12.08.2011 § Leave a comment
So just a few days ago they decided to raise tuition to all CUNY schools again by 300$ per year, starting this semester, going into effect NOW. Tuition’s been incrimentally raising for a while now. See article here: “Cuny Raises Fall Tuition after Fall Tuition Already Due”
But anyway, a really wild thing is that part of the whole “we’ll-raise-the-debt-ceiling-if-you-cut-more-social-programs” deal was cutting the no-interest period on government loans to grad students. So, usually if you get a government loan in grad school you don’t accrue interest while you’re going to school (cuz ostensibly you can’t work much). But no longerrr. Seems the only reasonable explanatory hypothesis for these things is that student debt is a new and exciting source of accumulation for capitalists. Subprime is over, manufacturing can’t catch up… let’s get the young ones.
Yes it keeps students scared and busy and overworked, too.
Anyway Silvia Federici has a nice take on the whole university issue, locating it within a broader politics of the ‘KRiSiS OV RePRoDUcTiOn” :
…the shift from production to reproduction in the analysis of class relations has been the product of a transformation that, in different ways, has traversed the theoretical field since the 1970s, visible both in post-structuralist as well as neo-liberal critique, from Foucault to Becker. The main impulse towards it has come from the feminist rethinking of work and redefinition of reproductive labor as the “hidden part of the iceberg” (in Maria Mies’ words) on which capitalist accumulation is based. This shift has had a powerful illuminating effect enabling us to think together a heterogeneous set of activities—such as housework, subsistence agriculture, sex work and care work, education both formal and informal—and recognize them as moments of the social (re)production of the work-force.
From this perspective, we can read the changes that have taken place in the universities politically. We can read the introduction of fees and the commodification of education as part of a broad process of disinvestment in the reproduction of labor-power. It is an attempt to discipline the future labor force, a process that began in the late 70s with the abolition of open admission, clearly a response to the 1960s campus revolts and the insubordination of which youth were the protagonists.
Making reproduction the window from which to analyze the capital-work relation should not be seen however as a totalizing operation. Reproduction (of individuals, of labor-power) should not be conceived in isolation from the rest of the capitalist “factory”.
And George Caffentzis has written about the potentiality and necessity of an anti-debt struggles:
As of September 2010 total student loan debt amounted to $850 billion, having just surpassed credit card debt by about $20 billion for the first time. And it is rising at a catastrophic rate, e.g., by 25% in 2009 to meet the rising cost of tuition and other college fees. Even the Great Recession has not put an end to this financial explosion. On the contrary, while credit card debt has leveled off, student borrowing has continued to grow to cover the rising costs of living as well as the tuition fees, especially by unemployed workers who are “going back to school” to get a “better,” or at least some, job in the future.
Lacking here is an analysis of how wimmens hold the majority of really deathly debt, in the US and globally. Cuz they do. Like a lot. More to come.