The following is a manifesto issued by ASAP!, the Allied Students for Another Politics!, a group of student organizers at Oregon State University, as a statement of purpose for their planned action on March 3, 2015.
“If history shows anything, it is that there’s no better way to justify relations founded on violence than by reframing them in the language of debt—above all, because it immediately makes it seem that it’s the victim who’s doing something wrong.”
Our right to education, enshrined for the people of the world in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is obstructed by the phenomenal cost of college. Over two out of every three students graduating from college has fallen into debt. In the United States economy, college education has become a necessity, not a luxury. College needs to be made tuition-free, so as to be accessible to all.
This is not idealism. This is not wishful thinking. This is the reality for students in Scandinavia, Brazil, Chile, Zimbabwe, Slovenia, Libya, Cuba, Germany, and many other countries. The cost of free public education would be mere percentage points of the money given to banks is 2008 or put into the military-industrial complex yearly. Free education is not a wild fantasy that would be costly in reality. Free education is a right.
We are told that debt is what happens when someone agrees to borrow money and has not yet paid it back. However, most people go into debt to pay for housing, medical care, and education. This is not an agreement. This is people doing what is necessary to fulfill their vital needs. When debt becomes a necessity, it ceases to be a legitimate contract; it becomes a tool of oppression. Like all forms of oppression, we stand in solidarity against it.
Whereas recognizing the inherent injustice of current debt as inimical to the basic dignity of debtors, we therefore proclaim the conditions necessary for equity in these Demands of the Indebted:
~ The abolition of all forms of student debt
~By extension, the elimination of national and consumer debt
~ Quality education for free and for all
~ Ownership of one’s own labor, and its dividends
“The only part of the so-called national wealth that actually enters into the collective possessions of modern peoples is their national debt.”