You Are Not A Loan

The debtors’ revolt has begun!

Support the strikers

On Monday, former students of Corinthian Colleges Inc. declared a debt strike by refusing to pay their federal loans.

These former students — who call themselves the Corinthian 15 — are the first to take such a bold stand against the current student debt crisis.

At the same time, the Rolling Jubilee has just erased over $13 million ($13,384,642.14) of student debt from Everest College, a subsidiary of Corinthian Colleges Inc. Corinthian has been the target of numerous fraud investigations by state and federal authorities.

Through this ongoing campaign, the Rolling Jubilee helped successfully pressure a debt buyer into retiring over the $13 million portfolio of Corinthian debt, and exit the private student loan business entirely! In short, we’re winning. Meanwhile, the Department of Education has been propping up Corinthian, essentially acting like a debt collector for a predatory lender. Now, we bring our fight to the DOE.

The Corinthian 15 — all former students of Corinthian’s Everest College — have declared that they cannot and will not repay their loans, and so they demand that the Department of Education cancel their debts. These students live in different parts of the country, attended school at different times, and earned degrees in different programs. They are united in their insistence that Corinthian defrauded them and that the Department of Education should discharge their debts and the debts of all other Corinthian students, both current and former.

The Corinthian 15 can serve as an example not just to other Corinthian graduates, but also to student debtors everywhere. The difference between the practices and finances of Corinthian and, say, NYU is simply a matter of degree.

letter of support for the Corinthian 15, signed by Slavoj Žižek, Naomi Klein, Rebecca Solnit, Bill McKibben, Barbara Ehrenreich, Robin Kelley, and many others, has also been made public.

The letter says it well:

“By declaring a strike, the Corinthian 15 are taking debt relief for themselves and challenging the Department of Education to look out for students instead of protecting rich and powerful creditors. By declaring a strike, they are taking a stand for all student debtors, by reminding us that for-profits schools are just an extreme version of our increasingly untenable system of debt-financed higher education. By declaring a strike, the Corinthian 15 are asking why the U.S. lags so far behind other industrialized societies in denying its citizenry the right to free college enrollment.”

This public strike by the Corinthian 15 marks the beginning of a new era of debtor solidarity and collective disobedience in the face of creditors’ immoral behavior and impossible demands. It also marks the public launch of the Debt Collective, a way for debtors to organize to form a new kind of power by turning their bonds into leverage.

Join us! You are not a loan.

Deleuze and Guattari: the State is a “Terror without Precedent”


Biblical Seamonster

Exciting moment in Anti-Oedipus (Part 3, Chapter 5) when Deleuze and Guattari first introduce their analysis of the birth of the modern state (and their scathing critique of it). They draw heavily on Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morality, especially his discussion of debt in Essay II. Deleuze and Guattari write (p. 192):

It is here that Nietzsche speaks of a break, a rupture, a leap. Who are these beings, they who come like fate?. . . .They are the founders of the State. Nietzsche will come to establish the existence of other breaks: those of the Greek city-state, Christianity, democratic and bourgeois humanism, industrial society, capitalism, and socialism. But it could be that all of these–in various ways–presuppose this first great hiatus, although they claim to repel and fill it. It could be that, spiritual or temporal, tyrannical or democratic, capitalist or socialist, there has never been but a single State, the State-as-dog that “speaks with flaming roars” (OGM, II, 16). And Nietzsche suggests how this new socius proceeds: a terror without precedent, in comparison with which the ancient system of cruelty [that Neitzsche has been discussing], the forms of primitive regimentation and punishment, are nothing. A concerted destruction of all the primitive codings, or worse yet, their derisory preservation, their reduction to the condition of secondary parts in the new machine, and the new apparatus of repression. All that constituted the essential element of the primitive inscription machine–the blocks of mobile, open, finite debts, “the parcels of destiny”–finds itself taken into an immense machinery that renders the debt infinite and no longer forms anything but one and the same crushing fate: “the aim now is to preclude pessimistically, once and for all, the prospect of a final discharge; the aim now is to make the glance recoil disconsolately from an iron impossibility”(OGM, II, 21). The earth becomes a madhouse.