27 January 2009

Rouge Forum Update--1-25-09--from Rich

Dear Friends,

An up front reminder on the Rouge Forum Conference, May 14 to 17, in Ypsilanti Michigan. Proposals due very soon. http://web.mac.com/wayne.ross/Rouge_Forum_Conference_2009/Welcome.html

Centered in the key organizing point of North American life, the Rouge Forum represents the only voice of the left, recognizing that at the core of our many crises, economic collapse to perpetual war and all in between, lies the system of capital. This conference represents a gathering of people who have learned that friendship can arch over political differences. Come join us!

From Monthly Review, here is one of the better economic analyses of why things are as they are in the growing depression. http://www.monthlyreview.org/081201foster-magdoff.php This is the conclusion: "In this sense we are clearly at a global turning point, where the world will perhaps finally be ready to take the step, as Keynes also envisioned, of repudiating an alienated moral code of “fair is foul and foul is fair”­used to justify the greed and exploitation necessary for the accumulation of capital­turning it inside-out to create a more rational social order. 49 To do this, though, it is necessary for the population to seize control of their political economy, replacing the present system of capitalism with something amounting to a real political and economic democracy; what the present rulers of the world fear and decry most­as “socialism.” 50"

What is missing from the analysis is the dual role of war. It was war that ended the last depression, not Keynesian hyper-spending, and it is also imperialist war that lies, in part, at the base of the current deepening collapse.

And from YouTube, here is Noam Chomsky on the election, capitalist democracy (those who spend most, win, among other things) and what is next http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSHD9JzXJvI&feature=related (part one of three).

The take on election results from the Daily Show: http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=216538&title=changefest-09-obamas-inaugural

Michael Klare hoping for the unlikely event; that Obama will abolish the Carter Doctrine on Mideast Oil http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/5809

Reminder of the March on the Pentagon on the anniversary of the Iraq invasion, March 21, Washington DC. https://www.natassembly.org/About_Us.html

Short update this week, but plenty of reading.

Thanks to Amber, Tom, Bob, Adam and Gina, Karl, Dave, Glenn, Candy, Sharon A, Lucy, Michael, Dell, Mary, Chris, Ruthann, Paul, Zoey, Carl G, Sandy, Van, and Tina.


22 January 2009

Rouge Forum Update--1-18-09--from Rich

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year!

An up front reminder: The Rouge Forum Conference is May 14 to 17, 2009, in Ypsilanti, Michigan, near Detroit. The call for proposals is here: http://web.mac.com/wayne.ross/Rouge_Forum_Conference_2009/Welcome.html The deadline is February 15 for proposals.

Why come?

What's our current context? A stock market collapse. Massive racist unemployment nearly redoubling each month. Hundreds of thousands of foreclosures and evictions. Police terror (the Oakland murder the most recent example) and immigration raids. Calls for more taxes and cuts in public services met by bankster bailouts in the trillions. Declared US wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq; undeclared wars in Gaza via Israeli proxies, Colombia, and cold wars growing with Russia and China--much of that revolving around oil. In schools all over the world: regimentation of the curricula to promote nationalism, high-stakes exams eradicating freedom, and militarization.

How can this be described as other than class war, an international war of the rich on the poor?

Now comes Obama promising Hope! and Change!

Probably not. His appointees alone say otherwise, all of them beholden to nearly the same oil bosses, war-makers, and financiers who propelled Clinton and Bush. Arne Duncan, education czar, promises privatized charter schools and merit pay---more of the same, faster.

The last 40 years demonstrate the primary role of capitalist democracy, which Obama personifies: An executive committee of the rich where they iron out differences, then allow us to choose which of them will oppress us best--and their armed weapon. Currently, the main result of Obama's demagoguery is to resurrect forms of nationalism that were becoming exposed by the Bush regimes' harsh tactics. Now we get the velvet glove over the iron fist, Obamagogue.

Only the Rouge Forum, which includes many voices, has had room for this kind of analysis in the US. We've combined this reasoned critique with action: test boycotts, strikes, and backing for resisters. Our publications circulate world-wide. In addition, we created a community of thinking people who can join together in friendly debate, overcoming isolation.

Hope and change rest not in seeking some politician to save us, but through building a mass class conscious base of people willing to fight back, to sacrifice to rearrange the social relations that allow the few to rule the many through ruses like nationalism, racism, sexism, and religious irrationality. Absent that goal, all struggle is mere tactics, lurching from opposing one unrelated form of oppression to the next, never getting to the root of things.

The union executives are no help. Already they prepare to offer concessions (concessions don't save jobs, they only make employers want more), and to attack other sectors of workers not paying them dues (the California Teachers Association supports a regressive sales tax hike to pay for schooling) and to consolidate their power (NEA President Dennis Van Roekel seeks, again, to merge NEA with the AFL-CIO, SEIU's Andy Stern moving to take control of the AFL and Change to Win, etc). The very structures of unions divide people by job, race, industry. NEA and AFT spent millions of dollars and thousands of volunteer hours to elect Obama who demonstrated open contempt for educators throughout his campaign. With school workers the most unionized people in the US, the unions are unprepared to resist the attacks on every facet of education ahead.

