Spontaneity of action and organization of thought: In memoriam of the Hungarian Revolution

From the November-December 2016 issue of News & Letters

Editor’s note: This November marks the 60th anniversary of one of the most important revolutions in history. In 1956 Hungarian revolutionaries organized themselves in decentralized workers’ councils, taking control of factories throughout the country. Opposing state-capitalism that called itself “Communism” as well as Western capitalism, the revolutionaries indicated a pathway to transcend value production. This letter’s concept of the relationship of spontaneity and party, and its inseparability from organization of thought, speaks to the dialectics of organization and philosophy. Therefore we reprint Dunayevskaya’s Weekly Political Letter of Sept. 17, 1961. Footnotes by Dunayevskaya are indicated by “RD”; all other footnotes are the editors’.

by Raya Dunayevskaya

Don’t talk to me about space ships, a trip to the moon or Marx, about life in the atomic age….
We live like this. In darkness, in mud, far away….
Don’t tell me it is worse in Africa. I live in Europe, my skin is white. Who will embrace me to make me feel that I am human?
—Karoly Jobbagy, Budapest, April 1956

On Oct. 23, 1956 the Russian puppet regime in Hungary fired on a student youth demonstration in Budapest. Far from dispersing the young students, these were soon joined by the workers from the factories in the outlying suburbs. The Revolution had begun in earnest.

During the following 13 days, ever broader layers of the population revolted. From the very young to the very old, workers and intellectuals, women and children, even the police and the armed forces—truly the population to a man, woman and child—turned against the top Communist bureaucracy and the hated, sadistic AVO (secret police).

The Communist Party, with more than 800,000 members and the trade unions allegedly representing the working population, just evaporated. In its place arose Workers’ Councils, Revolutionary Committees of every sort—intellectuals, youth, the army—all moving away from the Single-Party State.

Hungarian freedom fighters and protestors march on Kossuth Square near Parliament in Budapest, Oct. 25, 1956.

Hungarian freedom fighters and protestors march on Kossuth Square near Parliament in Budapest, Oct. 25, 1956.

Overnight there sprang up 45 newspapers and 40 different parties, but the decisive force of the revolution remained the Workers’ Councils.

When 13 days of armed resistance was bloodily crushed by the might of Russian totalitarianism, the new form of workers’ organization—factory councils—called a general strike. It was the first time in history a general strike followed the collapse of the revolution. It held the foreign imperialist as well as the “new” government at bay for five long weeks.

Even a Janos Kadar1János Kádár (1912-1989) was selected by the Russians to lead the Communist regime in Hungary from 1956 to 1988. had to pretend he was listening to the demands of the Workers’ Councils for control over production and even the possible abrogation of the single-party rule.

As late as Nov. 21, 1956, the Appeal of the Central Workers Council of Great Budapest stated:

“We protest against the attitude of the newly formed ‘Free Trade Unions’ which are ready to accept the workers’ councils merely as economic organs. We declare that in Hungary today the Workers’ Councils represent the real interests of the working class, that there is no stronger political power in the country today than the powers of the Workers’ Councils.”2The Review (published by the Imre Nagy Institute, Brussels), No. 4, 1960.—RD

And on Nov. 30 the Bulletin of the Central Workers Council reported a meeting with Kadar at which they demanded a daily press organ:

“Our position is that the Workers’ Councils are in absolute need of a press organ so that the workers may receive uniform and true information…We also raised the question of the multiparty system.”3The Review. East Europe (New York) of April 1959 also carries an “Eyewitness Report of How the Workers Councils Fought Kadar.”—RD

It was the attempt to publish the Workers’ Journal without state permission that made Kadar realize that “the government was simply ignored. Everyone who had a problem to settle came to us (Central Workers’ Council).”4“My Experiences in the Central Workers’ Council of Greater Budapest” by Miklos Sebestyen, The Review, Vol. III, #2, 1961.—RD That made the Kadar Government, with the help of the Russian Army, move in and dissolve the Councils, on Dec. 9, long after armed resistance had been crushed and the exodus of refugees had reached 200,000, or a full 2% of the total population.

Although the Revolution had been sparked by the intellectuals, not only had the workers borne the main brunt of the fighting, but it was they who had shown the greatest creativity and given the Revolution its historic direction.

