We're all familiar with the start of the Protestant Reformation when on October 31, 1517 Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church doors in Wittenberg, Germany. This act of protest launched a revolution not only within western Christianity but civilization itself. Because of Luther the Reformation gave birth to capitalism, the nation state and paved the way for modern democracy and bold scientific inquiry. Revolutions, reformations and institutional implosions happen because something is broken.
Let's face it: The Business called, "The United States of America" is Broken
In 2008 the world witnessed (and the majority of us are still suffering from) a financial collapse that, sadly, children born today will be paying off well into their working lives. The financial industry broke because of the irresponsible high-risk mortgage backed securities that Wall-Street and banks created. This all sounds more like a dark Sci-Fi story in which a future machine gets so complex that we forgot where the on/off switch is.
But the wave of gluttonous disregard for the common good doesn't go away with the 2008 collapse. The bailouts of Wall Street by hardworking people only managed to plug the dike with a finger that can be used to blackmail citizens who want change. Again, this is exactly what happened to the Greeks who voted against neoliberalism: they were blackmailed into accepting slavery. Further, the problem isn't fixed by passing the buck off on the working and middle-class to keep the 1%, well, the 1%. No, the problem is the lack of participation in the political process that oversees and regulates social institutions designed to serve the people. With participation and oversight, collapse is inevitable.
Revolutions don't happened until people no longer have a viable alternative to their present suffering. Just look at what's happening in Greece right now.
In the United States the middle and working classes have been under attack from neoliberal policies from both sides of the spectrum: Employment (i.e., making a living) and bailout taxes (depleating our resources unjustly). Don't get me wrong: I'm all for taxes, but not taxes that mop up the mess that the rich created.
On the Employment side, according to the Center for American Progress big corporations have systematically taken our ability to earn an honest living by shifting nearly 3 million jobs oversees. According to the records of the US Department of Commerce, "U.S. multinational corporations, the big brand-name companies that employ a fifth of all American workers... cut their work forces in the U.S. by 2.9 million during the 2000s while increasing employment overseas by 2.4 million."
At the same time, the US Government used 700 billion dollars of our money to bail out the banks including Fannie, Freddie, other banks and the automobile industry. Many of these loans remain secret. But where did our money go and how was it used?
And yet, the net result of this bailout is far more ominous because of the millions of homes that went straight back to where? Yes, that's right, the banks. When looked at from a bird's eye point of view it all boils down to bamboozment, a grand theft so big that you don't even ask questions.
When squeezed from both sides, between making a living and massive theft via tax bailouts sooner or later the pot is going to call the kettle black. And that's the basic reason why we're seeing a popular uprising backing presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders that leaves Hillary Clinton and the Republican candidates with a guilty look on their faces. The game is over and people are finally waking up to the fact that 4 out of 5 Americans are facing poverty.
Higher Education is no exception here, this industry is just a guilty as Wall Street and the politicians who bailed them out; indeed according to Elizabeth Warren the US Government is profiting off of our young people in college to the tune of 66 Billion. The analogy is too good to pass up: Like Wall Street who were (and still are) functioning off of irrational risks, the industry of Higher Education has designed a toxic prison house of pervasive endless debt enslavement.
In fact, a former student of mine, Joseph N. Skydel started doing some research on student loan debt and what he found was astonishing. According to his research, the more the US Government gives to for-profit schools the higher the default rate for student loans becomes. Skydel says, "Higher education, healthcare, and real estate are industries that have undergone extreme market volatility and economic fallout largely due to interference from government-sponsored enterprises (e.g., Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Sallie Mae)."
Don't be surprised if we have to bailout all the bloated overpaid administrators in universities and colleges who are making millions off an industry committed to strengthen our social bonds.
Faculty and Students need to reclaim the university.
It should be noted, I'm not against the government especially one that is ruled by the people, of the people and for the people, but what Skydel's analysis shows is that the government is inextricably bound up in business profit making that feeds on the very people that make the economy actually work namely the working and middle classes. To add insult to injury, the traditional means of moving out of poverty into better paying jobs via education and training actually turns out to be yet another scam that only further entrenches disempowerment, unemployment, and poverty.
As it turns out, the business-cum-government monopoly looks little different than bad forms of communism because it is them (not the people) who plan out (and fix) the economy from the centrality of their own interests. And there is a name for this--it's called, Neoliberalism.
It's time for us to clean house and take back what is rightfully ours: our government, our country, and our lives. Bernie Sanders is just the beginning.