Occupy America’s second issue is called “Student Power,” examining conflicts and resistance centering around the academy. College and university students caught in the charged space between school and the pressures of neoliberal capital have long been some of the most dynamic agents of social change. This issue, containing one standard article and two extended features, turns to today’s students.
I write our first extended feature exploring the pressing domestic issue of ballooning student debt and tuition costs, framing it within the context of the increasingly corporatized American nonprofit university. The piece also highlights a few current nodes of resistance.
Jonathan Lyle focuses this broader analysis on North Carolina’s public university students, currently mounting a vibrant campaign against the rising tide of austerity budgeting. An organizer himself with the North Carolina Student Power Union (NCSPU), Jonathan offers an insider’s viewpoint on the pitched academic struggles in his home state.
Our third piece, another extended feature by Bobo Bose-Kolanu, delves deep into the history and culture of students’ institutional opposition. Documenting the coercion and surveillance of student activists by the CIA, FBI, and other state actors with exceptional detail, Bobo paints a startling portrait of the U.S.’s covert repression of dissent. He reminds us yet again that the stakes of student activism are far from trivial.
I learned a lot in the course of compiling this issue, and we hope that you as a reader will too.
Back in 2005, when the advocacy group Project on Student Debt took off, the phenomenon was so underreported that the founders had trouble deciding on a name. “There wasn’t the term ‘student debt’,” claims Lauren Asher, one of the initiative’s founders. Fast-forward just a few years, and thanks largely to the vocal efforts of organizers with Occupy …Continue Reading
The average student loan debt for American undergraduates last year stood at a staggering $26,600, a five percent increase from the year before. Connecting with anti-austerity activists as far as Quebec and Chile, North Carolina students have now made their response clear: education should be a right, not a privilege for those that can afford it. …Continue Reading
We live in an age of crisis. If the media is to be believed, threats are closing in from all directions. The terrorists, criminals, gay marriage, the Chinese (racist Red Dawn tweets incoming), socialists, psychopaths—the list goes on. What is actually happening here? Who benefits when America collectively jumps in fright? And what happens when our …Continue Reading