Even their support of Premier Imre Nagy5Imre Nagy (1896-1958) was a reformist leader of Hungary who served as Prime Minister again during the revolution in 1956. He was executed by the Russians following the crushing of the revolution. was dependent on his acceptance of the workers’ control over production, a multi-party system of government, and a new type of socialism. Central to it was, an independent Hungary, but this demand for self-determination had nothing in common with narrow bourgeois nationalism. As Imre Nagy himself recognized—it was this fact that brought him to the leadership of a revolution he did not desire—”They want a People’s Democracy where the working people are masters of the country and of their own fate, where human beings are respected, and where social and political life is conducted in the spirit of humanism…An atmosphere of suspicion and revenge is banishing the fundamental feature of socialist morality, humanism.”6Imre Nagy on Communism: In Defense of ‘the New Course’, pp. 49, 56.—RD

This Marxist humanism was in the air since 1955. Because the Communist intellectual caught this in the air, he was assured of leadership of a revolution against Communism.

When the fight against the Stalinist, Rakosi,7Mastyas Rakosi (1892-1971) was a Stalinist leader of Hungary in the late 1940s and 1950s. He was in the USSR at the time of the revolution. had first begun and he called these intellectuals “outsiders,” Tardos had replied that the ruling circle “is not the party. The party is ourselves, those who belong to the other current, who fight for the ideas and principles of humanism and whose aims reflect in ever-increasing measure those of the people and of the country.”8Behind the Rape of Hungary, by F. Fejto. See also my Marxism and Freedom, pp. 62, 255–56 on the Russian debates on Marx’s Humanist Essays, and my Nationalism, Communism, Marxist Humanism and the Afro-Asian Revlutions on the Polish debates.—RD

But though the intellectuals had caught the humanism in the air and set off the revolution, they did not reveal themselves as leaders and organizers at the moment of crisis. The best, the young, however, did recognize that the spontaneity which produced the revolution will see that it does not die.

“As a true Marxist I believe in the inevitability of the historic processes. We know perfectly well that a wave of terror and Stalinist repression will be let loose on us….You know how the revolution broke out—spontaneously, without any kind of preparation. When the police fired on our students, leadership and organization sprung up overnight. Well, we’ll scatter now just as spontaneously as we came together….The revolution can’t die; it will play dead and await its moment to rise again.”9From a report by Peter Schmid quoted in The Hungarian Revolution, edited by Melvin J. Lasky.—RD

Today, when the world stands on the brink of nuclear holocaust, sparked by Russian state-capitalism calling itself “Communism” and U.S. private capitalism calling itself “Democracy,” the page of freedom opened by the Hungarian Revolution shows the only way out of the crisis-wracked capitalist order.

When the 1917 Russian Revolution put an end to the first betrayal of established Marxism, Lenin never wearied of reminding us that without “the dress rehearsal” of 1905, there could have been no successful 1917. Because of the maturity of our age, marked, on the one hand, by the African Revolutions which broke from Western capitalism, and, on the other hand, by the East European Revolutions against Russian totalitarianism, the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 is more than a dress rehearsal for a new European Revolution. It is the dress rehearsal for a world revolution that is out to reconstruct society on new, truly human beginnings and in that way finally bring to an end that which Marx called the pre-history of mankind.


Learn our revolutionary history

The Hungarian Revolution, 1956,  as it happened and as comprehended philosophically.

Marxism and Freedom, from 1776 until Today (1958)
by Raya Dunayevskaya

The Hungarian Revolution—the beginning of the end of Russian totalitarianism:

MnFcoverColor300“When all said that everything was over, the Hungarian Workers’ Councils sprang up. Production remained the key, and the whole brunt of the struggle against Russian tyranny was borne by the workers. They began to fight in the factories, which they were using as their places of refuge. The leaders of the Workers’ Councils were arrested only after they left the factory and walked to the Parliament building to negotiate. The workers evolved new ways of fighting, both on the job and when they walked out on strike. For example, the miners refused to mine coal while the Russian Army remained in Hungary. Nor did they let anyone else mine the coal ‘for the workers.’ When Russian might finally asserted itself through overwhelming force the workers blew up the mines.”

