Goodbye no-interest government student loans…

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”.

– Political Work with Women and as Women in the Present Conditions

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.

The Student Loan Debt Abolition Movement in the U.S.

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.


the nothing


According to WSJ, Food Stamps are the source of fraud AND diabetes

01.07.2011 § Leave a comment

So I now follow Newt Gingrich on Twitter, leading me to read some pretty hilarious/disturbing things, like this piece from the Wall Street Journal, representative of the current right-wing backlash against progress being make to Food Stamp eligibility:

According to WSJ, the Obama administration’s repeal of the required “asset test” on Food Stamps applications is responsible for a wave of “bureaucratic crime” and various other “absurdities” resulting from overly-lax regulations. The initiative, part of an ongoing (PR) campaign to de-stigmatize the program and increase eligibility for those in need, aims to reduce the amount of paperwork associated with new applications thereby making it easier to receive benefits. In the article, WSJ columnist James Bovaird argues that now millionaires all around the country are eligible for Food Stamps, and that “some food-stamp recipients were selling their cards on Craigslist or brazenly cashing them out on street corners (for 50 cents on the dollar) and using the proceeds for illegal drugs and prostitution.”

Of course, as the Obama administration is “far more enthusiastic about boosting food-stamp enrollment than about preventing fraud,” they are making it even worse by “cracking down on state governments’ antifraud measures.” Bovaird is referring here to the fact that the Obama admin has requested that CA, TX and NY stop mandatory finger-printing of Food Stamps recipients (because Food Stamps recipients shouldn’t be treated as anything but criminals).

My favorite part of the article is definitely where Bovaird argues that providing Food Stamps is causing diabetes by encouraging people to eat more:

“Perhaps the biggest fraud of all is the notion, which the USDA has been touting lately, that the food-stamp program is a nutrition program. (The program’s name was formally changed in the 2008 farm bill to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—SNAP—to make it sound more wholesome and attractive.) What is really does is boost caloric intake, which is why numerous studies (including a 2009 Ohio State University report) link food stamps to the worsening obesity epidemic among low-income Americans.”

And last but not least, Bovaird throws a wild-card into the mix when he acknowledges that the rise in the number of folks on food assistance began long before Obama. The absurdity here of course is in Bovaird’s analysis of the phenomenon not as the result of Bush’s fucked-up financial policies (causing financial ruin for thousands and the increased need for social assistance, etc), but rather because G. Bush was secretly a left-wing traitor crusading for the poor:

But the Obama administration doesn’t deserve all the blame. Food-stamp enrollment surged before Mr. Obama took office. The number of food-stamp recipients on George W. Bush’s watch rose by more than 50%, even before the recession hit in 2007. As Slate reporter Annie Lowrey wrote for the online magazine last December, President Bush and his food-stamp chief Eric Bost “went on a quiet crusade to expand eligibility, increase enrollment, and reduce stigma around nutrition aid.” (emphasis added)

Um, right.

Eat the rich.

Full article here:

Bahrain medics on trial for treating protesters

13.06.2011 § Leave a comment

Video HERE.

Bahrain has begun the trials of 48 medical professionals accused of attempting to topple the monarchy.

Those on trial include some of the country’s top surgeons, accused of supporting weeks of pro-democracy protests in the country.

It is the latest trial at a special security tribunal set up by Bahrain’s rulers amid a far-reaching crackdown in the kingdom, which is home to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet.

Human rights organisations have condemned the trials, saying the staff are being hounded for treating hundreds of wounded protesters.

SPAIN “… we have no use for democracy. The Future is your enemy.” – Garcia Calvo

26.05.2011 § Leave a comment

Translation by comrade Maxine Holz of true words from 85 – year – old Agustin Garcia Calvo, speaking to the crowds at Puerta del Sol:

you are joy, the joy of the unexpected and the unpredictable. Neither the governments, nor the authorities, nor the parties expected this. Even you yourselves, a few weeks or months ago, did not foresee this …

don’t count on the State …no matter what: not any form of state organization.

… we have no use for “democracy.” I’m sorry, I see this doesn’t get as much immediate applause, but I have to insist. I understand that choosing slogans such as ‘Real Democracy Now” could be a less confrontational tactic, because it seems that that to be upfront and say “ No to any State, democratic or otherwise” could sound bad, but I think its time to let go of the deceit of democracy. Democracy is a trick… Kratos means power and Demo is supposedly the people… and the people can never have power: power is against the people. ..the contradiction is inherent in the very word, democracy… The democratic regime is simply the most advanced, the most perfect, the one that has produced the best results, that has produced this Regime of Well-Being that they say we live in; but really it is still Power, the same as always … a better democracy is an illusion…It’s not the way, and if your uprising gets organized in a way that resembles the administration of the
State, it will already be lost, it will be doing nothing more than repeating history with other colors …. I urge you to renounce ideas of a better state…

[regarding demands for a better future]

“I would [also] erase from the list of demands put forth by your leaders [demands for a better future]. The Future is your enemy. The future is what is used to deceive people, especially, the youth. They say “ you have a future” or “you have to create your future”, which really means to resign yourself to death, to a future death. This future is what Capital needs…..The future is theirs, it’s their weapon. Don’t let it seem like it’s something blessed or beneficial: their future should sound to us like death….the future is the future of Business, of Finance, of Capital. You don’t have a future! You need to have the courage to denounce this.

the army is cracking apart in Yemen, political defects galore

21.03.2011 § 1 Comment

60 per cent of the Yemeni army is allied with the protesters, politicians are joining. How much does this represent  a grab for power by a different political alliance? JURY’S OUT.

