20 May 2009

Rouge Forum Update--5-20-09--from Rich

Dear Friends,

We will circulate a full report from the Rouge Forum Conference at Eastern Michigan University over the weekend. This is a very brief preliminary report from the student newspaper: http://www.easternecho.com/content/rouge-forum-discusses-youth-education-emu-0

On the Education Front: http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2009/may/19/ca-special-election-051909/?california&zIndex=101745&dsq=9568515#comment-9568515

The California Teachers Association and NEA bosses wasted more than $12.2 million on their outrageous tax the poor scam that failed completely and, worse, managed to convince even more poor and working people that organized education workers are actually enemies. Nice work, CTA.

Meanwhile, UTLA managed to cower their way out of what was to be last Friday's mass walkout, fearful of a judge's order against it.

Everyone should be clear on this. The only illegal job action is one that fails. If thousand of teachers walked out, the judge would do nearly nothing, indeed nothing except try to fine CTA. So? CTA is not a bank and CTA members can picket judges' homes.

The Green Dot Takeover: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-greendot11-2009may11,0,3289443.story

Since UTLA and NEA have done so little to build a base among poor and working class parents and kids, and since AFT loves Green Dot, this plan to seize the school system is conceivable.

And it is another move from the LATimes to attack the rising militancy of the education workers who have a walkout scheduled this week.

There are thoughtful and active alternatives to all this..... http://www.rougeforumconference.org/

Obama placed Bob Bobb, paid jointly by the Broad Foundation and the Detroit Public Schools, in charge of DPS. Then The One declared Detroit "Ground Zero," in the education wars. Bobb announced a plan to federalize DPS. Would that be a first? http://www.susanohanian.org/show_nclb_outrages.html?id=3621

On the Perpetual War Front (the education agenda is a war agenda):

Obamagogue To Cover up Torture Photos:

On the Fake Radicals Front:
  • Once the Weathermen were liberals (and police agents) with bombs. Terrorists who opposed the hard work that it takes to build a mass class conscious movement to transcend the system of capital. Now, they are just liberals without bombs. But, unlike Billy Ayers and the rest of the Weathermen, at least Mark Rudd admits he and his ganglet destroyed the Students for a Democratic Society on the eve of the biggest outpouring of mass action from 1950 on. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/03/books/review/Barrett-t.html

On the Organized Decay is an Element of Fascism Front:
On the "This is not, not, for sure, not a depression, it's ah, well, ahem," Front: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/17/books/review/Rauch-t.html?ref=books

Tickled by the NYTimes reassurance that this is not, surely not, absolutely not, could not be, a GREAT depression, it's just a depression. And good time are right around the corner. On the Unions Became What They Claimed to Set Out to Oppose Front: UAW Won't Strike Chrysler Until 2015: http://www.freep.com/article/20090513/BUSINESS01/90513086/UAW+won+t+strike+Chrysler+through+2015

You don't need to pay a union to surrender. You can throw up your hands and do that alone. Concessions do not save jobs. They just make bosses want more. The UAW is a prime example. When they say cut back, we should say, Fight Back!

The Torment and Demise of the United Auto Workers Union: http://clogic.eserver.org/2006/gibson.html

Unions are unfit to meet the crisis at hand. While it may be important to have one toe in a union in order to meet people and build a base for real change, it is equally important to have ten toes out of the union---in an organization that can connect reason, passion, and power. Like the Rouge Forum. Please spread the word. There is no single "Line" of the RF. We have many voices and many varying talents. Here are the last two stanzas to the great workers' song Solidarity Forever:

They have taken untold millions that they never toiled to earn,But without our brain and muscle not a single wheel can turn.We can break their haughty power; gain our freedom when we learnThat the Union makes us strong. In our hands is placed a power greater than their hoarded gold;Greater than the might of armies, magnified a thousand-fold. We can bring to birth a new world from the ashes of the oldFor the Union makes us strong.

Well, the union didn't make us strong, but the rest is on the mark and the struggle continues.

Thanks to Joe Bishop and the Eastern Michigan volunteers, Adam and Gina, WayneO, Nancye, Patricia, Faith and Craig, Greg (whose speech will be up by the weekend), Pat B, Bill-Scott--the youths-and Marty, Paul, Cory, Connie, Travis, Roger, Doug S and Doug Y, Gil G (that book is terrific) Billy X, Donna, Sherry, Zena, Em, Candace, Rebecca, Sonia, Maria, Chris (what a long drive), Susan O and H, O and Ido and the baby, Steve and Perry for getting things going and you too Kevin and Marc, Michael who is a smart guy and good friend, the heroic Sergei and the secretaries, Jeremiah, The Uprising and Tainted Machine, Staughton Lynd who is a beacon of good sense, Marty G who should have been there, Big M, Bob and Tommie, and all who made the conference a delight.

