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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:


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