Academic journal article Women's Studies Quarterly

An Ode to the Debt Resistor from the Debt Resistors' Operations Manual

Academic journal article Women's Studies Quarterly

An Ode to the Debt Resistor from the Debt Resistors' Operations Manual

Article excerpt

Everyone is affected by debt, from recent graduates paying hundreds of dollars in interest on their students loans every month, to working families bankrupted by medical bills, to elders living in "underwater" homes, to those taking out payday loans at 400% interest to cover basic living costs, to the teachers and firefighters forced to take pay cuts because their cities are broke, to countries pushed into austerity and poverty by structural adjustment programs.

Everyone seems to owe something, and most of us (including our cities) are in so deep it'll be years before we have any chance of getting outif we have any chance at allWe are told all of this is our own fault, that we got ourselves into this and that we should feel guilty or ashamed. But think about the numbers: 76% of Americans are debtors. How is it possible that three-quarters of us could all have just somehow failed to figure out how to properly manage our money, all at the same time? And why is it no one is asking, "Who do we all owe this money to, anyway?" and "Where did they get the money they lent?"

At the same time, we keep hearing about financial capitalism: the fact that most of the profits on Wall Street no longer have much to do with producing or even selling anything, but are simply the fruits of speculation. This is supposed to be very complicated-"Somehow they have just figured out a way to make money out of thin air; no, don't even try to understand how they do it." ...

In fact, bankers are allowed to make money out of thin air-but only if they lend it to someone. That's the real reason everyone is in debt: it's a shakedown system. The financial establishment colludes with the government to create rules designed to put everyone in debt... with the entire apparatus of government, police and prisons providing enforcement and surveillance. Instead of taxing the rich to generate money to build and maintain things like schools and roads, our government actually borrows money from the banks, and the public pays the interest on these loans. As we've learned through scandal after scandal, this process is riddled with fraud, rigged from the start to steal money that should be going to social necessities. Financial capitalism is mafia capitalism. …

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