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References   [ + ]

1. János Kádár (1912-1989) was selected by the Russians to lead the Communist regime in Hungary from 1956 to 1988.
2. The Review (published by the Imre Nagy Institute, Brussels), No. 4, 1960.—RD
3. The Review. East Europe (New York) of April 1959 also carries an “Eyewitness Report of How the Workers Councils Fought Kadar.”—RD
4. “My Experiences in the Central Workers’ Council of Greater Budapest” by Miklos Sebestyen, The Review, Vol. III, #2, 1961.—RD
5. Imre Nagy (1896-1958) was a reformist leader of Hungary who served as Prime Minister again during the revolution in 1956. He was executed by the Russians following the crushing of the revolution.
6. Imre Nagy on Communism: In Defense of ‘the New Course’, pp. 49, 56.—RD
7. Mastyas Rakosi (1892-1971) was a Stalinist leader of Hungary in the late 1940s and 1950s. He was in the USSR at the time of the revolution.
8. Behind the Rape of Hungary, by F. Fejto. See also my Marxism and Freedom, pp. 62, 255–56 on the Russian debates on Marx’s Humanist Essays, and my Nationalism, Communism, Marxist Humanism and the Afro-Asian Revlutions on the Polish debates.—RD
9. From a report by Peter Schmid quoted in The Hungarian Revolution, edited by Melvin J. Lasky.—RD

4 thoughts on “Spontaneity of action and organization of thought: In memoriam of the Hungarian Revolution

  1. Sixty years ago, beginning on Oct. 23, 1956, nearly overnight Hungary became the scene of one of deepest most pervasive spontaneous self-organizations of a whole population, fighting for an open free society, free expression and workers control of production. The enormity of this moment has still to be digested but, in many ways, has been forgotten. As Dunayevskaya put it in this article from 1961: “The Communist Party, with more than 800,000 members and the trade unions allegedly representing the working population, just evaporated. In its place arose Workers’ Councils, Revolutionary Committees of every sort—intellectuals, youth, the army—all moving away from the Single-Party State.

    “Overnight there sprang up 45 newspapers and 40 different parties, but the decisive force of the revolution remained the Workers’ Councils.”

    After 13 days the Russians invaded and installed a new government headed by Janos Kadar, who with the Russian army crushed the armed resistance and created 200,000 refugees or 2% of the population. But even then factory councils and the Workers’ Councils pulled off a general strike, remaining in effect an alternate center of power and demanding the right to publish their own Workers’ Journal. The Councils, refusing to give up their own independent voice, were then dissolved with the help of the Russian army on December 9. Very little is known by today’s youth or in general thought about this moment outside of being generally for Workers’ Councils. What will follow are a few observations I would like to make on the import of this particular article (reprinted also in N&L on the Revolution’s 50th anniversary without much discussion) in the development of Dunayevskaya’s Marxist-Humanism as well as the continuing philosophic/revolutionary fallout from the Hungarian Revolution in today’s sobering reality.

    Observation I: Hungarian Revolution and Marx’s Humanism

    In our time of multiple outcroppings of fascism throughout the globe, “there is no such thing,” said a Trump spokeswoman, “…as facts.” Hungary’s Viktor Orban is infamous for his brutal treatment of fleeing Syrian refugees and most recently for closing down Hungary’s last opposition newspaper. Shamelessly commemorating the Hungarian Revolution which had an explosion of all sorts of free expression, Orban’s fascist regime is its total opposite. Since his rise Orban has done everything possible to cut off information and institutes dedicated to telling the story of the Hungarian Revolution as it really happened, including closing access to the archives of the globally renowned Hegelian-Marxist scholar, Georg Lukacs, who did play a role in the days leading up to the revolution.

    In the months before the Revolution, dissident intellectuals in the party had broken with Stalinism and opened a discussion of the nature of free socialist Hungary. They mostly did not break with the concept of the leading role of the party, but the meetings of the Petofi Society drew a mass audience. In other words, “What future for Hungary?” preoccupied the whole population. A discussion on June 27, 1956 drew an audience of 6000 people and lasted till morning. Tibor Tardos addressed the crowd, proclaiming, that the ruling circle “is not the party. The party is ourselves … who fight for the ideas and principles of humanism and whose aims reflect in ever-increasing measure those of the people and of the country.”

    This is the idea, which masses took as their own. This “In Memoriam: Hungarian Revolution” became pivotal to Dunayevskaya’s Marxist-Humanism, although the distinction it made between “spontaneity of action” and “organization of thought” was more clearly laid out three months later in a January, 1962 essay on Mao. The conclusion to that piece, “Two Kinds of Subjectivity,” contrasting Mao’s concept of subjectivity with that of the Hungarian revolutionaries was the first version of what was later (1964) added to Marxism and Freedom.

