Dear Friends, Here’s to the 4468 of us on the Rouge Forum list who have, in one way or another, sought to fashion reason and connect that to power. Here’s to a decade that lays the foundation for a just and equitable society—fun too!
On the Education Front is a Class War Front This Week:
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National Call for March 4 Strike and Day of Action To Defend Public Education:
California has recently seen a massive movement erupt in defense of public education — but layoffs, fee hikes, cuts, and the re-segregation of public education are attacks taking place throughout the country. A nationwide resistance movement is needed.
We call on all students, workers, teachers, parents, and their organizations and communities across the country to massively mobilize for a Strike and Day of Action in Defense of Public Education on March 4, 2010. Education cuts are attacks against all of us, particularly in working-class communities and communities of color.
The politicians and administrators say there is no money for education and social services. They say that “there is no alternative” to the cuts. But if there’s money for wars, bank bailouts, and prisons, why is there no money for public education?
We can beat back the cuts if we unite students, workers, and teachers across all sectors of public education — Pre K-12, adult education, community colleges, and state-funded universities. We appeal to the leaders of the trade union movement to support and organize strikes and/or mass actions on March 4. The weight of workers and students united in strikes and mobilizations would shift the balance of forces entirely against the current agenda of cuts and make victory possible.
Building a powerful movement to defend public education will, in turn, advance the struggle in defense of all public-sector workers and services and will be an inspiration to all those fighting against the wars, for immigrants rights, in defense of jobs, for single-payer health care, and other progressive causes.
Why March 4? On October 24, 2009 more than 800 students, workers, and teachers converged at UC Berkeley at the Mobilizing Conference to Save Public Education. This massive meeting brought together representatives from over 100 different schools, unions, and organizations from all across California and from all sectors of public education. After hours of open collective discussion, the participants voted democratically, as their main decision, to call for a Strike and Day of Action on March 4, 2010. All schools, unions and organizations are free to choose their specific demands and tactics — such as strikes, rallies, walkouts, occupations, sit-ins, teach-ins, etc. — as well as the duration of such actions.
Let’s make March 4 an historic turning point in the struggle against the cuts, layoffs, fee hikes, and the re-segregation of public education.
– The California Coordinating Committee
The Detroit Federation of Teachers Just Ratified (by 60%) A Contract that Includes a $500 per Month Pay Cut, Merit Pay, Teachers Evaluating Teachers, Almot $30 Million in Health Care Cuts–the Worst Teacher Contract in History (solely in order to ensure AFT dues income). Here is American Federation of Teachers Boss, Randi Weingarten, in a New York Times ad appearing in the Sunday December 13 edition of the Week In Review on p. 5: “What Matters Most: Detroit Teaches America a Valuable Lesson…This tentative agreement includes several reforms that will drive the enhancement of school achievement, including school based bonuses, peer assistance, and review and a new, comprehensive teacher evaluation system. At the same time, both parties recognize the severe financial conditions of the district and sought innovative approaches to saving money. Teachers, who are also struggling in these tough times, are being asked to sacrifice – by agreeing to a reduction in pay received now and deferring pay increases until the third year of the contract. Teachers will receive a bonus when leaving the district. The players also recognized the need to address skyrocketing health care costs and agreed to measures that will save the district millions…”
Susan Ohanian on the Ratt Money and Gates: “ Let Bill Gates Fix Windows and Leave Schools Alone.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-ohanian/raise-test-scores-or-die_b_390433.html
Arne Duncan Loves Louisiana Teacher Ed Test Scores: “ Through an initiative that Education Secretary Arne Duncan calls a model for the nation, Louisiana has become the first state to tie student test scores into a chain of evaluation that reaches all the way to teacher colleges. Those that fail to perform on this new metric someday could face shake-ups or, in extreme cases, closure. “It’s accountability on steroids,” said E. Joseph Savoie, president of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette…” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/12/AR2009121202631.html
On the Class War at Home–the Economy:
Luxemburg, about 100 Years Ago: “Violated, dishonored, wading in blood, dripping filth – there stands bourgeois society. This is it [in reality]. Not all spic and span and moral, with pretense to culture, philosophy, ethics, order, peace, and the rule of law – but the ravening beast, the witches’ sabbath of anarchy, a plague to culture and humanity. Thus it reveals itself in its true, its naked form. In the midst of this witches’ sabbath a catastrophe of world-historical proportions has happened: International Social Democracy has capitulated…” http://www.marxists.org/archive/luxemburg/1915/junius/ch01.htm
Monthly Review on the Real Economy and the Bubbles: “Insofar as the financial system is growing not by servicing production, but through a process of money simply begetting more money (in Marx’s shorthand M-M ), without the intervening production of commodities, this takes the form of a financial bubble, or an unsustainable explosion of credit/debt. This means that the speculative process depends for its very continuation on the piling up of greater and greater amounts of debt, and in order to do this, it needs to have constant cash infusions from the real economy to provide additional capital that can be “leveraged up.”http://www.monthlyreview.org/091130trainer.php
Chrysler Won’t Pay You Back the $4 Billion: “ A reorganization plan filed in bankruptcy court in New York today by the former Chrysler LLC, now known as Old Carco LLC, shows the automaker will not repay the $4 billion government loan it received in January.Unsecured creditors also are unlikely to recover any of their claims, unless there is a successful outcome in a lawsuit against former Chrysler owner Daimler AG by the Creditors’ Committee.” http://www.detnews.com/article/20091215/AUTO01/912150431/Chrysler-liquidation-plan-won-t-repay-$4B-fed-loan
Wash Post: Banks Free to Fail Again: “…caution was thrown to the wind when Bank of America, Citigroup and then Wells Fargo demanded to be freed of the stigma and extra supervision that came along with the bailout funds.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/15/AR2009121504939.html?nav=rss_opinion/columns
Chalmers Johnson Speaks on His Book, Nemesis: Empire Destroys Democracy and Itself, “a serious American Imperialist would like Bill Clinton better than George Bush.”
http://fora.tv/2007/03/06/Chalmers_Johnson#fullprogram and his January 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on the USA: “Bankruptcy and Collapse: Confronted by the limits of its own vast but nonetheless finite financial resources and lacking the political check on spending provided by a functioning democracy, the United States will within a very short time face financial or even political collapse at home and a significantly diminished ability to project force abroad. http://www.harpers.org/archive/2007/01/0081346
On the International War of the Rich on the Poor Front, Where the Rich Use the Children of the Poor, Everywhere, to Make War on Other Children of the Poor on Behalf of the Rich in the Homeland:
Washington Post: Up to 56,000 more contractors likely for Afghanistan:
And the Obamagogue Defense Budget Booms: “When the Obama Administration first took office, it appeared to many in the government contracting community that the government spending spree would be coming to a halt. Recently, President Obama said “the days of giving defense contractors a blank check are over.” However, given recent events, these fears may prove to be exaggerated, as the Obama Administration looks set to significantly increase the Department of Defense’s budget for 2011..significant opportunities for contractors will be available for the present. The total defense funding requested will be above $700 billion for the first time in history. As the US seeks to deploy an additional 30,000 combat troops to Afghanistan, the opportunities for government contractors will only continue to grow, particularly in added weapons development and providing support. Government contractors can take heart that “reports about [their] death have been greatly exaggerated… ”
China Opens Pipeline Through Asia: “Though helpful to energy-parched China, the project siphons potential supplies from the long-delayed pipeline that the European Union would like to see built from Turkey to Central Europe. Such a project could also tap sources of natural gas in Turkmenistan, a stark illustration of the overlapping energy interests at play in the region…The pipeline is the first major export corridor for natural gas out of the region that does not pass through Russia. It breaks from the Soviet-era design of a pipeline system built to supply Eastern Europe via Russia to the north of Central Asia. The new pipe revives a pre-Soviet view of trade in the region, in which economic exchanges flow east and west, not just through Russia…Russia’s paramount goal is to prevent the West from breaking a monopoly on natural gas pipelines from Asia to Europe, which is the core of Gazprom’s business. The eastbound Chinese pipeline, in contrast, does not undercut an existing Russian export market, because Russia sells no pipeline gas to China now.”
Juan Cole on the Latest from Pipelanistan: “China has landed the big bid to develop a major gas field in Turkmenistan, along with a pipeline to Beijing. Turkmenistan had strongly considered piping the gas to Moscow instead, but developed conflicts with Gazprom. So the US is bogged down in an Afghanistan quagmire, and China is running off with the big regional prize.”http://www.juancole.com/2009/12/china-wins-struggle-for-pipelinestan.html
On the Wolves In Sheeps’ Clothing Front:
Architect of Ford Sellout To Be UAW Boss, After the Rejected Contract is Imposed By the UAW Hacks: On more than one occasion, dissidents booed when King tried to defend the deal at factories from Michigan to Missouri. http://detnews.com/article/20091216/AUTO01/912160432/UAW-nominates-Bob-King-to-be-next-president
Same Work, Half Pay: Thank the UAW: “Even as thousands of Minnesotans hit the unemployment line this year, thousands more who kept their jobs took deep wage cuts or saw their hours cut, resulting in an overall drop in earnings that’s the steepest since the state began reporting wage data in 1970, officials say. That helps explain why Minnesota tax revenue has plummeted and the state faces another big budget deficit.”
Thanks to Peter R., Bill T, Amber, Gina and Adam, Nancy, Katy and Greg and the kids, Marcie, Arturo and Melinda, TC, Sandy H, Sue W, Mr J, MrK, MrZ, Judy T, The Entire DPS gang, Bill, Sherry, Marc and Bonnie, VS, Tommie, Ileana, Erin, the Susans, Terry, Elvira, Tony, Rick W, Eduardo, Hinken, Riley, Beau, David, Agops up in Canada, Wayne, Sandra and Colin (no concussions, dude), Harv, Faith and Craig, the Joes, the Bryan, Ophira, Travis, and Denny–and the entire group that has held up the light of reason for more than a decade.
Good Luck to Us, Every One.