Good luck to us, every one.

13 May 2009

Rouge Forum Update--5-9-09--from Rich

Dear Friends,

Less than one week to the Rouge Forum Conference in Ypsilanti, Michigan at Eastern Michigan University. Keynote speakers include Staughton Lynd, author, radical historian, civil rights leader; Greg Queen, winner of the National Council for the Social Studies "academic freedom award," and Rebecca Martusewicz, eco-justice educator and activist. http://www.rougeforumconference.org/

Education News Students at Los Angeles' Crenshaw High walked out of school last week in protest of budget cuts: http://www.wavenewspapers.com/news/local/west-edition/44620717.html

People are being positioned so that the fight-back is almost inevitable. The question is: Will it make any sense and win? http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-teachers10-2009may10,0,1000273.story

Call it paranoid but it is not entirely coincidental that the LATimes is running a series of articles on "bad teachers" and UTLA (which may well be true) just days before the planned UTLA walkout on May 15. The walkout, unfortunately, is scheduled for that date in order to not disrupt district testing, but it is one of the first direct-action responses to come from any large NEA or AFT local. The walkout came to being after considerable rank and file struggle inside the union, demanding collective action.The LATimes does not have much to say about the reasons for rising inequality and the real promise of perpetual war, that is, capital's relentless quest for profits. Nor does it deal with the daily lives of children in Compton and when it does mention them, it does so in terms of being under privileged, not super-exploited. But, come to think of it, UTLA doesn't speak in those terms either. Its parent body, CTA, is working with the Gropenfuhrer to pass the anti-working class tax hikes, trying to panic voters into taxing themselves rather than the rich. A recent CTA news spends most of its glossy pages telling teachers how to adjust to the financial crises, rather than how to fight back, dealing with the consequences of the crises rather than to address the causes at the root. http://www.utla.net/

There are alternatives: http://www.rougeforumconference.org/

Here is the New Yorker's abstract of an article touting the partnership of the American Federation of Teachers and Steve Barr, of Green Dot charter fame: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/05/11/090511fa_fact_mcgray and a response from Susan Ohanian http://www.susanohanian.org/outrage_fetch.php?id=545

But the fact is that the education agenda is a war agenda, and vice versa: http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/20965

Industry, Finance, War, and PedagogyChrysler Gets Judge to Allow The Bankrupt Company to Borrow $4.5 Billion from USA! Huh?http://www.freep.com/article/20090504/BUSINESS01/90504013/Judge+lets+Chrysler+borrow+$4.5+billion

Don't forget those Good For the Rest of Your Life Rouge Forum Posters: http://www.geocities.com/elethinker/posters.html

Chalmers Johnson on the Signs of Decay http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2CCs-x9q9UThe banks behind the Meltdown (Center For Public Integrity): http://www.publicintegrity.org/investigations/economic_meltdown/

One-half million people are now fleeing the Swat Valley. Whether the guerrillas will stand and fight or melt away is yet to be seen:

In April and May, 1975, US forces fled Vietnam, the world's most powerful empire forced out by peasant nationalists who fought imperialism for decades, making huge sacrifices. The US defeat was caused, mainly, by Vietnamese military and political operations, but also by the actions of soldiers in the US military and civilians in the anti-war movement. Here is a clip from the film, Sir No Sir, as a reminder that people can resist, under harsh conditions, and win http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDk6Qal2DCI

May 9 is Victory Day (May 8 in the US--Victory in Europe day) seemingly forgotten in America now. But the sacrifices of the people of the world in defeating fascism should be remembered: http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Fascism/What_Is_Fascism_Gibson.html

Thanks to Joe B and the entire Ypsi gang for pulling together a great conference and to Adam Renner and Gina Stiens for taking the lead in developing the most recent edition of the Rouge Forum News: It is the only clear expression of education radicalism in the US. http://richgibson.com/rouge_forum/newspaper/spring2009/index.html

Thanks too to Susan H and O, Amber, Diego, Ernesto, Lucy W and S, Jesus, Joseph, Amilia, Candace, Bob and Tommie, Wayne and Perry, Steve, Big Al, Nancy, Lisa, Marisol, Ricio, Chantelle, The Wailers, Harv, Ned, Ray, Earl, Sandy and Van, Mickey, Jim, Phillip and his entire gang, Selene and Frank, Carolina, Maria, Bruno, Daniel, Natalia, Nereyda, Edgar, Edwardo, and Gil

All the best and good luck to us every one.