    “Organization of thought” comes front and center in “Two Kinds of Subjectivity” in order to bring out the meaning of the Hungarian Revolution. Latter day followers of C.L.R. James and others like the Situationists single out the emergence of new freely associated forms of spontaneous organization and direct democracy, the Hungarian Revolution’s Workers’ Councils. As important an achievement as that was, which Dunayevskaya also hails, its significance does not overshadow the Revolution posing the need for a new “organization of thought,” by which Dunayevskaya meant a new unity of concept and reality. The Revolution posed the need to unite concept and reality because it aimed to not only oppose what is but reached for Marx’s positive humanist vision of reality that comes from within.

    Hungarian Revolutionaries raised Marx’s humanism as freedom from Communism. “The goal of human development, the form of human society,” which Marx had warned is not communism, took center stage against the single-party-state. From 1844 on Marx’s concept of specifically “human development” is the absolute opposite of human activity being reduced to a mere means to life (Alienated Labor). Humans mutually recognizing themselves as beings who freely direct their everyday life activity, is a principle, which never changes but is open to the new. The creative power of the negative in diverse movements continuously knocks down barriers to specifically human development. Fully recognizing this unchanging principle brings forth positive humanism beginning from itself. What more can be said of that?

    Ron
    “Party of the Concept”

  2. Observation II: “The Mystery of Subjectivity”

    In response to the Hungarian Revolution Dunayevskaya singled out Marx’s humanism as an absolute opposite to an unfree world in order to draw a clear distinction between “two kinds of subjectivity.” Marx’s universal of specifically human development is an idea whose certainty of its own actuality is not only an assertion of the non-actuality of the alienating world. The certainty of this universal stands on its own as a new self-moving unity of diverse movements. Dunayevskaya contrasts Marx’s humanism with an opposite subjectivity whose certainty of its own actuality and the non-actuality of the world has “no regard for objective conditions.”

    Then the most apt personifier of this type of subjectivity was Mao, who was and remains a pole of attraction for the Left. There was some question about relating that type of subjectivity to Trump via Dunayevskaya’s very prescient 1957 discussion on 19th century novelist Melville’s view of the “mystery of human subjectivity”:

    (From “The Confidence Man in Literature & Life” by Raya Dunayevskaya, News & Letters, February 5, 1957.)
    “One hundred years ago the great American writer, Herman Melville, wrote The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade. It was a story about a trip down the Mississippi in an old steamer called Fidele, or Faithful. Everyone on board was either a con-man or a sucker. Everyone was in the game, trying to get something for nothing or at the next man’s expense.

    “They talked about faith when they believed in nothing. They bragged that no one could fool them when they swallowed every lie. Although there is no violence aboard, it is a tale of horror, the horror that comes from the man himself when he is a ‘man-charmer as certain East Indians are called snake-charmers.’ Melville sums it up as ‘the mystery of human subjectivity.’ The mystery, however, is dispelled when you look at the objective forces swaying the America of his day, 1856.

    “America was then four years away from the Civil War that was to tear out the old poison of slavery. But on the surface life went on unchanged and hypocrisy pretended it would never change. The confidence racket was being played for stakes as large as life–the life of the Negro slave. It was this crisis of a nation that transformed the cheap, egotistic, self-centered con-man into a ‘a social type.’

    “We can see this clearer today than in Melville’s day not only because we look at it with hindsight, but because we too live in a birth-time of history when the great masses have not yet come on the historic stage to decide the form of the new society. The totality of the crisis the world over weighs one down oppressively and makes of us all prey to the braggadocio who now says ‘Have confidence in me and I will lead you to the new.'”

    What Dunayevskaya called a “crisis of a nation that transformed the cheap, egotistic, self-centered con-man into ‘a social type'” is now an absolute total crisis as that “social type” has the reins of a national security state and a military capacity of absolute destruction and everything short of that. The whole gamut of Republicans who had denounced Trump as a “dangerous con-man” and worse are now lined up behind the winner.

    Already, Trump’s pure voluntarism in international affairs, violating half-century of protocol by directly calling the leader of Taiwan, shows no regard for the fact that China is a nuclearly armed behemoth which is now also an economic powerhouse. We’ll be “lucky”, and please take that with the total irony intended, if Trump’s regard for reality as a money maker, which one commentator raised, “only” means he robs the public treasury blind with massive tax cuts for the rich like himself and his ilk and uses his power to personally enrich himself. Money making is, after all, capitalism’s ordinary uncoupling from any regard for objective conditions. The indication is that Trump’s every move–like threatening to use his power over the Pentagon war budget to force Carrier’s parent company to accept Indiana’s tax bribe and leave a few token jobs in the U.S.–will extend his political power and self-aggrandizement. Already the union leader at Carrier, Chuck Jones, has been getting death threats, incited by Trump’s own twitter attacks on him, for telling the truth about this deal, including the further loss of jobs through technological investment (robots). The mass rallies on which Trump feeds and which repeat the racist, scapegoating lies the crowd wants to hear, will continue because in this world, as Trump’s CNN spokeswoman Scottie Nell Hughes said “There’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore, as facts.”

