Via Counterpunch, Darwin Bond-Graham argues that students are positioned at a “choke point” in the debt economy:
Now that we know the debt situation is untenable for an entire generation, what are we going to do about it? UC Santa Cruz professor Bob Meister is advocating the university and the plight of the student as a starting point for a wider movement against debt. Historically students have been galvanizers, taking direct action at seemingly impossible moments. Will they do it now?
Meister compared the students of today to the coal miners of early industrial capitalism. Under that regime of production, coal miners had the power to shut down the economy because they labored away at the site of a singular choke point of value extraction upon which all the spinning looms and colonial plantations depended. Students now occupy a choke point, according to Meister. Student loans are assets in the books of banks and the personal fortunes of the wealthy 1%, used to leverage up debts throughout all other sectors of the economy, debts that penetrate into the social collective and reinforce financial servitude for the masses.
“In financial capitalism our debt is a raw material for the production of new financial products,” said Meister. Think about all the bizarre derivatives, complex loans and credit mechanisms, the profusion of financial claims that multiplies leverage across households, corporations, sovereign nations, all in a dangerous and systemic manner. Remember that student loans are the single biggest source of consumer debt now. “Our debt is someone else’s collateral,” observed Meister.