for student debtors by presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. And although House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) worked tirelessly for years to increase profits for predatory student lenders, recently he was self righteously tweeting that Democrats are to blame for the increasing impoverishment of student debtors. One of Boehner’s biggest campaign contributors is predatory lender Sallie Mae (which, like other lenders, also owns student debt collections agencies). And although Congress just voted to postpone a doubling of federally funded student loans, future borrowers will be saddled with an additional $20 billion in costs.
Student walk out and march i Seattle 2010
Only Green Party Presidential Candidate Dr. Jill Stein has publicly endorsed immediate student loan forgiveness and tuition-free higher education at public universities.

Our podcast aims to facilitate discussion about strategy on this issue. With diverse organizations, people and short-term goals, how might groups collaborate? How will last year’s Occupy phenomenon influence future tactics? And what upcoming public actions will we see during this turbulent election cycle?

Election-year craziness and partisan politics aside, student debt rebellion and free higher education organizers are building alliances and making plans!

We are thrilled to feature guest Co-Host Glenn Daniels Jr. A recent graduate of Towson University, Glenn organized Occupy Towson after participating in Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Baltimore. In the last semester of his senior year, Glenn screened Default: The Student Loan Documentary and organized a May 1st Rally on campus that brought students, professors, activists, and union members together to speak about student and worker rights and debt.

RSVP now for instructions for how to participate in this webcast.

Onward together to education as a right,
Diane Wittner, Co-Host
Glenn Daniels Jr., Guest Co-Host
Conversations with the Cabinet
Backbone Campaign
Student Debtors March


phone: (206) 408-8058

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