That's why it's important to come to the Rouge Forum Conference and offer your own leadership to a movement for Equality and Freedom in schools and out. The them of the conference, Education, Empire, Economy and Ethics at the Crossroads, offers a wide field for discussion and presentations.

You can add your own voice, right now, to the Rouge Forum blog established by Community Coordinator Adam Renner athttp://www.therougeforum.blogspot.com/

The Rouge Forum News deadline is February 15. Send articles, cartoons, art, etc., to Adam Renner (arenner@bellarmine.edu )

Thanks to Katy and Greg, Kerry, Mary, Paul, Gina and Adam, Amber, Wayne, Tommie, Donavan, Sally, Lisa, Sharon A. David, Marty, Gil G, Perry, Marc, Kevin, Shelly, Chris, Candace, Lacy, Anne, Donna, Alan S, Sherry, Tally A, Kim, Sue, Laura C, Lynn S, Stephanie, Colleen, Kelly, and Sarah.

All the best in the New Year,

Down the banks and
Up the Rebels!


18 January 2009


The RF wanted to open up a conversation regarding the most recent eruption of violence in the Gaza strip, which has claimed several hundred lives.

Below are several selected links discussing the conflict. Please feel free to add further links--particularly those which will expand the conversation--and/or your comment:

Though a cease fire was declared Saturday, January 17, the conflict is yet ongoing and one still worth discussing, since it is emblatic of and connected to worldwide violence, hegemony, and dehumanization. Most of us writing here, especially me, witness the travesty and the human cost from the comfort of our chairs and couches in front of our computers and TVs. We imbibe images of dehumanization and moral/ethical depletion and feel disgust, (odd) disconnection, and/or helplessness. Though the events should stimulate (re)action, response, and resistance, many are rendered silent, hopeless. We may determine this to be rational given the culture of fear, ignorance, mysticism, obedience, disconnection, and personal profit inculcated through capital's schools, churches, media, and segregated neighborhoods. However, it is not just--and these rationales must be exposed such that choices are made more clear and our necessary actions are clarified.

Personally, I side neither with Israel nor Hamas. Instead, I side with Palestinians attempting to carve out a dignified life and Israelis who advocate sanity from their government. While the fundamentalist sects within both Judaism and Islam use different words, their ideologies are symmetrical inasmuch as they seek the devestataion of 'the other'. Both are antidemocratic. Both are dehumanizing. The articulation of religion and nationalism is oppressive to the core and breeds irrationalism.

People of conscience must continue to educate, to help our students, friends, colleagues, etc. mine the gray between both poles of irrationalism, to find other axes/dimensions that foster dialogue, deepened consciousness, and enriched democracy. We must be prepared to resist while simultaneously waiting for and creating the turning points toward something more communal, more humanizing. The struggle in Gaza is connected to the struggle in our schools, the labor struggle, the (endless) wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, ongoing racism and the backlash against immigrants, the fight for justice everywhere. Our opportunity is to make these connections, to cut through the ideologies intended to seperate us, to keep us afraid, and to keep us docile. Our solidarity can be carried out in our classrooms, our community organizations, our families, our unions, etc. Our solidarity can be cemented one act, one voice at a time. Our solidarity can be won through a radical struggle with ourselves which will move us toward the center of resistance wherever it is needed.

I look forward to your comments, links, and feedback.

02 January 2009

Rouge Forum Update--12/26--from Rich

Happy Happy and Merry Merry!

There are hopeful signs for the year ahead.

For those with longer memories, three more of the Grenada 17, jailed in a 17th century prison since 1983 for crimes they did not commit, were released last week, leaving seven in jail today: http://www.counterpunch.org/gibson06052004.html

Thanks to Wayne, Amber, Adam, VK, Beau, Erin, Gil G, Patrick, Susan O and H, Joe L, Steve, Curry, Perry, Sandy, David H--both--Sally, Sharon A., Mary and Paul, Tally A, Dana, Katie and Greg, Karen K, David S, Bill, MrJ, George S, Donavan, Tommie and Bob, Glenn R, Michael, Kevin, Tony, Marc, Sherry, Mandy, Kim, Matthew, Zoe, Linda, Jim and Gordon, Llona, Lisa, Bertell, Joe B, and C., VP, Nancy, Mike A, Kino, Stephanie, Bonnie, Ann D-H, Chris, Candace, Norma, and to all those who helped build a class conscious social movement for freedom and equality.

We are saddened to note the death of a friend, Joe Kincheloe (1950-2008).

Down the banks
and Up the Rebels!

All the best, r