In the UK, we have undergone a process of Americanisation, called by any other name possible, so as to hide the takeover of what was once a unique culture. The UK has been sold to American corporations by a succession of quisling politicians. Whether in the area of health care, social security, or student debt, word after word, paragraph after paragraph, has been sold to the UK public as unique formulations of the Westminster ruling elite, when, in fact, they are merely copyists. In the world of acadaemia they would be ridiculed for plagarism.
One area of their copied policies might win an award for being particularly disgusting, that of the crippling indebtedness of students whose parents are not of the Eton class. For years, Americans who are sick of the effects of the ruling elite’s policies have been campaigning against them in their own country; they are screaming at us, for Christ’s sake do not go down our sink hole of despair, but their voices are not broadcast by the elite-worshipping UK media outlets.
One such voice is that of Cryn Johannsen, founder of All Education Matters: ‘A non-profit organization dedicated to the eradication of all student loan debt through activism, education, and legislation; because student loan debt is dangerous to the US economy and to the health and well-being of individual Americans and their families’ (alleducationmatters.blogspot.co.uk/2011).
Is not UK student loan debt not equally injurous to the health and well-being of individual young people and their families?
Cryn wrote: ‘In July of 2008, Barbara Ehrenreich wrote a piece entitled, Suicide Spreads as One Solution to the Debt Crisis. “Suicide,” Ehrenreich explains, “is becoming an increasingly popular response to debt.” … A few weeks ago, and on the same day, I learned about two individuals who committed suicide. One told a connection of mine that her niece recently took her life after she had received a bank statement that detailed the amount of student loan debt she owed. It is one thing to express suicidal ideations – many of us have done that – but I am now wondering how many student loan debtors have gone through with it’.
The banking elite and their debt collection lynchmen do not just target students, of course, for that would be like a vulture feeding on the flesh of a young animal and leaving alone its mother or father lying next to it. That is not enough for this particular class of sub-human detritus. Cryn continues: ‘Interestingly, more of you would probably be dead if you didn’t have co-signers. It’s almost as if the student lenders devised this entangled, financial relationship with a family member or friend to use it as ransom. Now that’s sick. I can’t begin to tell you how many times someone has said, “If it weren’t for my [insert family member’s name here], I would have been dead long ago. But I can’t leave them with the responsibility of paying my debt.”
I know that things are worsening, that many of you are homeless, working as escorts, etc. But your life has a tremendous amount of meaning, and we need you here – with us – to fight back. … I have tremendous sympathy for people who are struggling in this way, or who have taken their lives and left loved ones behind’. Of an email he received: ‘The next message I read was even worse. This one came from a person whom I’ve developed a strong working relationship with. In it, she told me that a family member of hers, who is drowning in debt and working in a retailer’s warehouse, informed his mother (who co-signed on his loans) that if his lender goes after her, he will end his life. As it turns out, his mother is being harassed by their lender. The lender is making threats to take the mother’s house away, and she is naturally frantic’.
So what, cry the look-at-me-I’m-tougher-than-that brigade, those fully ensnared by the elite’s covert propaganda of only the fit deserve to survive. A new and abysmal low in a UK newspaper’s attempt to pander to the prejudice of a conscience-impaired underclass was reached in 2012, when the PCC ruled against a Sun column that called for people who commit suicide near the trains “selfish” and recommended officials “pick up the big bits of what’s left of the victim, get the train moving as quickly as possible.” It is like inflaming the prejudices of the Coliseum crowd baying for the lion to maul a defensless Christian. To the owners of the Sun, and to such reporters, and such reporters and broadcasters generally, and to those who feed from this swill of prejudice, I extend to you the Spartan curse: MAY YOU LIVE FOREVER.
This said, what practical measures could be implemented in the UK to loosen the garotte from the neck of students and their families? It is a strange irony that America, the birthplace of UK policy, also supplies some solutions. The question then arises, why does the American political establishment see the shortcomings of its policies, and tries to mitigate their effect, and the Uk political establishment does not. An analogy would be that of two classes of Southern plantation slave-owners; the first one treating the slave relatively well, realising that too many lashes of the whip might be counter-productive, for what is the point of killing an asset; the other class of slave owner (the UK variety) just keeps on lashing. Compare the severe penalties meted out in the American system to those individuals and companies who abuse nursing home residents – imprisonment, fines of tens of millions – with the pussy-foot punishments of the UK. The UK political elite protect the interests of corporations, first, second, third, and last. Their regulatory systems are as substantial as fog.
What, then, can be done to regulate the excesses of a debt-driven capitalist system in the area of student debt? An article in texastribune.org/2012 outlines a plan to make a degree cost no more than $10,000: ‘The Texas State University System is the state’s third major university system to announce the development of a bachelor’s degree that only costs $10,000 — a response to Gov. Rick Perry’s 2011 call for more affordable higher education offerings … Sul Ross State University Rio Grande College, an upper-division college in the Texas State University System, has partnered with Southwest Texas Junior College to create a new “10K Scholars Program.” Its degree model, which will become available in fall 2013, appears to be something of a hybrid of the previous two models introduced in the state … In order to keep costs down, students must earn an associate’s degree while still in high school and then take advantage of the lower costs at one of the Alamo community colleges before proceeding to A&M-San Antonio’.
Thus, using this example in the UK, a student would start accreditisation of their degree in the sixth form, continue it at a local college, then proceed to a final year at university. In effect, universities become only a part of the degree conferring process, making the degree affordable to children of the non-elite.
According to SWTJC President Dr. Ismael Sosa, Jr., the new partnership offers area residents a clear pathway to a four-year bachelor’s degree: “Students who take advantage of high school dual credit courses can complete their associate degree with us in a year after graduating from high school and then be ready to take their upper-level courses at Rio Grande College’.
To qualify for the program, students must graduate from high school with a GPA of 2.5 or higher and complete 30 dual credit hours, which apply to the core curriculum. Under the agreement, students would complete their core curriculum and earn an associate degree after successfully completing 30 hours of required coursework at SWTJC. Students would then complete 60 hours of required upper-level courses at SRSU-RGC to earn a bachelor’s degree. An American exponent of this system states: ‘In Texas, the $10,000 degree plan aims to deliver a full college experience without the fear of crushing financial burdens after graduation’.
Why not extend this system to the UK? What do teachers, college and university lecturers think? Depressingly simple to answer. Those who have something to loose will be against it. Those who have their snouts in the trough rarely take them out on a matter of conscience, they have to be dragged screaming. I will leave it to any reader to predict who will oppose such a scheme, and by what weasel-words they will couch their disagreement – as Wordsworth pointed out, people do what they must, then call it by another name. To this class of survivalists I say: MAY YOU LIVE FOREVER.
Although I do not agree with any charge for a degree, or for a nursing home place – money and defecits are only concepts created to control – it is not likely that the ‘LORDS OF DEBT’ are going to be overthrown any time soon, but surely, in the meantime, people can unite in an activist coalition to force our masters not to flog our debt-ridden children to death.
If you give up in some fatalist way, and deliver the next generation to the vultures of UK-brand capitalism – MAY YOU ALSO LIVE FOREVER.
lenin nightingale 2015