Rouge Forum Update--5-4-09--from Rich

Dear Friends,

Less than two weeks until the Rouge Forum Conference ( www.rougeforum.org), May 15-17, in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Join us! Come meet others whose interest in education goes to society as well. The core issue of our time is rising color-coded inequality met by the possibility of mass, class-conscious, resistance. No education organization in North America has the limited good sense and courage to say that.

The National Education Association will meet in San Diego in July, making sure no NEA member grasps this is not a tea-party but class war. Here we see how NEA pours $2million more into a campaign for a regressive California tax: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/04/29/BAK317ATCO.DTL

United Teachers of LA plan a one day walkout on May 15, but they don't want to interrupt testing. Huh? Primer on Chrysler Bankruptcy: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/01/business/01primer.html?_r=1&hp

Well, at least this is 1/2 good news. "Union leaders said they chose May 15 "to have the least conflict with monthlong testing," including the state's STAR tests, which are the most prominent yardsticks for a school's academic standing. But there are Advanced Placement tests, which are important for college applicants, scheduled for that day. "In a week, Chrysler went under, the Sunnis rose again, the Taliban swept 60 miles from the capital--some week! The UAW's retiree VEBA benefits to disappear? http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=103703634&ft=1&f=1001

Who can argue that the government, the capitalist democracy in which the latter always loses, is anything more than executive committee and armed weapon of the rich? How the Banksters "own the place," in Congress: http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2009051801/banksters-win-one-lose-one-congress

We note with sadness the death of WIlliam Pomeroy whose writings on the Huks in the Philippines was terrific: http://www.pww.org/article/articleview/14337/ See his book, The Forrest, among others. Marx on School: "The only worker who is productive is one who produces surplus value for the capitalist, or in other words contributes to the self-valorization of capital. If we may take an example from outside the sphere of material production, a schoolmaster is a productive worker when, in addition to belaboring the heads of his pupils, he works himself into the ground to enrich the owner of the school. That the latter has laid out his capital in a teaching factory, instead of a sausage factory, makes no difference to the relation. The concept of a productive worker therefore implies, not merely a relation between the activity of work and its useful effect, between the worker and the product of the work, but also a specific social relation of production, a relation with a means of valorization. To be a productive worker is therefore not a piece of luck, but a misfortune." Marx 1977, Capital, Vol 1, translator, B. Fowkes, New York, Vintagep 644.

Thanks to Wayne, Joe B, Adam and Gina, Phillip, Tammy, Donna, Sue H, Sherry, Connie and Doug, Eric C and S, Ginger H, Don A, Virginia P, Carol, Susan and Susan, Paul and Mary, Sandy and Van.

Good luck to us, every one!

01 May 2009

The Rouge Forum News--Call for Papers--Issues 14 and 15

Rouge Forum News, Issue 14: Call for papers.

The Rouge Forum News is an outlet for working papers, critical analysis, and grassroots news. Issue 14 of the RF News will be dedicated to papers delivered at the Rouge Forum Conference at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, MI: http://www.rougeforumconference.org/.

Conference presenters, if you would like your paper to be considered for Issue 14, please send your essay to Adam Renner at arenner@bellarmine.edu by June 15, 2009.

Rouge Forum News, Issue 15: Call for papers.

The Rouge Forum News is an outlet for working papers, critical analysis, and grassroots news. Issue 15 will be dedicated to our persistence in providing links between runaway capital, the rabid and rapid standardization of curriculum, the co-optation of our unions, the militarization of our youth, and the creep of irrationalism in our schools.

We are interested in work from academics, parents, teachers, and students: teachers at all levels, students in ANY grade, parents of children of any age.

Something small, something big, something serious. It is the stories we get from people like you that make the RF News what it is. If you have a story to share, but would like to protect your identity, use a pen name. Pen names are ALWAYS welcome!

We NEED Art! Songs! Poems! Editorial cartoons! Links to online videos or other material!

We are looking for narratives, as well as research, and the interplay between research and practice which focuses on the economy, curriculum, unions, etc. If you have a story to tell, some research to share, a book to review, we'd love to see it (and share it).

We publish material from k-12 students, parents, teachers, academics, and community people struggling for equality and democracy in schools --- writing (intended to inform/educate, or stories from your classroom, etc.), art, cartoons, photos, poetry. You can submit material for the RF News via email (text attachment, if possible) to Adam Renner at arenner@bellarmine.edu. PLEASE SUBMIT BY AUGUST 15, 2009.

