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Unions, Progressives Rally for Spending

4:34 PM, Oct 6, 2011 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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“My actual degree is in urban planning and international development from MIT,” says Master, showing me the papier-mâché ball and chain attached to his belt. “I’m fighting to free the next generation of students from debt slavery.”

He says young people, like those in the Occupy Wall Street movement, have taken out massive student loans only to find they have no means to pay them back once they enter the workforce. “The problem is that we’re having an entire generation of people who cannot choose to do work for social good,” says Master. “They can’t be pro bono lawyers, they can’t go teach in inner city schools to teach English, because they won’t be able to afford it. They’re going to have to be paying back their debt instead of actually investing their passion and their labor in renewing America as every generation of youth does." 

But Master is a little more practical than his fellow protesters on Wall Street, which explains why he’s here at the Rebuild the Dream rally. He says there are policy solutions to these problems. “We need to eliminate a lot of the corporate loan agencies that are gouging students,” he says.

Still, Master says that beyond the policy goals, the meaning of this movement is, well, more meaningful. “I think what the kids on the street are asking for is for us to reevaluate not just our policies but our entire value system from the ground up,” he says. “They’re looking for a cultural change, more than just a policy or a political change.”

It’s a lofty goal more at home with the Occupy kids. For now, Rebuild the Dream just wants jobs and not cuts. “Pass the jobs bill!” the crowd shouts again.

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