25 March 2009

Rouge Forum Update--3-20-09--from Rich

Dear Friends,

On this sixth anniversary of the terrorist attack on Iraq, let us all bring friends to the streets on Saturday to demonstrate that there is still a thread of sanity and resistance in the USA. The war agenda is an education agenda as well.

Please remember to spread the word about the Rouge Forum Conference, May 15 to 17, in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The full conference schedule is now up here: http://web.mac.com/wayne.ross/Rouge_Forum_Conference_2009/Welcome.html You'll have a tough time deciding what outstanding sessions you want to attend. Be there---or square!

In a speech on March 18th, The Obamagogue declared forthrightly, as he has in the past, that he is for capitalism, for free marketeering, for pay for added value. That's a pretty clear statement about why it is he is for the spurious merit pay project as it fits neatly with the agonies of the failed system of capital, with obscuring the reality of a full scale attack of the rich on the poor using the government, now almost fully merged with corporations, as a weapon against children and teachers. The education agenda is a war agenda. http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0318/p01s02-ussc.htm

Here is what The Obamagogue, who now represents not only the seamless merger of corporate and governance life, but who obliterates the line between news and entertainment, said to Jay Leno that was actually significant http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/03/20/what-obama-said-last-nigh_n_177401.html

The Obamagogue, whose demagoguery is no longer an amusement, proposes to tax those who have health benefits in order to pay for those who do not: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/15/us/politics/15health.html

The Florida Education Association followed the lead of the California Teachers Association in demanding a state sales tax hike to pay for education, an opportunist move that pits one set of working people, educators, against the entire working class which carries the burden of sales taxes. http://www.tampabay.com/news/education/article984475.ece

As the economy presses down, resistance rises. At issue is whether people make any sense of resistance. The French General Strike of March 19th: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7951949.stm

Immanuel Wallerstein on the possibility of Civil War in the USA http://www.binghamton.edu/fbc/253en.htm

What happened to the economy? Easy. Micawber from Dickens' David Copperfield: "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery." Joe Bishop, Rouge Forum Conference Coordinator, on inequality and education: http://www.dissidentvoice.org/2009/03/accountability-legerdemain-and-the-intensification-of-inequality/

A survey on American Individualism in the midst of the crisis from Faith: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/03/17/surveys-americans-grip-to_n_175618.html

Closing with an excerpt from a note from Brazil: "In the history of crises of capitalism, the dominant classes, owners of capital, and their governments have adopted the same prescription to exit them. First, they need to destroy a part of (over-accumulated) capital (lacking demand) to make room for another process of accumulation. In recent months, over 4-trillion dollars in paper money have gone up in smoke. Second, they call for wars. War is a way of destroying goods (weapons, munitions, materials, facilities) and getting rid of the social tension of workers. And it does so in such a way as to also eliminate the industrial reserve army. Thence the First and Second World Wars, and then the Cold War. Now, given the fear of atomic bombs, they stir up regional conflicts instead. The attacks on the Palestinian people by Israel, the provocations in India, and the threats against Iran all fit in this strategy as well. The strategy is to increase military spending and destroy goods. Third, magnify the exploitation of workers. That is to say, in crises, lower the average wages, and bring down the living standards and thus the costs of the reproduction of the labour force, in order to restore the rates of surplus value and restart accumulation. Hence also the expansion of unemployment, which keeps multitudes surviving only on the basic baskets of goods, etc. Fourth, a greater transfer of capital from the periphery to the center of the system. This is accomplished by the direct transfer from enterprises in the periphery to their headquarters, as well as through the manipulation of the dollar exchange rate, the payment of interests, and the manipulation of prices of goods sold and bought in the periphery. Fifth, capital goes back to using the state as the manager of the savings of the population to shift these funds for the benefit of capital. For this purpose, capitalists again valorize the state, not as the caretaker of the interests of society, but as the steward of their interests, to use its compulsory powers and thus collect money from everyone, through taxes as well as savings deposited in the banks, in order to finance their way out of the crisis. We are witnessing the application of these classic measures, reported in the press every day – here in Brazil, in the center of capitalism, and in the rest of the world.But, as with everything in life, there are always contradictions. For each action of capital, the government, etc., there will be its contradiction, which society and workers can recognize and exploit to change the situation.The historic periods of crises are also periods of change. For better or worse, there will be changes! Crises create openings and rearrange the positioning of classes in society."

Thanks to Joe, the Bills, Faith, Wayne, Amber, Erica, Bob, Tobie, Sally, Sandy, Rudy, David, Sharon A., Carol Panetta and Bob too, Duke, Adam and Gina, Candace, Randy Matthews, Matt, Ken, Barb, Linda L. Gil, and Sherry.

Good luck to us, every one.

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