See Issue 13 of the RF News here: http://richgibson.com/rouge_forum/newspaper/spring2009/index.html and all past issues at http://www.rougeforum.org/.

Rouge Forum Update--May Day--from Rich

Dear Friends,

It is nearly Mayday, the international workers holiday. Since the massive 2006 immigrant rights marches, what amounted to the biggest general strike in the last seventy years, Mayday is finally restored to the US, where it began. For far too many years, it was replaced by Law Day (imposed in the fifties), a day when people were supposed to celebrate the tyranny of property laws.

Now around the US students, kids, workers, educators, community people, and organizers will hit the streets and rally again. School workers can support the kids who are likely to take the lead in walking out of school, joining the many scheduled marches in the struggle for equality and social justice. And we can join them.

The Rouge Forum has celebrated Mayday for the last eleven years. Here is our traditional flyer http://www.richgibson.com/mayday.htm

And an update for our current context

And a link to the music and lyrics of the Internationale http://www.anu.edu.au/polsci/marx/int/int.html

Hope to see you at the Rouge Forum Conference in Ypsilanti, May 15 to 17. www.rougeforum.org

Life travels upward in spirals.
Those who take pains to search the shadows
of the past below us, then, can better judge the
tiny arc up which they climb,
more surely guess the dim
curves of the future above them.

Rouge Forum Update--4/26/09--from Rich

Dear Friends,

Educators attending the Rouge Forum Conference (May 15-17, Ypsilanti, Michigan) can now gain Continuing Education Units for attending conference sessions. Please spread the word. Thanks to Joe Bishop and the Michigan work group for this big step forward.

Links to the current issue of the Rouge Forum News and conference details are here: http://richgibson.com/rouge_forum/

This week in the schools: Sacramento holds segregated assemblies to promote racist high-stakes exams: http://www.sacbee.com/education/story/1799186.html

Laguna Creek Principal Doug Craig said dividing the students by race allowed staff to talk about test scores without making any one ethnic group feel singled out in a negative manner. "Is it racist? I don't believe it is," Craig said.

Poway AFT Local Leads Southern California in Making Concessions: Concessions don't save jobs. Like giving blood to sharks, concessions only make bosses want more. It should be no surprise that the Poway district is represented by the worst union in the USA, the American Federation of Teachers, but it is of little matter now. The Poway union now sets the table for the rest of SoCal and especially San Diego. Nobody should follow their lead. http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2009/apr/23/bn23powcut163430/?education&zIndex=87564&disqus_reply=8639982#comment-8639982

Controversial Stanford Study on Big Tests, Girls, and Minorities, by Emily Alpert: http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/articles/2009/04/22/education/829testing042209.txt

This week on the economy: Joseph Stiglitz - One of the reasons why our economy is weak is that we have growing inequality in our society. That means that people who would spend the money don't have it. We sustained their consumption by lending but that lending was unsustainable and so unless we do something about the underlying inequalities both within our countries and across the world, it may be difficult to restore the global economy to the kind of prosperity that we would hope.

Reich: We are not at the beginning of the end: http://www.truthout.org/041309R

GM and Chrysler Bankruptcy May End Pensions: http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090415/AUTO01/904150364/&imw=Y

Jackknife: The collapse of the Teamsters Union: http://www.clnews.org/forums/showthread.php?t=16368

Social Inequality and Mental Health: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2009/03/15/2003438475

This week on wars and resistance:California Towns Defeat Military Recruiters: http://www.democracynow.org/2009/4/14/california_towns_fight_back_against_justice

Forget Star Wars, It's Back to the Little Wars: http://www.lewrockwell.com/margolis/margolis144.html

Democrats and Rockefeller backed CIA Torture: http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2007/12/09/democrats/

With sadness, we note the death of Lindy Blake, courageous mutineer and Vietnam war resister: http://slash.autonomedia.org/node/12572

"The sky is, of course, falling. We are lambs among wolves. The core issue of our time is the relationship of rising color-coded social and economic inequality challenged by the potential of mass class-conscious resistance." http://rikowski.wordpress.com/tag/e-wayne-ross/

Thanks to Amber, Adam, Gina, Wayne, Dave, Kevin, Beau, Vanessa, Cheri, Donna, Kelly, Sarah, Marisol, Ernesto, Candace, Sally, Sandy, Ann, Ruthie, Della, Jose, Greg and Katie, Joe B, Paula, Alfie, Steve R and Rick C, Bill, and Glenn.

See you in Ypsi!

All the best andgood luck to us,
every one.