By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The level of student loan debt has risen to $1.5 trillion and defaults are more than 40% and rising. U.S. student loan debt has grown to overwhelm all other categories of non-housing consumer debt in this nation. Underneath the crisis are rising tuition costs, a predatory student loan industry and an absence of consumer protections for students. What is the student debt movement to do? Of course the Biden bankruptcy protections should be repealed but that is not enough. We need a complete student loan debt forgiveness program. These debts are ill gotten gains and should be forgiven. If the government refuses to forgive these debts, people must rise up together and refuse to pay any student loan debt. The people have the power to end this injustice and must mobilize to do so. A student loan debt jubilee, whether mandated by law or put in place by the people, will bring economic freedom to tens of millions, end their debt servitude and allow them to participate in the economy. It will be a significant economic stimulus, but more importantly it will end an injustice.
By Alex Kotch for AlterNet – As far-right speakers face loud student opposition at their university speaking gigs, conservative lawmakers in several states are introducing legislation that cracks down on protesters. As uncovered by UnKoch My Campus’ Ralph Wilson, numerous states have borrowed their so-called “campus free speech” bills from the rightwing Goldwater Institute, which is funded by conservative plutocrats including Charles Koch and the Mercer family. The intent of these bills isn’t to protect student speech; it’s actually to suppress it in favor of guest speakers who, at times, support white nationalism, LGBTQ discrimination and other hateful worldviews.
By Jack Smith IV for News.Mic. College students across the country in cities like Los Angeles and Chicago are planning walkouts and marches, taking the Inauguration Day protests to the campuses where they live and work. Leftist groups like Students for a Democratic Society and the student arm of Socialist Alternative are coordinating across chapters of the University of Houston, University of Minnesota, University of Cincinnati, University of California — Berkeley and Los Angeles — various schools in Seattle and Philadelphia, and more schools as Inauguration Day approaches. And the organizers insist these protests are only the beginning of a broader resistance movement.
By Staff of MEMO – The largest student union in Britain has officially endorsed the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, in a significant success for Palestine solidarity activists. The University of Manchester’s Student Union Senate voted last Thursday to pass a motion in support of BDS. The motion won the backing of 60 per cent of the SU Senate, following an impassioned debate. The motion was put forward by Huda Ammori, President of Recognise Refugee Rights Society, and was supported by Etisha Choudhury, President of Action Palestine, and the BDS Campaigns Committee. In the three weeks prior to last week’s Senate meeting…
By Donna St. George, Perry Stein And Alejandra Matos for Washington Post – A group of hundreds of Maryland high school students walked out of class on Monday morning to protest Donald Trump’s presidential election, streaming into the school’s football field before numerous students headed out into local streets, tying up traffic. Students from Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring moved their protest along University Boulevard, heading toward other Montgomery County schools in an attempt to recruit more anti-Trump protesters.
By G. Pascal Zachary for Alternet. The Port Huron statement, named after the city in Michigan where SDS leaders met in June 1962, presented a sharp break with political dissent in America. For the entire 20th century, leading up to the 1960s, radical politics in America was chiefly derived from European formulations. Left-wing Americans were deeply shaped by European socialism and Soviet (i.e., Russian) communism. As in 1962, our moment doesn’t seem auspicious. Again, the words from Port Huron ring true today: humanity “desperately needs revolutionary leadership,” and “America rests in national stalemate, its goals ambiguous and tradition-bound instead of informed and clear, its democratic system apathetic and manipulated….”
By Staff of Tele Sur – Government officials struck down the school’s dress codes that many complained “pandered to whiteness. A South African school was ordered Tuesday to suspend hairstyle regulations after Black students complained that the restrictions singled them out and that they had been called monkeys by teachers for wearing banned “afros.” Local education authorities in the Gauteng province gave Pretoria High School for Girls 21 days to re-assess its rules after protests by students triggered a public dispute over the racist policies.
