Belabored: Abolish Student Debt, with the Debt Collective

Belabored: Abolish Student Debt, with the Debt Collective

With a pandemic pause on student loan repayments set to expire this year, debt abolitionists have stepped up their campaign to get Washington to cancel education debt entirely.

Student debt borrowers call for the cancellation of education loans outside the White House in February 2022. (Paul Morigi/Getty Images)

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More than 45 million people across the United States are shackled to roughly $1.75 trillion in student debt, which many will be paying off for the rest of their lives. While student loans are often associated with college-educated professionals, education debt disproportionately burdens Black students and women, potentially sinking their prospects for home ownership, starting a family, or saving for retirement.

Two years into the pandemic, there is a growing call for the total cancellation of student debt. The Biden administration has offered reforms to give limited relief to some student borrowers, but debt abolitionists say it’s not enough. The Debt Collectivewhich has been organizing for the abolition of all forms of financial debt for over a decadeis stepping up its campaign on student loans, urging Washington to not only wipe out all student debt through executive action, but also make college free for all so that future students won’t need to get indebted to get educated. We spoke with two organizers with the Debt Collective, Ami Schneider, who is also a debt striker, and Eleni Schirmer, a research associate with the University of California-Los Angeles.

In other news, we check in on Stanford nurses preparing to strike, Kenyon students already on strike, organizing Apple store workers, and the National Labor Relations Board taking aim at “captive audience meetings.” With recommended reading on train conductors battling exhaustion and emergency room doctors fighting privatization.

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Laura Clawson, NLRB official moves to ban captive audience meetings, Daily Kos

Kenyon Student Worker Organizing Committee, We are on strike over unfair labor practices. Indefinitely.

Adam Margolis, CAs and ATs go on indefinite Unfair Labor Practice strike, Kenyon Collegian  

Emily Hofstaedter, Stanford Threatens to Cut Health Care for Nurses Who Go on Strike, Mother Jones 

CRONA Nurses, Negotiations 2022



Ami Schneider, organizer with the Debt Collective and debt striker

Eleni Schirmer, organizer with the Debt Collective and research associate with UCLA 

Debt Collective, Our History and Victories

Stacy Cowley, Millions move closer to student loan forgiveness with one-time government waivers, New York Times

Michelle Chen, Women owe two-thirds of student loan debt. This points to a slow-burning crisis, Guardian


Argh, I wish I’d written that!

Aaron Gordon, ‘What Choice Do I Have?’ Freight Train Conductors Are Forced to Work Tired, Sick, and Stressed, Vice 

Maureen Tkacik, Out Of The ER, Into The Street, The Lever