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Daily Archives: December 19th, 2008

The Rouge Forum: Update December 2008 (Supplementary on the New School University Occupation)



A message from Rich Gibson



Dear Friends,


Events dictate an “extra edition” of the Rouge Forum Update.


Students at the New School in New York City seized their buildings and are holding out for the demands listed below.


This direct action follows student uprisings in Greece and France in the last ten days and parallels the sit-down action by workers at Chicago’s Republic Works.


The building seizure is precisely along the lines that the Rouge Forum urged for a decade and shows, once again, that student action can spark social resistance–and reasoned analysis– involving poor and working people who hold the power to bring real transformation.


In the coming period, the success of ruling classes around the world to demolish what limited living standards we have, from education to health care to food and very life, will be measured by the fight-back we can muster.


Since schools are the centripetal organizing point of life for most people in North America, and since youth are not habituated to defeats and are at the same time themselves under attack, it makes sense that resistance can be initiated from schools.


Building seizures are a time honored tactic. School workers in Michigan, for example, were taking over and striking schools as late as the mid-eighties while social workers in the same area staged “work-ins” to demonstrate the impossibility of their caseloads.


Inside seized buildings, students, workers, educators, and parents can join together and conduct real Freedom Schooling in an atmosphere, unlike most, where the hopeful message, “what we do counts,” is loud and clear.


Our New York City Rouge Forum members who are not already on their way to the New School might want to go as soon as possible to set up solidarity actions.


We will create a solidarity petition online but in the interim, RF readers can just email notes of support to me, hitting “reply.”


Down with the banks and
Up the rebels!


This is a good way to ring in the New Year!

Rich Gibson



“Please, come out to the New School and support us! Join us! We are at 65 5th avenue (between 13th and 14th St.). The building will be open to all consortium students at 7:30am, we invite you to come any time tomorrow, but particularly at 10:30 when there will be a rally and press conference. The morning hours will be crucial, and the student-occupiers need to know that we are not struggling alone!”


Or see demands and various other sources below…


Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2008 03:15:13 -0500
Subject: [cuny_movement] New School Occupied! 10:30am Press Conference/Rally –
CUNY Students statement – Distribute widely!
To: cuny_movement {AT} lists.riseup.
net, CCU – discussion <cuny-contingents-discussion {AT}>,
adjunct-l <ADJUNCT-L {AT}>, GSOC Group <gcsoc {AT}>, militant-inquiries {AT}, gcspacepubs {AT}
< >


We write this statement from an occupied New School University:


At 8pm, December 18th, over 75 students reclaimed the cafeteria at the New School University as an autonomous student center. Students from several Universities commandeered this space. Students of City College, Borough of Manhattan Community College, Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center are here participating in this struggle. This is every student’s occupation.


If this can happen at the New School, through the organized activity of 75 dedicated students, it can happen at CUNY. And we certainly have reason to be upset:  On the first day of the Fall 2008 semester, the CUNY budget was slashed $50.6 million.  Massive layoffs plague all our schools. We are now being told of a looming $600-per-year tuition hike and more colossal budget cuts to CUNY students and teachers, in a school that was once FREE.


We will continue this campus occupation until our demands are met. While the demands tonight are specific to The New School we will not be satisfied until the students and faculty of CUNY, NYU, all the consortium schools and beyond, have control over their universities. Education should be free, student debts should be cancelled, students and workers should work together to achieve our goals, and we start here.


Please, come out to the New School and support us! Join us! We are at 65 5th avenue (between 13th and 14th St.). The building will be open to all consortium students at 7:30am, we invite you to come any time tomorro w, but particularly at 10:30 when there will be a rally and press conference. The morning hours will be crucial, and the student-occupiers need to know that we are not struggling alone!


Our next stop? CUNY.
–       CUNY students at The New School in Exile


Frank at 718.314.2328, fmanning {AT}
Conor Tomás Reed at 979.204.9253, cocoreed {AT}


—-below we attach the communiqué from all of The New School in Exile—–


An Open Letter: Come Occupy a Building with Us…Now


Dear Friends,


We are writing to you from the inside of the New School Graduate Faculty Building on 65 5th Ave.  We are occupying it. Right now. Literally.