    The pull to a subjectivism centered on the pure ego impelled Dunayevskaya to begin from the “power of the idea” of freedom as recreated in Marx’s humanism. Dunayevskaya saw in the Hungarian Revolution not only practice and the creation of new forms of organization but a reach to overcome how subjectivity itself is conflicted in its opposition to what is. In other words, Marx’s subjectivity begins from human activity which is itself objective activity, meaning that it creates external facts from within itself and is, as Marx puts it, neither idealism nor materialism but humanism that is the truth uniting both. What more can be said of Marx’s humanism as a universal and what has become of it?

    Ron
    “Party of the Concept”

  3. Observation III: Confidence in the Idea

    Today concrete lived experience is usually counterposed to a total view. It is also counterposed to the idea that idealism and materialism can be transcended in unity when mass self-activity recreates concrete experience. Sartre, whose 1961 “Marxism and Subjectivity” has been reissued this year, rejected Marx’s view that idealism and materialism could be transcended in unity even as he designated the Hungarian Revolution as “too brief and too troubled” to challenge that judgment.

    Today “intersectionality” shapes the prevailing discourse on totality. “Intersectionality” is kind of a post-modern, multi-cultural reflection of what is pejoratively called “identity politics” where “identity” is viewed as not a pathway to the universal of being human as it was for Fanon but rather from the point of view of separateness wherein any concept of the universal is not deemed to be concrete. Totality in this framework can only be approached as multiple overlapping subjectivities. One way Marxist-Humanists respond is to appeal to how deep and how total from the start is the needed revolution. Often added is how this depth of revolution is evinced in Marx’s view of man/woman in 1844 as the most fundamental relationship. The N&L lead on Trump’s shocking election victory concludes that the need for total change compels a total philosophic outlook wherein “confidence in the power of the idea…is at the same time confidence in the masses…”

    Mightn’t a reasonable reader wonder what specifically about the idea warrants such confidence? Masses, for their part, have persisted in a multi-dimensional and deeply objective drive for freedom, a drive which now takes many forms of opposition to Trumpism. What then is to be said of the power of the idea? What more is to be said about a total philosophic outlook that is needed in light of absolute crises from threats of ecological suicide and total war?

    Dunayevskaya’s remarkable piece on Melville’s Confidence-Man illuminates the need to begin from the power of the idea today if we consider how the freedom Idea determined itself when Melville wrote it. Then a tiny organization of Blacks and whites, the Abolitionists, were totally based on and committed to a “pure idea”, shaping that turning point in history. Civil War historians are still trying to catch up to this view, which Marx caught in real time as he singled out the Abolitionists whose standing for an idea was the historic determinant. This idea was also integral to Marx’s revolutionary and organizational (IWA) practice as he projected that the Civil War is either a revolutionary struggle for freedom or it is nothing. For Marx, that victory of the U.S. freedom movement over slavery “sounded the tocsin” of the global struggle against capitalism, which culminated in that first attempt by freely associated toilers to totally reorganize society from below, the Paris Commune.

    Marx’s honing in on the irrepressible idea of freedom in the U.S. flows from his beginning from the idea of being reciprocally needed as human beings who freely, consciously direct their life activity. This idea is Marx’s multidimensional starting point for his philosophy of revolution in permanence. When this idea stands on its own, becomes a recognized self-movement and self-determination, “process” is no longer the theoretical realm of the abstract revolutionist. Doesn’t this characterization of Marx’s humanism justify “confidence in the idea”? Doesn’t this “pure idea” demand the kind of absolute organizational focus, or “bolshevik discipline,” personified by the Abolitionists? What is “the freedom idea that determines itself” which is both the abolition of capitalism and a positive concept of multi-dimensional, multi-linear human development? To me, that is the point of seeing the needed philosophic new beginning for today in Marx’s recreation of Hegel’s idea of freedom as humanity’s species essence. What does Marx’s new beginning say about today’s total ideological pollution?

  4. Observation IV: Our Birthtime and Period of Transition

    Dunayevskaya already warned that the ideological pollution of a 1980s changed world with its disregard for facts, contemporary and historical ones, opened the door to fascism. Ever since there has been series of revolutionary movements and counterrevolutions producing a slow disintegration of capitalism in its post-World War II incarnation: what Hegel fittingly described as Spirit’s “dissolving bit by bit the structure of its previous world.” That dissolution included the end of Communist style totalitarianism (1989). Dunayevskaya already declared the beginning of end of Communist totalitarianism in the 1950s when East European masses in East Germany (1953) and the Hungarian Revolution (1956) reached for a new unity of reality and the concept of freedom. In the 1980s, Dunayevskaya turned to Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, including its description of spiritual rupture in the Preface, written after the Phenomenology’s completion. At the same time Dunayevskaya returned to Marx’s 1844 praise and critique of the Phenomenology, where she honed in on what Marx meant by that “little word human.” For Dunayevskaya, the need for philosophy to articulate new beginnings that speak to the future became fully clear to Hegel as he wrote in the Preface of our “birthtime and period of transition” as comprising a “contradictory unity” of “two types of twilight”–one that “is first plunging into utter darkness” and another that is “just at the moment before the dawn of a new day.” “In either case,” she continues, “the challenge to find the meaning–what Hegel called ‘the undefined foreboding of something unknown’–becomes a compulsion to dig for new beginnings, for a philosophy that would try to answer the question ‘where to begin.'”

    Can a philosophic new beginning both explicitly challenge the many reactionary voices and meet the aspirations of those fighting for a new world? One reactionary now projects an impending long “plunge into darkness.” A comprehensive new work, How Will Capitalism End by a right winger Wolfgang Streeck, documents very well the facts of capitalism’s collapse in its rate of growth as well as its total absolute crisis. The result, says Streeck, will be a dystopian limbo bringing “rich opportunities to oligarchs and warlords, while imposing uncertainty and insecurity on all others, in some ways like the long interregnum that began in the fifth century CE and is now called the Dark Age.” A well regarded Keynesian, Martin Wolf, claims that when Streeck condemns the “technocratic-voluntaristic doability worldview,” Streeck forgets that a “‘doability worldview’ saved civilisation in the middle of the 20th century” (Financial Times, Nov. 5, 2016). Wow! At what cost? WWII? And what are the stakes today when the powers of total destruction have increased by several orders of magnitude?

    In face of the deep foreboding that comes out of this bleak, realistic assessment of capitalist reality, fascists everywhere, from Orban in Hungary to Trump in the U.S., enter with a polluted ideology that rewrites history and has no connection to objective conditions. Polluted ideology is itself part the total world crisis and a foreboding that the world as we know it, even capitalism itself, is coming to an end. Thus, Trump’s chief propagandist, Steve Bannon (in a 2014 Vatican speech to conservative Catholics) presumes an idyllic mythical capitalist past, which never existed and is identified with a white, dogmatically religious middle-class, against “state-sponsored capitalism” like what one sees in China and Russian and “libertarian capitalism…that really looks to make people commodities, and to objectify people, and to use them–as many of the precepts of Marx…”

    Precisely what does it mean to Marx that human’s become commodities under capitalism? The dissolving capitalist Spirit is a concept, the commodity-form of the product of labor, whose logic generates a mass of human beings for whom their everyday life activity is itself a commodity that must be sold to the capitalist in order to survive. Everyday life activity becomes alienated labor, a mere means to life, in a system that many now recognize produces its own total internal contradiction and collapse.

    We’re back again to the power of the idea that begins from the drive to be free in everyday life activity, including overcoming the specific type of alienated labor that is the soul of capitalism but also multiple aspects of everyday life activity from family relations, including youth who are asked to accept this reality as a given, and peasant life, to a criminalized unemployed army and the lived experience of race and gender as social constructs. Beginning from human activity which is itself objective activity can realize just how objective facts come from within. Theory can no longer separate itself from, or leave as a far off goal, the power of the idea that recognizes itself as positive humanism. Positive humanism is a goal that shows the way to its own realization. That means that whatever physical differences between humans or whatever level of material development, the crucial human dimension is not those differences or level of material development, but is what humans make of them. Are others needed or recognized and related to as human and does development proceed in a manner most appropriate to human nature? Whether there’s agreement on the need to begin from Marx’s self-determination of the idea of freedom in what Marx called humanity’s species essence, in any case, time is running out. Our birth time and period of transition calls for the concrete elaboration of philosophic new beginnings.

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