Life or Debt

What’s next for the fight to abolish debt?

By Eleni Schirmer

Art By Vanilla Chi

In August, when President Joe Biden finally announced a plan to cancel some student debt, we at the Debt Collective, the nation’s first union of debtors, had mixed reactions. After years of hemming and hawing, this was the best he could do? Ten to twenty thousand dollars of cancellation and a wonky process to get it? For many, the relief would barely scratch their loan balances or change their monthly payments. For days after the announcement, the Department of Education’s website kept crashing. It took two months for the application for cancellation to be made public. In the meantime, several right-wing groups have filed lawsuits, which could block the program altogether. Still — assuming the policy survives the legal fight — some 20 million people are supposed to have their student debts completely disappeared. Organized debtors opened a major crack in the logic of debt’s rule. 

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