Spoken into a megaphone on October 18th and livestreamed here.
Amount of loan: $111,892.53
This is not an attempt to collect a debt.
The total student debt now totals over 1 trillion dollars. The average price of tuition has increased over 900%. In 2011, the Department of Education spent over 1.4 billion to hire collection agencies. These agencies earned about 1 billion in commissions.
My generation is busy quoting philosophers artists and thinkers while we are shackled by debt.
The 1% will continue to cut budgets and eliminate humanities courses that foster the critical thinking skills needed to reflect upon and understand the power structures surrounding us. As you have with all aspects of our lives, you have turned education into a commodity. I come from a generation that believed our devotion to the humanities justified earning degrees in Philosophy, Writing, Art, and Education.
I applied to a state university and earned a MFA believing these were healthy pursuits. They are healthy in every way except financially. Because of Governor Jindal's budget cuts, I am unable to work full-time as a college professor in Louisiana. The adjunct rate is not a living wage. I've been told to publish in order to get a full-time job teaching college students, and I've self-published a book and have written as much as I've had time to while teaching Freshmen Composition for online universities where I do not teach critical thinking. I am teaching students who have taken loans to attend a for profit university. I am not using my degree. Some of my friends from graduate school are able to write, but many are wage slaves to the global work machine.
Obama, I reject your token gesture of debt reform. Income based repayments are not the answer. The more I work, the more I pay, and I will be paying Sallie Mae accumulated interest. All my payments have gone towards interest.
As long as I participate in the global work machine, I deny myself the chance to use my degree to contribute to a body of ideas because there are no jobs. I will not feed you my time and dreams to pay interest.
I will not vote for any candidate who represents corporations. The system does not represent me.
The last thing the 1% wants is to give up one of their most powerful weapons - the idea that decent people always pay debts.
The Federal Reserve has been printing money for the banks who govern it. The government, which can declare student loan debt unenforceable, along with banking cartels, uses debt to funnel money from the 99% to the 1%.
This ends now.
I will save every dollar from collection agencies.
I will give nothing to banks. They are hoarding enough of it.
I will not produce what you consider goods, and refuse to perpetuate the burden of working harder only to consume more. Instead, I will produce ideas that challenge your global capitalism.
There is no place for me in your capitalistic machine. Mainstream media has indoctrinated us to accept debt. Budget cuts over higher education have turned universities into places that produce human capital, commodities, and competitors.
To the collection agencies hired by ACS, as long as you earn commission, I will not answer the phone.
To the government, as long as you are legally entitled to garnish my wages, I will not work.
To the bankers broke their promise, as long as you hoard money printed by The Federal Reserve, I will not feed you.
To the politicians who refuse to repeal bankruptcy laws, until you forgive all student debt, I will not vote for you and legitimize a system that perpetuates the illusion that you represent me or my peers.
To the Department of Education - as long as you are collecting $1.22 for every dollar, I will not pay you.
I was three years old when the Bankruptcy Reform Act passed in 1978. I was two years old in 1977 when the American Bankers Association joined the conference of bankruptcy judges in lobbying - formally, anyway - against the cruel and unusual punishment of making student debt non-dischargeable. I didn't have a say.
I am personally answering the call from Occupy / Real Democracy Now / 15M movement for public and private debt resistance and refusal
"To the financial institutions of the world, we have only one thing to say: we owe you NOTHING!
To our friends, families, our communities, to humanity and to the natural world that makes our lives possible, we owe you everything.
To the people of the world, we say: join the resistance, you have nothing to lose but your debts."