The Nothing says: Check out this LINK. excerpts below.

Several top Yemeni army commanders have declared their support for anti-government protesters seeking the resignation of the country’s president, Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Major General Ali Mohsen Saleh, the head of the north western military zone and the head of the first armoured division, said on Monday that he had deployed army units to protect the protesters…

several other commanders, among them Brigadier Hameed Al Koshebi, head of brigade 310 in Omran area, Brigadier Mohammed Ali Mohsen, head of the eastern division, Brigadier Nasser Eljahori, head of brigade 121, and General Ali Abdullaha Aliewa, adviser of the Yemeni supreme leader of the army, rallied behind Major General Saleh and defected…

Several ministers resigned from the government after Friday’s violence. Abdullah Alsaidi, Yemen’s ambassador to the United Nations, also quit in protest over the killings.

Huda al-Baan, Yemen’s human rights minister, said she had resigned from the government and the ruling party in protest over the sniper attack on demonstrators…

Earlier on Monday, the Yemeni ambassadors to Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt and China resigned from their posts. Some of the also resigned from Saleh’s ruling party.

Jobless recovery for women, not men… USA to the Middle East

16.03.2011 § Leave a comment

So recent data coming out showing that burden of unemployment are heavily borne by women. In the article about the “Arab world”, the trend is explained as follows: “Experts attribute this to social barriers and lower education levels.” In the US, it seems the cause is the male breadwinner stereotype. Hm.

In the US, out of every 5 people who lost their government jobs this year in the US, 4 were women!!! Yow! that makes 202,000 in total. And of all (nonfarm) jobs added to the US economy between Jan 2010 and Jan 2011, more than 95 percent went to men!! DIZAMN! “Even in the service sector, where women are overrepresented, only 99,000 new jobs went to women in the past year, while nearly 800,000, or eight of every nine, went to men. Women have lost 59,000 retail jobs since last year, while men grabbed 147,000”

Interesting is thiat in this article, the only speculation as to WHY this is the case is the following:
“These companies would rather lay off a woman whose husband is working than a man who’s a sole provider,” Serdjuk said. “I always felt like I was perceived as having a working husband, and throughout my working career, I’ve heard that remark.”
The Nothing just read Assembling Women by Teri Caraway, who analyzes economically how women are pushed in and out of work much more easily than men, and specifically shows how this kind of thing is how women are pushed out of higher-paying, more secure jobs. If women are able to enter a well paying, secure industry, when things get rough all the women are just fired, and men stay.
In her explanation of why, we see Caraway getting hte most foucaultian-discourse-y, because she argues that it is the sexist belief structure around jobs and employment held by employers that really makes the difference. While some of us nothings prefer not to explain things with discourse, clearly there is something to be understood here…
And for article about Arab Women and unemployment, which gives unemployment stats for women vs. men in a series of countries, click here.

Can a General Strike have a gender analysis? Can a General Strike help destroy white society? Plus: Austerity Stats!

09.03.2011 § 1 Comment

So there’v been sum posters done to push for general strike


Drooker for IWW


pretty one, anon?

But like, it also just so happens that the people who the cuts are targeting are women in general, black women in particular, and POC in general.  Should the form of the General Strike be adequate to this reality? Could it be?

Some people have been doing some sweet stats on this stuff. 23.3 percent of black women work in the public sector, the highest percentage of any group in the US, and so will be hit disproportionately. If we only look at states that are seriously in crisis, then the percentages go way up —

It’s hard to escape the fact that, in the states and localities with the biggest budget crunches (New Jersey, California, New York…) public employees are uniquely black.

Who are all these evil public workers? Black people.

appears that public sector job and benefit cuts will be centrally to women-dominated fields, while the fields most male-dominated are being generally left untouched:

If we focus on public sector employees at the local level, it becomes clear that women and their families will receive the brunt of the effects of these anti-union bills floating around state capitols in the Midwest. The most common occupation for local public sector women workers is elementary and middle school teachers (22 percent).  The most common occupation for local public sector male workers? Police and sheriff’s patrol officers, a group whose union representatives would be excluded from proposed legislation.

Whats at Stake for Women Workers in Wisconsin

see also:

Attack on Public Employees Deals a Sharp Blow to Blacks

thorough statistical report on Women and Men’s employment in the public sector: Women and Men in the Public Sector

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