The Politics of Debt Resistance & Getting the Left out of Debt

Like others who committed themselves to the fledgling debtors’ movement, I have experienced the major occupational hazard of single-issue activists—we tend to see our issue everywhere. Oftentimes, it’s the only thing we see, and our more ecumenical allies have to find ways to remind us, either gently or more rudely, that issues and struggles are always connected. That said, debt really is everywhere right now.

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Getting the Left out of Debt

The problem with attempting to build a politics of debt resistance is that our crisis of personal indebtedness isn’t really about debt. It’s about neoliberalism, the inequality it reproduces, and the borrowing it necessitates. This isn’t to say that debt itself is irrelevant. A generation of college students and subprime mortgage holders can testify otherwise. It is, however, intended to suggest that mitigating the anxiety and material hardship that debt is inflicting on increasing numbers of us will require focusing less on the fact that we owe loads of money and more on why we owe it.

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