By Catherine Gewertz for Education Week – As Andrew Brennen crisscrosses the country listening to high school students, he is trying to build a huge wave of sound: the sound of students raising their voices to make school better. Brennen, 20, is on a national tour to engage 10,000 high school students in conversations designed to help them claim powerful roles in their education. The field director for the activist group Student Voice, Brennen has been catching buses and trains from city to city since February…
By Shane Burley for Waging Nonviolence – As the student leaders of the Portland State Student Union, or PSUSU, began leading chants to “disarm” the university, hundreds of students and community leaders had already begun circling the steps of the library. The rally was the meeting point for a planned student and faculty “walkout” on May 10, where more than 400 students promised to leave class to protest the Board of Trustees’ decision to arm campus police officers — which organizers see as just a piece of the larger trend towards the militarization of police officers around the country.
By Naomi Gingold for PRI – When Aki Okuda was 14 years old, he ran away from home. But this is not one of those kid-runs-away-and-is-brought-back-and-everything-goes-on stories. Okuda ran away and stayed away. “I wanted to go to the farthest place possible from Fukuoka,” he says. “I ended up on Yaeyama islands, the southernmost islands in Japan.”
By Sarah Lazare for AlterNet – A coalition of Los Angeles high school students and grassroots organizers just accomplished the unthinkable. After nearly two years of sit-ins and protests, they forced the police department for the second-largest public school district in the United States to remove grenade launchers, M-16 rifles, a mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicle and other military-grade weaponry from its arsenal. But the coalition did not stop there. Members took over a Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) board meeting in February to call for proof that the arms had been returned to the Department of Defense…
By Robert P. Connolly for UMass Amherst – BOSTON – The University of Massachusetts today became the first major public university to divest its endowment from direct holdings in fossil fuels. The decision was made by a unanimous vote of the Board of Directors of the UMass Foundation, a separate not-for-profit corporation that oversees an endowment whose value was $770 million at the end of the last fiscal year. The decision followed a series of developments that signaled the University community’s desire to fight climate change.
By Clotilde Bigot for AlterNet. France is a far more rebellious country than the United States. People march in the streets and go on strike for the smallest reasons. But this time, there is evidence of a major revolt as hundreds of thousands of people have been protesting against a new labor law for weeks. High school and university students were the first to join the protest, to block their schools and to demand the withdrawal of the law, quickly joined by trade unions, and by the youth, in general. The grassroots movement called Nuit Debout (“Night on Our Feet”) has been protesting virtually nonstop. With unemployment high in France, the nominally Socialist government of François Hollande has aggressively pushed through a new law. In the face of hostility Hollande has chosen to bypass a vote in the National Assembly using a rarely used executive power, which has sparked the most recent of a series of massive protests. In the meantime, Hollande has been unsuccessful overall in gaining consensus on the labor plan, failing to unite the Socialists in his own party, which the conservatives are strongly against as well.
By Madison Roberts for the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition. This week, 20 college students from all across Virginia will be touring the route of the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline, a natural gas pipeline running from West Virginia to Virginia. The Virginia Student Environmental Coalition has planned the trip since Fall of 2015. The purpose of the trip is to raise awareness of the new natural gas infrastructure and to engage with the communities impacted. Students will begin their journey on Sunday May 15, 2016 when they depart from Blacksburg, Virginia to travel to Wetzel County, West Virginia. The trip will be highly impactful for the parties involved, both students and community members. The various regions have welcomed the students’ involvement, offering their sincerest generosity to the trip by providing meals and places to stay along the way.
By Staff of DBK – Almost 20 students blocked traffic on Campus Drive Friday afternoon to protest the campus minimum wage, which sits $1.30 below the Prince George’s County minimum wages. Students sat on the crosswalk in between the engineering fields and Glenn L. Martin Hall, clapping and chanting, stopping traffic for eight minutes and 25 seconds, symbolizing the hourly wage for on-campus workers. Others supporting the rally joined in their clapping and chanting from the sidewalk.