As Occupy Wall Street Anniversary Approaches, Debt Emerges as Widespread Occupy Grievance
"ONE, we are the zombies! TWO; we are indebted! THREE; this occupation is... om-nom nom-nom..."
Playfully infusing a familiar Occupy Wall Street chant with the mindless noshing of zombies, last month around 100 costumed protestors undertook a small but significant "Night of the Living Debt" march around the New York University campus and Washington Square Park. The event was organized by All in the Red, an initiative of student activists which grows out of the nocturnal marches that began last month in solidarity with the massive popular mobilization in Quebec against austerity-related tuition hikes. Equipped with an arsenal of felt red squares, red banners, red balloons, red confetti, and pots and pans, the young organizers — recent graduates of the OWS Summer Disobedience School training program — undertook the first coordinated march in New York to translate student-specific struggles surrounding tuition and education debt into a broader discourse concerning the perpetual condition of indebtedness in which the 99 percent currently finds itself. With its necromantic pop-cultural reference, the march suggested that zombie-like servitude to Wall Street creditors is a basic condition of life for the majority of the population — a point driven home with a cathartic "debtor's die-in" at the conclusion of the event.
The Night of the Living Debt march was just one sign that debt is emerging as a connective thread for OWS organizers and their allies as they begin to build toward the movement's one year anniversary of September 17, variously known as S17, Black Monday and Occupy Year One. More than just a commemorative ritual or one-off day of action, many organizers in OWS plan to use the media spotlight surrounding the day and its buildup as what Sandra Nurse calls a "launching pad" for a new kind of political movement in the United States — a movement of debtors identifying themselves as such.
1. I'm hoping to see an opportunity to connect student loan debts to LIBOR.
If we can make the case that the money that was being skimmed off of the top loan markets was then pushed back into those markets and skimmed again and again, you have a good scenario for saying not only the loans themselves but the jobs that students were preparing for - ALL of it is a scam.