Students Made to Pay Down U.S. Debt

This original article by Toilers’ Struggle’s author is being republished as part of the reorganization process. 

As the bosses’ politicians prepare rounds of sweeping austerity, it is education and our future that is under attack.

The events surrounding the debt-ceiling crisis recently came center stage and provoked an intense outpouring of political debate and discussion across the entire country – indeed, the world. US politicians, however, have virtually ignored or severely downplayed the impact their agreed austerity measures will have on the lives of millions of people – especially, the youth.

Youth are an especially oppressed group in our society, often left out of consideration when it comes to deciding on important political and economic matters – like how the change of policies resulting from the  raising of the federal debt ceiling would affect them. And it should come as no shock that the capitalist class has decided to slash education funding and other needed social programs so as to bolster their crises-ridden system.

The new education cuts certainly do sting: New York’s schools alone, for example, are facing $1.5 billion in cuts; states like Pennsylvania are also cutting public-school funding and financial assistance to the tune of billions.

Thousands of working-class youth now face the prospect of having to drop-out if tuition rates rise any higher.

But it doesn’t stop there – it’s not just school funding that’s being attacked but also educational programs.

For example, Striving Readers, a program that works to help increase literacy rates, is losing $250 million, and $213 million will be cut from the Fund for the Improvement of Education. And the bosses aren’t finished there either – these are just a small portion of the austerity measures being forced onto us. Billions more are planned for the chopping block from both state and federal education funds.

Thousands of young people, teachers, and members of their communities have rallied and demonstrated courageously across the country in protest of these disgusting attacks on the youth – attacks they did nothing to deserve in the first place.

Yet the politicians from both the Democratic and Republican parties have paid heed to their paymasters and have worked in tandem in approving cuts to benefit the rich and powerful. The latter are striving to increase their private wealth at the cost of our future – destabilizing and dismantling our public-education system (one of our most important victories gained in over a century of class struggle against the bosses), one depended on by millions of working-class youth today, for the purposes of investment and private profit.

It is an absolute travesty that a country with so much wealth can provide trillions to failing banks, overseas military occupations, and tax cuts for the richest but cannot provide free education to those who want it.

Against these attacks on our education and future, the youth must unite and struggle alongside teachers to preserve the historic gains in education we’ve made and fight to better them across the board. The capitalists may very well be trying to sell-short our futures, but that doesn’t mean we have to take their abuse lying down. Not paying the costs of capitalism’s failures means building a campaign of direct action against austerity and a revolutionary youth organization to bring together students and young workers in struggle around defense of public services (like education), of jobs and standards of living, and against this decaying system, fighting to replace it entirely with one that will meet our needs for a change: socialism.




August 27, 2011


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