27 February 2009

From our 2009 RF Conference keynoter Staughton Lynd


Greetings. Alice and I have written a joint autobiography entitled Stepping Stones: Memoir of a Life Together . We need your help in getting the book into the hands of the young people for whom it is most intended.

The book begins with a lovely Foreword by our longtime colleague, Tom Hayden. Then come chapters, some written by us both, some by one of us, some by the other. The chapters are grouped in the following sections: Beginnings (our families, Staughton as a "premature New Leftist" and Alice on "Music and Dance and Discovering Childhood," how we met and fell in love); Community (our three years in the Macedonia Cooperative Community in the hills of Georgia); The Sixties (among other matters, Mississippi Freedom Summer, a trip to Hanoi, Alice's work in draft counseling and how it planted in our minds the idea of the "two experts" -- the professionally trained person and the counselee, client or fellow struggler -- who work together); Accompaniment (how we found our way beyond the Sixties by doing oral history and then law together, with chapters on Nicaragua and Palestine); The Worst of the Worst (representing and learning from prisoners); Afterwords (a poem, retrospectives, Alice's wishes for our daughter Martha's marriage).

We had some difficulty finding a publisher. At length we signed a contract with Lexington Books. Lexington has produced an attractive hardback edition. On the front cover there is a photograph of the two of us on the day we married (looking very young) and on the back cover a picture taken at our 50th wedding anniversary.

The problem is that this hardback edition is intended for academic libraries and costs $70. Perhaps in part because of the current recession, we have been told that a paperback edition will be forthcoming only if orders from libraries are substantial .

This is where you can help. It could make all the difference in getting this book into the hands of those who will carry on from all of us if you could:

* Ask whatever libraries you are connected with -- law libraries, college or university libraries, public libraries -- to acquire Stepping Stones. The address of Lexington Books is:
Lexington Books
4501 Forbes Boulevard
Suite 200
Lanham MD 20706, www.lexingtonbooks.com .
There is a customer service number if desired: 800-462-6420. We can provide ISBN numbers should they be needed.

* If you are told that the library would purchase a paperback edition but cannot afford an expensive hardback copy at this time, we hope you will write to Lexington Books and tell them that.

Let's look at the bright side. If your library orders a copy, you can read the durned book for free. And if enough libraries order copies it will hopefully trigger paperback production, and together we can pass on to our successors what one Zapatista has called the hope of creating "another everything."

With thanks, love, and comradeship,

Staughton Lynd for S&A

25 February 2009

Rouge Forum Update--2-23-09--from Rich

Dear Friends,

Great news! Staughton Lynd (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Staughton_Lynd) has agreed to be a keynote speaker at the Rouge Forum Conference in Ypsilanti, Michigan, May 15 to 17: http://www.rougeforum.org/

Next week, more good news on the keynote topic.

Kathy Emery, expert on the Freedom Schools and, with Susan Ohanian, author of Why Is Corporate America Bashing Our Public Schools?, will be presenting in Los Angeles at the UTLA Human Rights Conference, 3303 Wilshire Blvd, March 27 and 28. http://www.utla.net/node/865

You can find a review at Book Tv on Cspan of Jeff Perry's new book Hubert Harrison, The Voice of Harlem Radicalism http://www.booktv.org/program.aspxProgramId=10134&SectionName=History

Ravi Kumar has a fine interview with Peter Mclaren linked to Radical Notes online www.atradicalnotes.com/content/view/88/39/

Resistance to inequality and injustice grows each week. From February 18th to 20th, NYU students occupied a building. They were removed and subsequently expelled. Each struggle brings its own lesson on how to better prepare. Details are herehttp://takebacknyu.com/

There is a lengthy struggle, a strike and civil uprising on Martinique http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jmweJ8SzMduOZH3iKJMPyKFo2Y5wD96E9SMG0

A bus strike may lead to a general strike in Ireland: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2009/0219/1224241418134.html

Two big Marches in March. Most of the anti-war movement will be on the streets on March 21 to condemn the invasion of Iraq (next week a report on the decisions made by the Historians Against the War regarding Afghanistan and other imperial adventures). And there is a call nationwide to March Forth on March 4th, against the homophobia inherent in the vote on California's Prop 8.

