College Guide


October 15, 2010 3:56 PM The Student Debt Rally

By Daniel Luzer


Forgive Student Loan Debt, the organization created by Robert Applebaum dedicated to the radical idea that the best way to stimulate the economy is to forgive all students loans, will host an event on the national mall as part of John Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity on October 30. According to Applebaum:

I’m now encouraging all supporters of this movement who plan on attending to use this enormous opportunity to be heard and be seen.
Although we’ve enjoyed a great deal of press attention during the past 20 months, our ability to branch out into bigger and better things has been hampered by our inability to raise the necessary funds to do much beyond letter writing campaigns and media blitzes. The “Rally to Restore Sanity,” however, presents us with a unique opportunity to join forces with like-minded individuals from all walks of life and make our voices heard on a topic that affects the lives of millions of educated, hard-working, tax-paying Americans.

As Applebaum explained, he always wanted to have a Washington meet-up for his group, but he could never find the funding to set up a meeting. So he’s decided to use Stewart’s.

Good luck with this. While Applebaum’s proposal is unusual—not to mention curiously similar to the public policy solution offered by the character Tyler Durden in the movie Fight Club—he is actually serious. It is therefore perhaps somewhat inappropriate to stage his real rally at the same time as John Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s entirely ironic rally the day before Halloween, but whatever. It’ll surely be interesting to see the Forgive Student Loan Debt people in action. Applebaum urges supporters to print out their own signs and T-shirts using his organization’s logo (above).

The debtors will meet on the south side of the Freer Gallery at 10:30 in the morning. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer


  • Robert Applebaum on October 16, 2010 10:58 AM:

    Appreciate the shout-out, although I could have done without some of the snark. Perhaps this will help you understand our true intentions:

  • Keith McFarland on October 21, 2010 12:26 PM:

    While I'm glad you have chosen to at least report on the rally of Student Loan Forgiveness during Jon Stewart's "March to Restore Sanity," you obviously fail to properly address number of things:

    1. Stewart's rally isn't so easily dismissed as tongue-in-cheek. While organized by comedians, the Rally to Restore Sanity is a genuine call for extremists to stop acting like infants and treating the public to bread and circuses instead of addressing the real issues befalling our nation in a serious way. Sometimes the only way to get people to take something seriously is to make fun of overly serious pundits.

    2. The Student Loan Forgiveness movement is a serious, non-Durdenesque attempt to change attitudes--attitudes such as the cavalier one you express by dismissing the movement out of hand without the slightest investigation of why this movement exists--it's not deadbeats not wanting to pay back loans, it's real people mostly pressured into or deceived into a life of wage serfdom because of unfair, predatory, and inscrutable lending practices that have emerged over the past 15 years from Sallie Mae and private banks, and the ever increasing practice of for-profit colleges doing the same thing to higher education that mortgage companies did to the notion of the American Dream of home ownership.

    3. Not everyone in the movement is a debtor. Many are people who simply understand that making education a profit center, for banks, the government, or for-profit institutions does nothing but harm the American Economy and the American Intellect by keeping many in a position where they cannot discharge their debt through bankruptcy or through earnings that rarely cover the costs of the education given. Labeling everyone in the movement with the title of "Debtor" is a cavalier way of dissing a group of people with genuine concerns and solutions who are likely better educated than you, or at least more attentive to the failings of your intellect to wrap around this issue.

    4. You're the web editor. One assumes you have an education in Journalism. Did you bother to get in touch with Robert Applebaum or any member of the movement, or to do any research whatsoever for this article? Robert's not that difficult a man to get in touch with. If you did, you would have learned that this is a serious issue deserving of serious consideration, not the topic of amusement you obviously consider it. If you don't take his words seriously, take my words seriously--this movement isn't fly-by-night and it's not an illegitimate attempt to weasel out of debt. It's a real movement of real people overburdened by a system that hampers education and opportunity in this country at it's source. It's a movement that isn't going away. Forgiving Student Loan Debt and reforming the system whereby education is obtained and paid for is a serious issue, as serious as school reform is in our nation's public schools. And you should know better than to treat this issue with amusement.

  • Keith McFarland on October 21, 2010 10:31 PM:

    One more thing--I took a look at the associated education stories linked to the right of this article under the "From The Washington Monthly" section, especially this one about schools taking kids student loan money, then setting up as many impediments as possible to completing a degree:
    I have to ask--do you even read the articles you post about this topic on YOUR OWN WEBSITE? The atrocious deceptive and predatory practices outlined in the article above as well as others listed to the right of this article ARE EXACTLY THE SORT OF THING THE FSLD IS WORKING TO CORRECT. If I seem upset, it's because I see such a huge contrast between the quality of that article and this one. Please take this as a request to do more than a cursory job when addressing such an important topic.

  • Judy on October 24, 2010 3:15 PM:

    The Albuquerque Journal in New Mexico has published an article regarding all these "colleges" popping up all over our state. We rank in the bottom 10 for per capita income (my research), and there are more "colleges" being built here than in any other state in the country. Sound like a predatory market to you?

    Finally, our state legislature leaders, and activists are pressing on this bloated boil and are closing in to getting it lanced.

    It is because of visionaries such as Robert Applebaum, Jon Stewart, Keith McFarland, Ralph Nader, Jessie Ventura, Dr. Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez and Bobby Kennedy that things got changed. Back in the 60's it was activists as Dr. King, Chavez, Nader and Kennedy that paved the way for revolution in this's been almost 50 years - time to dust ourselves off for one last march.

    It's high time we get bailed out and put these bums on Wall Street AND their cronies on Capital Hill out on the street!

    Wow, I am so back in the 60's right now and I AM LOVIN' IT! It was not a myth - it was REAL!