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.

By Sarah Jaffe and Michelle Chen, Dissent

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.

1.7 trillion on ball and chain tied to demonstrator

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 Collective—which has been organizing for the abolition of all forms of financial debt for over a decade—is 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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