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The Rouge Forum Update – (January 2009)


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:


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 at:

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

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!

Rich Gibson



Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

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