Students of the New School University, along with our partners from other universities and groups ­ like NYU, Hunter College, City College of NY, CUNY Graduate Center, and Borough of Manhattan Community College, have organically risen up to demand the resignation of President Bob Kerrey, Executive Vice President James Murtha, and Board Member/torturer Robert B. Millard (he multi-tasks). We have come together to prevent our study spaces from being flattened by corporate bulldozers, to have a say in who runs this school, to demand that the money we spend on this institution be used to facilitate the creation of a better society, not to build bigger buildings or invest in companies that make=2 0war. We have come here not only to make demands, but also to live them. Our presence makes it clear that this school is ours, and yours, if you are with us.


The outside doors have been closed now, so we can’t exactly invite you in…sorry… We know you wanted a piece of the action, but we’ll be around for quite some time. Join us at 7 AM tomorrow when the doors open again, or come now to stand outside with a sign in solidarity. You are cordially invited to join us in any way you can. We are not going anywhere. In the meantime, check out our Web site: We have all night to make things interesting, and the website will continue to be updated. Stay tuned for the musical pieces, doctoral dissertations, and creative finger-paintings that seem to be the natural result of 150 students locked into a building together for a night.


We are here, making decisions collectively, doing teach-ins, listening to music, studying, singing. We’ve got an upright bassist, guitarists and vocalists (If anyone can volunteer a drum-set we’ll be well on our way…). We’ll be here until this university changes, or until the party gets boring (but it doesn’t seem likely that will happen). We’re not going anywhere. We hope to see you soon, and if you really can’t wait a few hours ­ what the hell ­ occupy your own universities or work spaces.


Come use your voice to declare loudly that this school and this world are yours. Come use your mind to think up a better world. Come use your body to create it, one all-nighter in the university cafeteria at a time. Come stand in solidarity with the students, faculty, and staff of this university. Come to write letters of support to the people of the village of Thanh Phong whose parents were murdered by the current President of the New School during his service in Vietnam. Come join the struggle with the people of Iraq who are being tortured and killed by a company funded by this university and represented on the New School Board of Trustees. Come here to join the uprisings and outpouring of passionate resistance currently taking place all over this country, and all over the worlds ­ from factory workers in Chicago to students in Greece. Come for yourself. Come for all of us.


In solidarity,
The New School in Exile

From various sources Wednesday night…
New School Building Occupied 
To members of Campus Antiwar Network
Ian Chinich
Today at 12:54am

I am currently sitting inside a barricaded room with a large number of students at the New School. The students have occupied the building and are refusing to leave until their demands are met. They want the resignation of20the director of L-3 Communications from their board of governors in addition to stopping tuition increases, and divulging investment information.



We need support. We need food… we need media support… we need help spreading the word… we need you to occupy your schools and your work places… A number of students from other schools in the area have come to help us hold this space. So far the police have not forced their way in….. security has padlocked the fire escape to prevent more of us from getting in…a security guard attempted to enter over our barricades in the front to listen in but he was surrounded, we are holding our ground and we are holding out…. we shall see what happens in the morning.

Come to 14th street and 5th Avenue….. NOW!!!!…


Maria Lewis sent a message to the members of TAKE BACK NYU!



Subject: Come Join the SIt-In at the New School!


Greetings from liberated space! Come join us at the New School sit-in and demand student democracy and an end to school-sanctioned war profiteering! Like Take Back NYU!, New School students are fighting for student power and an end to campus complicity in systematic injustice. Let’s stand by our allies!!!


We are currently occupying 65 5th Ave. btwn. 13th and 14th street. Call me at (415)240-9441 and I will get you in. Please come join us, we need every heart, mind and body we can get. I have pasted a full explanation and li st of demands below.


What We Want:


The removal of Bob Kerrey as President of our university


The removal of James Murtha as Executive Vice President of our university


Election of the president, EVP, and Provost Students, faculty, and staff


Students as voting members of the interim committee to hire a provost

The removal of Robert B. Millard as treasurer of the board of trustees


Intelligible transparency and disclosure of the university budget and
The creation of a committee on socially responsible investments
The immediate suspension of capital improvement projects like the
tearing down of 65 fifth Ave


Instead, money towards the creation of an autonomous student space


Instead, money towards scholarships and reducing tuition


Instead, money for the library and student life generally




Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2008 22:40:47 -0800 (PST)
From: dan vea <dan_vea>
Subject: [NYMAA] some new school occupation resources












