I was at Trump Tower on November 9th, 2016. On the train down to the city, I wrote the following in my notebook:
“Trump’s always been president… It can’t just be #FuckTrump. We have to do better. We can’t just react, we have to imagine. They want us to react. Our reaction must be strategic.
Figure out how to structure a student loan/tuition boycott that will pose a significant threat to the banking system. Trump is a symptom, the system is the problem.”
I’ve spent the last two years researching how to make this concept a reality. My research has been self-directed, and perhaps I’m wrong about quite a few things. Nonetheless, from what I have learned, I am convinced that this strategy can be successful. I’ve tried to learn from primary sources when I can, and I’m always trying to connect current events to the past both ancient and recent. I was particularly focused on revolutionary student movements; no matter where you look in history, even thousands of years ago, students are always involved in revolutions. Even and especially if you are skeptical about the boycott, I encourage everyone to read my Sources and Inspirations, and draw your own conclusions.
I would be remiss to not thank David Graeber, and Richard Wolff. Professor Graeber is an anthropologist and activist who wrote a fascinating book called Debt: The First 5000 Years, examining concepts of debt across many different cultures throughout history. This book was a branching-off point for many different lines of inquiry throughout this project.
Professor Wolff is a Marxist economist and an educator whose videos got me interested in economics even before Trump broke through the fourth wall. In 2017 I asked Professor Wolff at LeftForum what he thought about the idea of a student debt boycott, and he remarked that it would “Scare the hell out of the ruling class”. That was all the justification I ever needed to hear.
Summer 2018 I approached him again at LeftForum and presented him with a copy of The Student’s Debt to Society, and he invited me to be interviewed on his show Economic Update to talk about my ideas, which for me was a tremendous honor and joy. Professor Wolff’s book Democracy at Work: A Cure of Capitalism is one of the most well-articulated visions for a pragmatic alternative to the current state of capitalism that I am aware of.