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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 7/9/13

School's Out" Forever

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FACTS: During 2011, 53 percent of all Americans with a bachelor's degree under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed, only 56 percent of all law school graduates in 2012 were able to find a full-time job that requires a law degree, 48 percent of all recent college graduates have not been able to find a job in their chosen field, and close to half of all recent college graduates are working in jobs that do not even require a college degree.

This brings me back the mainstream retort I detailed above: "Why did they take out the loans in the first place?"

Precisely"

Student debt is merely a symptom -- a ghastly symptom like an oozing tumor, but a symptom nonetheless. Covering the tumor with a band-aid may assuage some but the cancer will continue to spread until holistic action is taken.

Returning to the fourth principle above ("the elimination of current student debt, through a single act of relief"), this approach does virtually nothing to challenge the corrupt system. Hence, please allow me to suggest a couple of basic "acts of relief" we can each execute right now without begging the 1% for crumbs:

  • Don't go to school.
  • Don't pay off your loans.
  • Live simply... really simply

All of these would serve to smash the current system of for-profit programming -- I mean... education -- while striking a debilitating blow to the entire commodity culture.

FACTS: Today, 34.9 percent of all student loan borrowers under the age of 30 are at least 90 days behind on their student loan payments. The delinquency rate on student loans is currently 14 percent and it is steadily rising while the delinquency rate on student loans for students that attended a "for profit" college is 23 percent.

Reality Check: The education industry -- a system based on fear, conformity, and indentured servitude -- is not worth rescuing.

FACTS: In the United States today, real earnings for young college graduates have fallen 15 percent since the year 2000, approximately 365,000 cashiers317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees, while more than 100,000 janitors have college degrees. Not surprisingly, 27 percent of those with student loan debt said that they moved back in with their parents after college.

Abandon the universities and colleges, default on your loans, opt out of the consume-and-dispose culture, and connect with others to form learning collectives and alternative communities.

The bigger picture, beyond education
Since it's far from just the realm of education that needs a new perspective, let's imagine the state of the planet as a fire raging through a high-rise building, how would the 1% react?

My guess is that they'd immediately call on the corporate media to make certain that most of the 99% refuse to acknowledge even the smell of smoke, never mind the flames. In fact, with enough programming, mainstream America would opt to perceive "rumors" of a fire as some kind of socialist scheme. Once the masses have been sufficiently pacified, well" there's a shitload of money to be made off the inferno and "re-building," and many, many future blazes to be planned.

Meanwhile, activists would behave like a sincere but dysfunctional fire department. They'd bicker over tactics, debate who pulled the fire alarm first, complain about which of them gets to hold the fire hose or drive the fire truck, get distracted by discussions about electing a new fire chief, and waste a whole lot of time imagining how to salvage the building within its original framework.

I say, let the building burn. The structure is not  salvageable so let it smolder right down to its fuckin' foundation.

I say this because the global "problems" being exposed by activists are not merely flaws within a basically fixable configuration. Economic inequality isn't a hiccup. Epidemics of preventable diseases are not an anomaly. Institutional hierarchies are not systemic blind spots. Capitalism -- hell, all forms of industrial culture -- cannot be gently reformed into sustainability.

Let's not waste resources putting out fires set by the 1%. Let's instead build our own structures so that those people yet to embrace their 99% status are better able to visualize an alternative to the way of life to which they fearfully cling.

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