Tougher News: George Soros agrees the sky is falling: http://www.reuters.com/article/businessNews/idUSTRE51K0A920090221?feedType=RSS&feedName=businessNews&rpc=23&sp=true

While the auto bailout/UAW sellout amounts to what looks to be the coming end of auto-worker health benefits http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/articleAID=/20090223/AUTO01/902230395

Joel Kovel was fired at Bard. You can review the background and offer help at http://www.joelkovel.org/

Thanks to Bonnie M, Paul, Joe B and C, Adam, Amber, Candace, Sally, Julie, Jill, Sandy, Laurel, EWR, Ravi, Don A, Ginger H, Kim B, Perry and Steve, Shelly, Kelly, Gina, Ludden, Carlson, Riley, Tommie, Bob, Dave and Sharon, Elaine H, Penny Brown, Sue, Greg and Katie, Bill B, Kevin, Paul and Mary.

All the best,

18 February 2009

Rouge Forum Update--2-18-09--from Rich

Dear Friends,

The sky is falling. The good thing, and the bad thing, is we were right about that.

Below is a short synopsis of our current context and reasons why you should plan to be at the Rouge Forum Conference in Ypsilanti, Michigan, May 15 to 17. Bring friends and submit a proposal. http://web.mac.com/wayne.ross/Rouge_Forum_Conference_2009/Welcome.html

The core issues remain inequality on the one hand and organized resistance on the other hand. Inequality booms world-wide. In the US productivity went up on a near 90 degree vertical line. But wages remained stagnant, creating classic forms of overproduction (in sum, workers unable to buy products their class produces). Simultaneously, finance capital came to dominate and almost split away from productive capital, allowing the working class to maintain a standard of living by offering endless debt and falsely inflated home values. This is the video, Capitalism Hits the Fan: http://www.vimeo.com/1962208

Finance companies began to buy on margin inside a massive Ponzi scheme of mortgage securities. Fraud leaped in: Maddoff. Finance capital, became a barrier to itself, as Marx wrote years ago, and now we have real stagnation, banks awash in capital they will not loan, huge companies unable to sell goods, and workers losing jobs by the hundreds of thousands; a downward spiral that appears to have no bottom. GM just announced another 47,000 layoffs; demanded--with Chrysler--a total of about $39 billion from US taxpayers.

The aged millionaires Lady Astor complained bitterly about how finance capital operated. She commented on her 100th birthday, "Everyone became obsessed with money in the 1990's and went higgledy-piggledy scampering after their fortunes," she said. "People with money used to often care about the people who had no money. Not always, but often. Now, it is rare to find people with money who care at all about people with no money" (New York Times, March 30, 2002).

We witness the corporate state coming into being, the merger of government, business, and the military. Nearly $3 trillion will go to the banks, another $1-2 trillion to the military soon.

This is, as Foster and Magdoff make clear in their recent Monthly Review book, the Great Financial Crisis, a predicament that cannot be solved for working people within the system of capital. If reforms are to be won, they can only be won by linking immediate reform to profound social change. Every reform will be unsustainable.

Containing populations suffering from inequality will become the prime project of ruling classes everywhere, in schools and out. We have seen massive demonstrations and strikes in Europe already, often initiated by students and teachers.

The large existing organizations that claim to defend working people and students, like the unions, are absolutely unprepared and unfit to meet this crisis. The UAW agreed to the 47,000 layoffs (having already lost a million members) and more concessions still--when concessions never save jobs, other than bosses' jobs. http://www.freep.com/article/20090217/BUSINESS01/90217064/GM+seeks+$30+billion+in+total+aid++plans+to+cut+47+000+jobs+this+year

In schools, we can foresee a sharpened effort to eliminate freedom, to sharpen the regimentation of curricula, to impose more sophisticated testing, and more militarization as well (perpetual war is real).

Here is AFT's President Randy Weingarten demanding more national education standards which will invariably tied to high-stakes exams and married to the Obama project of privatized charters. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/15/AR2009021501257.html?referrer=emailarticle

Criticism of the anti- war coalition United For Peace and Justice continues to flash around the net. Here is one of the latest if not the most troubling, attacking UFPJ's leadership for abandoning the fight to prosecute war crimes:http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/node/39865

Here are two pieces from Rouge Forum members regarding UFPJ http://www.richgibson.com/wheremovement.htm,

The latest Obama Bailout remains mostly a mystery, a secret. But here is a the simple rough outline that we have seen so far, though it makes little sense as a jobs or people stimulus:http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/2009-02-12-stimulus-plan-breakdown_N.htm

And the quick upshot: White recession, black depression: http://www.counterpunch.org/muhammad02162009.html

It is no stretch to see that we are watching the emergence of fascism, which has never solved the problems it claims to solve. Here is Chris Hedges on Inverted Totalitarianism http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20090202_its_not_going_to_be_ok/

Only the Rouge Forum in the US has, in organized fashion, taken up these issues for a decade and translated research into action. We also forged a culture of friendship and mutual respect, among many differing viewpoints, that many people see as the highlight of the conference. Join us! http://www.rougeforum.org/And for a moment's relief---Calvin and Hobbes got it a long time ago: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_djgssszshgM/SYXCzpR0MbI/AAAAAAAAAyY/VYle3udsueo/s1600-h/CalvinHobbs.BMP

Thanks to Faith, Wayne, Amber, Wendy, Victoria, Tommie, Bob, Gina, Adam, Candace, Sharon Ag...., Della, Kathy Young, Bill, Greg, Emily, Don A., Jim B, Dave S, Gil G, Peter M, Vanessa, Molly, Dave S, SL, Bonnie Macintosh, Nancy S, Steve R and Ricky C, Kelly, Beau, and the Old Mole.

All the best and good luck to us, every one.

09 February 2009

Rouge Forum Update--2-9-09--from Rich

Dear Friends,The Rouge Forum No Blood For Oil page is updated at http://www.richgibson.com/rouge_forum/. That's also the place where you'll find the call for proposals for the Rouge Forum Conference, May 15 to 17, at Eastern Michigan University.

The deadline for articles for the Rouge Forum News is March 1. Schools, k through universities, face massive cuts. What's going on in your area? Send articles, cartoons, photos, etc to Adam Renner: arenner@bellarmine.edu

Spread the word. NO CONCESSIONS. Concessions are like giving blood to sharks. It only makes bosses want more (look at the United Auto Workers). Not one step back. In fact, we want MORE. We know the bosses are weak. We want a shorter work week with no cut in pay. No Layoffs. Add another shift, cut class size. No evictions. Free health care for all. Tax the rich. Free wireless everywhere. Stop high stakes exams. Recruiters off the campuses. Academic freedom for students and teachers. (and you can make up some of your own, I am sure).

Take a look at the Rouge Forum blog and join in the discussion. If we can get that going, we can demonstrate the collective nature of our problems, which have few if any individual solutions, and share information about what people are doing. http://www.therougeforum.blogspot.com/

Who will get what in the "what about ME?" scramble for bailout money this time? Much of that will be set up by who paid who what. Last time the Tarp recipients spent $144 million on lobbyists. Send a check when you write congress or Obama. http://washington.bizjournals.com/washington/stories/2009/02/02/daily65.html?ana=e_du_pub

The Iraq war is far from over; war in Afghanistan is expanding. The anti-war movement is split, never met the potential represented by the mass outpouring of opposition to the Iraq invasion. Still, it appears that the biggest anti-war actions will be on March 21, the sixth anniversary of the invasion (really 3/19), in cities all over the US. Here is Tom Ricks, "The Iraq war is not over," although corporate media still cannot spell O-I-L. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/02/08/thomas-ricks-war-in-iraq_n_165002.html

Juan Cole believes Obama may have to delay his Afghan surge as the US supply routes are cut http://www.juancole.com/2009/02/obama-may-postpone-afghan-surge-severe.html

Resistance rises world wide, if we in the US do not see a lot of it. The French general strike most recently demonstrated that students and school workers can indeed initiate and lead struggle for social justice. Here is an update from Italy.: http://www.counterpunch.org/quadrupanni02042009.html

The UTLA test boycott is still on. Let's spread this idea and expand it to ALL the high-stakes exams. http://www.utla.net/pab

Friends in Fresno are preparing to make presentations to their school board for just that purpose.

Gilbert Gonzalez is working on a video on the Bracero Program. He'd like some help.
This is a teaser videohttp://vimeo.com/2904353

Here is an opportunity to make some international connections: American Councils for Education: Seeking Fellowship PlacementsThe American Councils for Education, in association with the U.S. Department of State, is seeking to place five young professionals in non-governmental internships across the country during the fall 2009 intern season (September-December).? Prospective interns will be arriving in the United States in mid-August under the auspices of the federally funded Legislative Education and Practice program (LEAP) and will be ready to report to work in early September. LEAP Fellows are dedicated public servants between 23 and 33 years of age from Georgia, Russia, Ukraine, and Turkey. They are college -educated (many have advanced degrees in law or international studies), speak fluent English, have had previous U.S.-based experience, and are eager to learn how Americans address rule of law, civil society, work in advocacy, infrastructure, energy, human rights, and related topics, so that they may better their own societies. Interns will be available to work a full-time schedule and will be fully supported by American Councils and the U.S. Department of States in terms of compensation, health insurance, etc. To learn more, please contact RaeJean Stokes at 202-833-7522 or via email at: leap@americancouncils.org

Thanks to Joe B and C, Amber, Donna, Sharyn, Erin, B and N, Bob, Susan O and H, Gene, Patrick, Harold, Bonnie, Kathy, Angie, Ravi, Bill, A and G, Karen C, Willie Himebaugh, Chuck R, Tom T, and Wayne.

Down the banks and
Up the Rebels.


04 February 2009

Rouge Forum Update--2-2-2009--from Rich

Dear Friends,

February 12th is Charles Darwin's 200th birthday. Sounds like a good day to remind people about evolution, dialectics, and leaps of change! Have a party! Happy Happy Merry Merry--Charles!

A reminder: set aside May 14th to 17th for the Rouge Forum Conference at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, just minutes from the Detroit Airport. Here is the conference information and call for proposals: http://web.mac.com/wayne.ross/Rouge_Forum_Conference_2009/Welcome.html

United Teachers of LA called for a test boycott, perhaps the first large school worker union to do so. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2009/01/teachers-plan-t.htmlThough the boycott is limited to what many RF activists feel is second-tier testing, the idea could well spread. Messages of support can go to the UTLA leadership at http://www.utla.net/node/863

In France, a general strike was kicked off by teachers and students, proving once again our long held thesis that school workers and students are well positioned to initiate, if not fully carry through, action for social justice:http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/jan/29/strike-france-teachers

From the EdNotes blog, a video the United Federation of Teachers (NYC) would prefer that we not see (scroll down a bit) http://ednotesonline.blogspot.com/

Colleague Chalmers Johson, author of the Nemisis trilogy, weighs in with "The Looming Crisis at the Pentagon,"http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175029

We all noticed that Exxon recorded the highest profits ever http://money.cnn.com/2008/02/01/news/companies/exxon_earnings/and military contractors expect no layoffs whatsoever. War, in many instances, means work. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123327750721631485.html

Bill Zucker sets up a shout, "I want some Tarp!" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGfQk9XXm24

Those who wonder what their NEA union leaders and staff are paid can check EIA, a right-libertarian site, here (there are instructions on how to check on the LMR 2) http://www.eiaonline.com/archives/20090126.htm Note that NEA past president Reg Weaver took home $554,524 and he probably was able to live on his expense account.

The Rouge Forum blogspot is up and running at http://therougeforum.blogspot.com/ You are welcome to chime in!

Thanks to Eric, Kev, Wayne, Bob, Amber, Tom, Perry, Angie, Stella, O, Donnie A, Jim B, Peter M, Hannah, Beau, Dave, Tommie, Sandy, and Sherry.

All the best,