On Kerrey:







Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Rikowski web site, The Flow of Ideas is at:

Glenn’s blog, Volumizer is at:

Currently listening:
Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever
By Explosions in the Sky
Release date: 2001-09-04





The Rouge Forum – Update December 2008



A message from Rich Gibson



Dear Friends,

Now that the NEA and AFT poured millions of dollars and thousands of volunteer hours into electing Obama, and Obama appointed Chicago’s education-thug Arne Duncan, we can see what is on the socio-economic horizon; a still more accelerated assault on poor and working people in schools and out. AFT’s boss, Randi Weingarten has already endorsed Duncan.

With tax bases evaporating as the economy disintegrates, education workers can expect to see that attack develop, soon, in the form of layoffs, increased class size, demands for wage and benefits cuts. At the same time, our students’ lives will churn even more as foreclosures boom and their parents’ jobs vanish. No union has prepared people for the period ahead, and none will.

This fine cartoon describes our situation quite well:

People will fight back because people must, to live. At issue is whether the resistance will make sense, and win.

Already, the British Columbia Teachers Union has moved to boycott high stakes exams in solidarity with kids, and the youth of Greece show, once again, that youth can initiate social change, if not carry it through.

More, Chicago’s Republic workers resurrected the direct action tactic, the sit-down strike, winning a very limited victory, but showing us all that building seizures can work.

This is what the Rouge Forum has predicted for nearly a decade. One of the projects our steering committee initiated is ever more urgent now. Hence, the note below from Rouge Forum Steering Committee Coordinator, Adam Renner about the rebirth of the Rouge Forum News.


It’s time to restart the Rouge Forum News; it’s time for our 13th edition!


The economy continues its descent.  Runaway capitalism slides off its rails. The results of deregulation rear their hyrdra-like head(s).  The Bush tax cuts illustrate what applying leeches to a patient who is bleeding to death must feel like. The numbers can no longer be faked, massaged, or hidden. CEOs are given a free pass while blue collar workers must fight (sit-in, resist, etc.) for their lives.  And, the blowing embers of neoliberalism might (finally) begin to flicker away.  Needless to say, we are faced with a financial crisis we have not seen for some time.  Few groups/publications have had the courage to maintain their voice, keeping the critique of capitalism in the forefront of the struggle (even when the markets would suggest otherwise). 

Alongside folks at the Monthly Review, the International Socialist Review, and a few alternative news sites, educators in the Rouge Forum have also continued to keep their voices strong, consistently 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. 

The Rouge Forum has been attempting to spearhead a mass movement of conscious educators, parents, and students toward connecting reason with power.  Despite the overwhelming power of the opposition, the Rouge Forum, like only a few others, has chosen to continue to struggle–by meeting, by writing, by organizing, by sharing the struggle.  Toward this end, and in order to try to make better sense of how we arrived at this economic moment, the Rouge Forum is reinstating the RF News in 2009.

We’d like our first edition back (our 13th overall) to focus on the financial crisis: histories, analyses, commentaries on the economic state of the union/world. 

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.  We want to publish YOUR story in our next issue.  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 welcome!

We NEED Art!  Songs!  Poems!  Editorial cartoons! Links to online videos or other material! Perhaps you are better at expressing yourself with art or poetry.  Send it in!

We are looking for narratives as well as research and the interplay between research and practice which focus on our current economic meltdown.  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 our Rouge Forum community organizer, Adam Renner: PLEASE SUBMIT BY FEBRUARY 15, 2009.

There will be one more Rouge Forum Update during the holiday season, unless events dictate otherwise.

Thanks to Alan S., Wayne, Bob, Susan H and O, Georgia, Margaret, Candace, Molly, Tally, Judy S., Kathy K, Tammy, Tony H and N, Gil G, Peter, Ravi, Dave, Glenn, Weird Eric, Dirty Edd and Suzanne, Sherry, Greg, Bill, Preston, MrJ, Jtop, Steve C and R, Carol Panetta and Bob Haas, Agops, Vanessa, Cindy . Jill, Sarah, Kelly, Anil, and Amber.

All the best,

Rich Gibson



Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Rikowski web site, The Flow of Ideas is at:

Glenn’s new Volumizer blog is at: