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A World To Win

THE EDUCATION AGENDA IS A WAR AGENDA

The NEA Representative Assembly Proves the Education Agenda is a War Agenda
by Rich Gibson, July 20101

Rank and File Summary

The 2010 Representative Assembly (RA) of the 3.2 million member National Education Association offers clear proof that the U.S. education agenda is a war agenda. It is an empire’s war agenda and a class war agenda. NEA demonstrated that its massive leadership structure of 8,174 delegates approves of the U.S. education agenda and expects to be paid for it. Top NEA leaders will be paid especially well. NEA President Dennis Van Roekel will be paid more than $450,000 (less than his predecessor, Reg Weaver, who was paid $686,949 for his last year of service).

Lesser NEA officers and delegate leaders are willing to exchange support for American wars in trade for jobs and income.

The NEA RA slogan, “Hope into Action,” really means, again, “Hope into Hype.”

Given that schools are centripetally positioned in North American life, especially considering decades of de-industrialization, teachers are well positioned to struggle for equality and social justice but their largest organization, NEA, and its leaders, determined to drive that potential into the electoral arena, into voting booths, where capital’s favorite question, “What about ME?” dominates every decision- a dead end useful to labor mis-leaders as it:

* keeps the rank and file busy,

* appeals to illusions about democracy in a nation where capitalism tramples pluralism,

* and creates the appearance of powerful action in place of organizing in schools and communities for direct action, strikes, that could lead to sustainable control: real power.

The massive NEA, the largest union in the country, by far, has a budget of $357,993,880, and is going to devote its efforts to continue to support what has rapidly become a corporate state. That budget is a big win for NEA tops who exchange their control over the rank and file, thus labor peace, for dues income offered in the form of check-off operated by employers.

This Devil’s deal provides a very good life for a few. It will lead to more layoffs, wage and benefit cuts, less academic freedom, and the continued organized decay of what passes for “public education,” but is in reality segregated Race to the Top-run mis-education preparing most youths for endless war and bad jobs, or no jobs.

In 2009, the San Diego RA glowed with photos and videos of Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Indeed, Van Roekel hugged Duncan, as I reported in Substance News. There was no reminder this year of Obama Chief of Staff Emanuel’s comment about why schools exist: “They’re conveyor belts for the economy.”

This year, NEA, which poured millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of dollars into the demagogue’s campaign, erased Obama’s and Duncan faces and, dodging direct personal attacks proposed by delegates, criticized only their polices. Specifically, Van Roekel dragged out the old liberal saw:

“If we are not the activists in politics, we will be the victims of politics,” Van Roekel warned the delegates. “ We simply cannot sit it out. There is too much at stake!” Van Roekel remains proud that the White House still lets him in. Nevertheless, Van Roekel had to acknowledge a growing movement opposed to the blind canyon of electoral work, demanding organizing for substantive, to-the-root, change.

NEA competes on par with US corporations in campaign funding. The union, or “professional association,” as many prefer, raised $1,552, 585 so far in 2010. We’re but six months in.

Van Roekel’s  threat to those who created the NCLB-in-hyper-speed Race to the Top (Ratt), meaning the Obama/Duncan team? Send a post card, in fact, a lot of postcards! Power! Hope! Action?

The most glaring example of the NEA bosses’ dedication to an education program devoted to war was their determination to crush Legislative Amendment.13. The text which has been deleted from the NEA RA web site reads:

“NEA opposes any war funding bill designed to continue our military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq even if it has riders with educational components. The Rationale: The best way to fund our schools and employ our teachers is to end our wars and direct that funding to education. Submitted by Tom Wolfe, Iowa, and 50 delegates.”

That motion was defeated, overwhelmingly.

NEA offered its authoritative director of governmental relations to make the opposing case: “If this passes, we would oppose saving members’ jobs.”

NEA delegates shut down debate about every anti-war motion, and defeated several, but for one which suggests a withdrawal with no specific target date: essentially weaker than the lie Obama presents about July, 2011.

NEA rejected a call for a Day of Strikes and Action on October 7th , the call from the March 4th committees, ad hoc groups that shut down thousands of schools that day in 2010, involved hundreds of thousands of new activists with a critique of capital and war that offers a glimmer of hope.

While there were clear indications of rising dissent in the union, as with the need to hide the memory of Van Roekel hugging Arne Duncan, NEA delegates, chose to severely limit debate about war and inequality. However, they did spent a notable 24 minutes debating whether to adopt the term, “staph,” or “staphylococcus,” in one motion.

The power of the chair, the ability to control NEA employees, and dangle jobs or promotions before delegates, worked well to divert attention to trivia while what can only be called fascism evolved within and without the convention hall. An organization with a culture more than 150 years deep finds old habits hard to upend.

NEA mis-leaders repeatedly urged delegates to “focus,” meaning, take on a cycloptic view that isolates schools from society and, at base, look out for yourself, be one of those thousands of forms of selfishness that keeps capital afloat. Their “focus” seeks to freeze images of emerging change and disconnect the ties of war, exploitation, requisite assaults on reason to produce obedience and loyal subjects, and schooling.

The core issue of our time is the real promise of perpetual war coupled with rising, color-coded, inequality met by the potential of mass, class-conscious resistance which will, clearly now, have to fight its way through a union bureaucracy willing to use money, deception, illusions, and force, in order to defend the system of capital, its wars, and now, demolition of the earth itself.

Tomorrow and in coming days in Substance, a detailed, day-to-day, analysis of the RA, NEA culture, and thoughts for future NEA activists and delegates.

The RA adjourned July 6th, at 7:28 on my watch. See you in Chicago for the 2011 RA. And good luck to us, every one.

Rich Gibson

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THE ROUGE FORUM – UPDATE 28th AUGUST 2009

 

 

A message from Rich Gibson

 

Dear Friends

This will be the last update until after Labor Day. This one should hold up for readers until then.

Action Oriented Links:

Please note and try to attend the Freedom in Education Meeting in Fresno this weekend:
http://www.susanohanian.org/show_nclb_stories.html?id=399

Call for Papers, the Rouge Forum News Number 15: http://therougeforum.blogspot.com/

The Rouge Forum Immortalized at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rouge_Forum

Deadline For Nominations to the Rouge Forum Steering Committee is September 1.

We recognize with sadness: the doors at Room 101, an incisive radio program on KZUM hosted by Michael Baker, are closed. Mr Baker’s long run on the radio included interviews with key radical and progressive voices in education from Noam Chomsky to Wayne Ross and liberals as well. Congratulations to Michael Baker on a great run. Two, three, many Room 101s!

There are, at the beginning of the school year, 4,516 on our email list. Wish it was more? Send it along. Invite a friend.

Endless War:

Obamagogue Spins War News With the Best of Them: http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=64348

Holy Cow! The Afghans are Not Helping: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/23/world/asia/23marines.html?_r=1&hp

Double Holy Cow! The CIA Threatens and Beats People! http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/25/us/politics/25detain.html?_r=1&th&emc=th

“General Pickett, send more men.” “But, General Lee, I have no more men.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/24/world/asia/24military.html?hp

Warlord Dostum Joins Karzai: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/227/story/73809.html?storylink=omni_popular

Council on Foreign Relations: Afghanistan is NOT a War of Necessity: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/21/opinion/21haass.html?_r=1

and Oh Yes it Is, It’s The Pipelines, Stupid: http://prorev.com/2009/08/why-is-afghanistan-so-important.html

William Calley: Sorry About That: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/08/21/us/AP-US-My-Lai-Massacre.html?scp=1&sq=calley&st=cse

Mercs Outnumber US Troops in Afghanistan: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/08/22-0

Aghanistan’s Rigged Election: http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE57E0D620090823

Brother Can You Spare A Dime?

Unemployment Uber Alles: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aNaqecavD9ek
html?_r=1&hp

California Unemployment Hits Post WW2 High: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-caljobs22-2009aug22,0,6343107.story

Detroit Unemployment at 28.9% http://www.freep.com/article/20090827/NEWS01/90827037/1320/Detroit-jobless-rate-a-record-28.9

Nope, But if You Are A Banker, Here is $12.9 Trillion, No Strings, No Kidding. It is Yours. Woo hoo.

Video–Where is that Tarp? What Tarp? What Me Worry? “I have to tell you honestly, I am shocked to find out that nobody at the Federal Reserve, including the Inspector General, is keeping track of [the unaccounted for trillions].”
http://www.examiner.com/x-6495-US-Intelligence-Examiner~y2009m5d22-Federal-Reserve-Inspector-General-hedges-on-trillions-missing-in-Congressional-hearing

The Stim is Definitely Working? Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/2009/08/25/christina-romer-stimulus-consumption-peter-rupert-opinions-columnists-thomas-f-cooley.html?feed=rss_opinions

The Education Agenda is a War Agenda:

Ohanian on Duncan’s Merit Pay Schemes: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/diane-ravitch/obamas-awful-education-pl_b_266412.html

The Education Stimulus is a Merity Pay Stimulus:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/17/education/17educ.

Ravitch on Obama’s Awful Education Plan:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/diane-ravitch/obamas-awful-education-pl_b_266412.html

The State As an Executive Committee and Armed Weapon of the (Corrupt) Rich:

Holy Double Dog Cow: Hillbillary’s and Obamagogues Pals are Crooks: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/26/nyregion/26fraud.html?hp

Notorious Friends of Hillbillary: http://prorev.com/hillaryfriends.htm

John Pilger on Brand Obama: http://www.uruknet.de/?s1=1&p=56998&s2=16

Yes, We Told Them So: The Demoagogue

It is probably not all that helpful to announce that we told you so, but….Yup, we told many people so.
        The core issue of our time is the rapid rise of color-coded inequality and the emergence of world war met by the potential of a mass, class-conscious resistance.
        These are not “public” schools we see. They are capitalist schools in a society where capitalism trumped whatever vestiges of democracy existed a decade ago. They are segregated schools. That’s not merely the result of bad people doing bad things, exploiting others (though they surely are bad people) but also the consequence of a social system dependant on exploitation—meaning inequality.
        The education agenda is a war agenda. It is a capitalism in crisis agenda, a Regimented National Curriculum agenda, mostly to promote nationalism.
        Such a curriculum necessarily sets up anti-working class and racist high-stakes tests. Both teacher unions, the NEA and AFT, helped design both the national curriculum and the high-takes exams. They are in no position to stop the next step. The professional organization, from NCTE to AHA to NCSS and all in between, proved more than impotent, they too collaborated.
        Those tests necessarily and logically lead to merit pay which already exists in the deep divide in, say, Detroit and suburb pay and benefits.
         Militarization of schooling is part of the war agenda.
        To some degree, privatization and charters are part of the war agenda. Privatization serves some sectors of elites, and others not. Why fully abandon a huge, tax supported, funnel for war, ignorance, and inequality; missions for capitalism and their unwitting, ever so nice, missionaries.
        Restoring hope is part of the agenda, but it is false hope. The future is war, inequality, unemployment, horrible options for youth and it will not change without a mass social movement for equality.
        All of these interconnected attacks on life and reason have already happened, all over the western world.
        Merely opposing any one of these factors, like merit pay, but not the rest just reinforces the entire project. As we see, NEA now dishonestly speaks out about merit pay, but NEA backed the regimented curricula and high stakes exams, sharply attacked people like Susan Ohanian who spoke against them, and dumped the students who suffered most from them.
        Too late for NEA which is merely trying to keep the rubes sending dues money, but there is now nothing much NEA can do. Only direct action strikes, boycotts, etc., can halt the drive to the factors described above.
        NEA has done nothing at all to prepare for that, and is not likely to do so. The union leaders are completely corrupt and their structures don’t unite people. They divide people: city from suburb, students from teachers, teachers from other public workers and private employees—as easily seen in the California Teachers Association’s effort to pass off a tax on poor and working people just months ago, a project that cost dues-payers millions of dollars and failed miserably, convincing the public, again, that educators want to pick their pockets.
        What would be helpful is to wonder about the analytical and critical mistake that led to all that support for Obama, a demagogue.
Several things led to that.
        1. A misunderstanding of capitalist democracy which is now sheer capitalism and little democracy. There was no significant difference between the Bush/Obama/McCain or even Clinton policies. Obama has betrayed, if we take his consistency as a betrayal, nearly all of his liberal supporters who, for what have to be psychological reasons, still support his personification of the reign of capital which has, among other things, failed in every important arena of human life.
        2. A misunderstanding of the gravity of the current situation vis a vis the war of empires. The US is in rapid decline in relationship to Russia China and even Europe and Japan—economically and militarily, and the US has lost any ability to promote itself as a moral nation, internally and externally. This puts extraordinary pressure on elites who need soldiers, Boeing workers, prison guards, and teachers too.
        3. A misreading of the real internal crisis inside the US; the rapid rise of segregation and inequality–which has not, yet, led to civil rebellions. But everything is in place to lay the ground for those uprisings, except a left which can make sense of why things are as they are, and what to do. Lost wars. Collapsed economies. Immoral leaders caught with dozens of hands in a thousand cookie jars, war without reason pulling 1.5 million people into direct action—and the wreckage of their lives. All that should, and more, should mean massive resistance. But that has not happened? Why not? No draft. No left. Spectacles. Divide and Rule. Carrot and stick. The education system.  The same ways tyrants always ruled.
        4. The continuing appeal of racism and nationalism.
        5. Acceptance of the division of labor inside academia which means, for example, historians talk to historians and write books while literacy people talk to literacy people and write books, and few academics seriously organize anything at all, as the state of the campuses (and open willingness of the overwhelming majority of faculty to abandon their academic freedom in favor of standards) now. This also means historians, as in AHA, don’t pay much attention to teaching while too many education personnel don’t know much history.
        6. A general public so mindless about history and social processes that it can rightly be called hysterical, potentially dangerous. Steeped in spectacles and consumerism for more than a decade, so vacant about their location in the world that Chalmers Johnson says they cannot connect cause and effect (as with the endless wars, but in regard to schooling as well). Fickle to the core, they howled for Bush, abandoned him when things went wrong, then another bunch howled for Obama, and now we see a new crowd howling about health care–all leaping for thousands of forms of selfishness that keeps the the war of all on all that is the system of capital alive and well.
        Not recognizing the historical moment, rejecting the real whole of the situation, capitalism in decay everywhere, shatters analytical and strategic capability, meaning many people cannot tell left from right, muddle along looking for someone else to save us when no one but the collective Us is going to save us.
        This, written months before the election and originally published in Workplace, online, is now floating around the net.
http://la.indymedia.org/news/2009/08/229885.php Those who are not angry and screeding a bit these days may not be witnessing the ravages of war, hunger, unemployment, and unreason itself.
        Yup. We told them so. Big deal. Those who have not made a big mistake in life can be absolved. We are all lambs among wolves. But we do not have to be lambs among wolves if we recognize, and act on, the role of class consciousness.

Good luck to us, every one.

Congratulations to Sharon, Amber and the gang at a wonderful new school. Thanks to Adam, Wayne, Gina, (Good health to Bob), Donna, Erin, Taylor, Jody, That Great Family, Irene and Tom, Della, Emily W, Sherry, Marc, Mary and Paul, Joe L, The Susans (always), Lucita, Marisol, Vincente, Arturo, Allen, Greg, Carrie, Harv, Norm, Frank, Teeyah, Glenn R, Dave (happy wedding), and Candace.

RICH GIBSON

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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THE ROUGE FORUM – UPDATE 14 JULY 2009

A message from Rich Gibson

Dear Friends

Below is a call for nominations for the Rouge Forum Steering Committee from Community Coordinator Adam Renner–and below that more resources on the system of capital versus education, including analyses of the National Education Association Representative Assembly.

The Rouge Forum is a group of educators, students, and parents seeking a democratic society. We are concerned with questions like: How can we teach against racism, nationalism and sexism in an increasingly authoritarian and undemocratic society? How can we gain enough real power to keep our ideals AND teach? Whose interests do schools serve in a society that is ever more unequal? We want to learn about equality, democracy and social justice as we simultaneously struggle to bring those into practice.
 
Needless to say, work toward these goals in the spirit of justice, demands organization.  The Rouge Forum is now more than 10 years old. Over the first decade of its existence, members have built an international network of around 4500 professors, teachers, students, artists, and other social service workers.  We have engaged in actions, put on conferences, written papers, and built the capacity of our community.  We have done these things with no attachment to any hierarchy or any official organizing strategies.  Wanting to keep the horizontal nature of such a network while also desiring to better coordinate our actions, the RF is currently accepting nominations for the 09-10 Steering Committee.
 
Members of the Steering Committee will be expected to actively promote the 2010 conference and attend where possible, help develop and actively participate in Regional RF Chapters, attend the Fall Steering Committee retreat, promote the RF at other conferences, seek out like-minded people and organizations to link the RF with, provide essays for the Rouge Forum News where possible, and build the capacity of our community by support of its members.Please send your nomination to Adam Renner at arenner@bellarmine.edu by August 15, 2009On the Education for Liberation Front:  

In particular this steering committee will be crucial toward the formation of Regional Chapters, mentioned in the list above.  We would like to see regular meetings of the regional chapters and work toward some type of coordinated action (e.g., a one day freedom school, a teach-in, a one-day retreat for teachers, an evening panel/speaker on a coordinated topic, a protest action, etc. as a lead up to the 2010 conference and as a preview of more focused, coordinated, and regular actions in the future). Perhaps in organizing more locally/regionally, we can spend more time face to face, as well as enacting nation/world – wide coordinated actions.

 

 

Two great, censored, photos of Arne Duncan, teaching: http://susanohanian.org/show_nclb_cartoons.html?id=601

Detroit Schools May File Bankruptcy, Could Void Contracts–Using the GM Model:
http://www.freep.com/article/20090709/NEWS01/90709050/Bankruptcy-considered-for-DPS
If a bankruptcy judge allows this unprecedented school bankruptcy, it could mean wages slashed in half, pensions and health benefits gutted. If it happens in Detroit, it sets the stage for many others.

Substance News on the Wrap-up of the National Education Association Conference:
http://www.substancenews.net/

Vote: Should 11,000 CSU Faculty (all of them signed a loyalty oath) take a 10% Pay Cut? The Union Bosses don’t know. “NOTE: The CFA Board did not take a position on how members should vote.” http://www.calfac.org/furloughvoteinfo.html

The State of US Unionism:

Union Hacks Slug it Out–Solidarity Forever: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/09/business/09labor.html?em
but nothing will stop them from uniting for a free lunch with The Obmagogue:
http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/07/union-leaders-to-meet-with-obama-next-week/?scp=1&sq=van%20roekel%20obama%20stern&st=cseThe International Scene:

Mediations, a left journal from South Africa, with many fascinating critiques:
http://www.mediationsjournal.org/

 

Parenti on Obama and the coup in Honduras which sparked a nation-wide school strike:
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/07/08-3

Obamagogue (of  the AIG, Madoff, Enron,  Martha Stewart, etc, USA) lectures Africans on Corruption:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-obama-africa12-2009jul12,0,7755225.storyStiglitz on Auditing the $3 Trillion Wars: http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2009/07/auditing_the_iraq_war_and_its.html
Thanks to Amber, Brian, George and Sharon, Susan O and H, Joe, Mark, Jesus, Donna, Candace, Lance, Sheri, Ken, Barb, Matthew, Bill, Jane W and friends, Mike L and A, Perry, Kathryn, TC, Tony H, Hilda, Marisol, Brit, Della, and Bill.

 

Good luck to us, every one.

Rich Gibson

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The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

THE ROUGE FORUM – UPDATE 6th JULY 2009

A message from Rich Gibson

Dear Friends 
 
The Rouge Forum No Blood For Oil (with those good-for-the-rest of your life posters on sale!) is updated at: http://www.richgibson.com/rouge_forum/ 
 
On the Madness and Boredom Front: 
Substance News is carrying reports from the National Education Association’s Representative Assembly, running through Monday, here: http://www.substancenews.net/ 
 
On the Educational Miracles Front: 
Substance has exposed the Chicago Miracle, the reason Arne Duncan holds his position as Ed Boss, for years. However, here is another expose, from an unexpected source: http://www.chicagobusiness.com/downloads/CPS.pdf 
 
On the What Do You Mean We Had Something to Do With that Coup and What Do We Know About the School of the Americas Front: http://www.soaw.org/ 
 
On the Everyone Can Make it in America Front, the Jobless Rate Hits a 26 Year High: 
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/jul/02/us-unemployment-june-467000 
 
On the Someone is Actually Doing Something About all of This Front: The San Francisco Freedom School is open for summer: http://educationanddemocracy.org/SFFS/2009program.html 
 
Russian Students are Resisting: http://www.rferl.org/content/Russias_New_Standardized_Exams_Fail_The_Public_Test/1761799.html  
You can do something too. There is one organization in North America, rooted in education, that connects the wars, unemployment, de-industrialization, class struggle, and the crises in schools: The Rouge Forum. Next week we will circulate a call for nominees for this year’s Rouge Forum Steering Committee. We urge you to join us. Please spread the word. 
 
Thanks to all the courageous delegates at the NEA RA who spoke to me and gave me so much information. You’ll see it in print in the coming days. If you are still at the RA and we have not met, please email me asap, or we can talk when you get home. 
 
Thanks too to Amber, Wayne, Adam, Bob, Colleen, Tammy, Christina, Katie and Greg, Bill, Joe, Sally, Sue, Donna, Kathy Y and E, Gil, Tony, Jill, Eric, Marcie, Isabella, Victoria, Donnie, Tally, Shawndre, Teeyah, Pete, and Doug. 
 
Good luck to us, every one. 
Rich Gibson

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

THE ROUGE FORUM UPDATE RESTORED TO LIFE

A message from Rich Gibson

Dear Friends

Following the Rouge Forum Conference at Eastern Michigan, health issues interrupted the updates. But we’re restored to life.

The conference was a terrific success with more than 150 people attending, folks of all ages. Thanks especially to Joe Bishop and the EMU gang for pulling together a great conference. Conference videos and papers are linked here: http://www.richgibson.com/rouge_forum/2009/index.html

What follows is from RF Community Coordinator Adam Renner:

• “We are actively working on a site for the 2010 conference (sounds like we might be onto something with Faith Wilson at Aurora) and a location for the fall Steering Committee retreat (sounds like we might be onto something with Joe in Antioch)

• Two calls for papers are out for the RF News. Issue 14 will compile papers and keynotes from this year’s conference (and we are considering, perhaps, turning this in to an edited text). Issue 15 proposals are due August 15.

• We will be sending out a call for nominations for the 09-10 Steering Committee, requesting a paragraph as to why you would like to serve. We will vote on those nominations, subsequently. This call will follow the July 4 holiday.

• This steering committee will be crucial toward the formation of more intentional regional chapters. We would like to see regular meetings of the regional chapters and work toward some type of coordinated action (e.g., a one day freedom school, a teach-in, a one-day retreat for teachers, an evening panel/speaker on a coordinated topic, a protest action, etc. as a lead up to the 2010 conference and as a preview of more focused, coordinated, and regular actions in the future)

• We are working on an online program as an outlet for RF members to help shape/teach

• We are building toward a 15th anniversary conference in Vancouver, BC in 2013 (perhaps with a one day preview in 2011 as a pre-conference session to AERA which will be held there that year).”

I will be covering the National Education Association annual representative assembly here in San Diego beginning on July 2. If you are a delegate, or attending, please email me and let me know what’s up from your viewpoint.

Good luck to us, every one.

Rich Gibson

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

 The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

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MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

The Rouge Forum – Update 20th May 2009

Rouge Forum Update: War, Decay and Sane Resistance!

A Message from Rich Gibson 

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 thousands 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: http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/13/white-house-wants-a-delay-in-the-release-of-detainee-photos/?hp

Escobar: Pipelineistan Part 2: http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175071/pepe_escobar_pipelineistan_goes_af_pak

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:

Detroit Photo Essay: Who is next? http://inmotion.magnumphotos.com/essay/detroit-troubled-city

Neighbors Prevent Firefighters from Saving Detroit Drug Den: http://www.detnews.com/article/20090518/METRO01/905180378/Neighbors-harass-Detroit-fire-crews-fighting-blaze-at-drug-house

Foreclosures hit high in April http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2009/may/13/us-foreclosure-rates-051309/?california&zIndex=98434

The troubling reality that fascism in the past has sometimes been a popular mass movement: The Third Reich at War:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/17/books/review/Reich-t.html?pagewanted=2&ref=books

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 learn
That 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 old
For 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.
Rich Gibson

 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

The Rouge Forum – Update 5th May 2009

A message from Rich Gobson

Dear Friends

Less than two weeks until the Rouge Forum Conference  ( http://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 month long 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, Vintage
p 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!
Rich Gibson

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

The Rouge Forum – Update 3rd February 2009

 

 

A Message from Rich Gibson

 

 

Dear Friends

February 12th is Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday. Sounds like a good day to remind people about evolution, dialectics, and leaps of change! Have a party! Happy Happy Merry Merry–Charles!

A reminder: set aside May 14th to 17th for the Rouge Forum Conference at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, just minutes from the Detroit Airport. Here is the conference information and call for proposals: http://web.mac.com/wayne.ross/Rouge_Forum_Conference_2009/Welcome.html

United Teachers of LA called for a test boycott, perhaps the first large school worker union to do so: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2009/01/teachers-plan-t.html

Though the boycott is limited to what many RF activists feel is second-tier testing, the idea could well spread. Messages of support can go to the UTLA leadership at: http://www.utla.net/node/863

In France, a general strike was kicked off by teachers and students, proving once again our long held thesis that school workers and students are well positioned to initiate, if not fully carry through, action for social justice: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/jan/29/strike-france-teachers

From the EdNotes blog, a video the United Federation of Teachers (NYC) would prefer that we not see (scroll down a bit):
http://ednotesonline.blogspot.com/

Colleague Chalmers Johnson, author of the Nemisis trilogy, weighs in with “The Looming Crisis at the Pentagon,”
http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175029

We all noticed that Exxon recorded the highest profits ever http://money.cnn.com/2008/02/01/news/companies/exxon_earnings/
and military contractors expect no layoffs whatsoever. War, in many instances, means work.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123327750721631485.html

Bill Zucker sets up a shout, “I want some Tarp!” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGfQk9XXm24

Those who wonder what their NEA union leaders and staff are paid can check EIA, a right-libertarian site, here (there are instructions on how to check on the LMR 2) http://www.eiaonline.com/archives/20090126.htm Note that NEA past president Reg Weaver took home $554,524 and he probably was able to live on his expense account.

The Rouge Forum blogspot is up and running at: http://therougeforum.blogspot.com/ You are welcome to chime in!

Thanks to Eric, Kev, Wayne, Bob, Amber, Tom, Perry, Angie, Stella, O, Donnie A, Jim B, Peter M, Hannah, Beau, Dave, Tommie, Sandy, and Sherry.

All the best

Rich Gibson

 

 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk