Readers’ Views on Cooperative Form of Labor vs. Abstract Labor; Marx vs. Trump-Putin; Voices From Behind Bars
The capital relation is spelled out as alienated labor, automation, destruction of jobs, unraveling of the social fabric–fertile ground for reactionary ideology, scapegoating, and fascism. Yet the human Subject’s quest for freedom continues.
As part of observing the todayness of Marx’s Capital on its 150th anniversary, we present Raya Dunayevskaya’s analysis of Marx’s concept of Cooperative Form of Labor vs. Abstract Labor, as preparation for her book “Marxism and Freedom.”
The retreat of former Marxist-Humanists into post-Marx Marxism is analyzed by Franklin Dmitryev through the books “Marx at the Margins” by Kevin Anderson and “Marx’s Concept of the Alternative to Capitalism” by Peter Hudis, which appropriate some of Raya Dunayevskaya’s conclusions while quietly dismantling their philosophical framework.
The wildfires sweeping Alberta’s tar sands region provide a window onto the state of the environment and the multidimensional worldwide struggle against pollution and climate chaos fueled by capitalism’s drive for production for the sake of production.
The Paris Agreement on climate change reveals limits of what capitalism will do even in the face of catastrophe. The question is what kind of development can people in all kinds of countries achieve?
Paris Accord reveals limits of what capitalism will do even in the face of catastrophe. The question is what kind of development can people in all kinds of countries achieve? So long as the vision of an alternative, liberatory path of development is not made concrete as the energizing principle of a movement, a vacuum is left for false alternatives.
Philosophic dialogue discusses Markovic’s turn to fascism.
A discussion with Philip Zimbardo followed the San Francisco premiere of “The Stanford Prison Experiment,” a movie based on his notorious 1971 experiment. It raises questions about the meaning of being human, which for Marx turned on needing human beings as free beings whose self-determining, free, conscious activity is not a mere means but the first necessity of life.
“The Democracy Project” presents a close-up view of the activity and the thinking of OWS, and a contemporary treatise on revolutionary organization, yet dismisses philosophy in favor of “anarchist” process.
In the absence of successful social revolution, today’s total crisis is shown in a world capitalist order that is falling apart economically, politically, environmentally, and in thought. That does not mean that we can wait for capitalism to collapse and step aside for a new society. On the contrary. Its desperation makes it that much more vicious, and it threatens to doom all of humanity with it.
We workers see from the inside that capitalism is coming apart. The 1949-50 Coal Miners’ General Strike is significant, not only because it highlights resistance to the early stage of automation, but because the miners’ self-activity signified “The Emergence of a New Movement from Practice That Is Itself a Form of Theory.”
Leelah Alcorn’s last words, making her suicide an appeal for Transgender people to be “treated like humans” and to “fix society” if her death is to “mean something,” were stunning.
From the News and Letters pamphlet The Coal Miners’ General Strike of 1949-50 and the Birth of Marxist-Humanism in the U.S. we excerpt from Raya Dunayevskaya’s “The Emergence of a New Movement from Practice that Is Itself a Form of Theory,” on miners’ contributions to the philosophic birth of Marxist-Humanism.
As a Black man, I asked myself: Why—through the dialectical crises of the social relations of production and the subsequent implosion of multiple outlived modes of production—has racism persisted? Why, despite the relations of property literally bursting asunder, does racism survive? How and why does racism, sexism, homophobia survive revolution after revolution? Will we again be left behind after the next revolution?
Contract bargaining has begun between the California Nurses Association and Kaiser Permanente. CNA has steadfastly rejected management’s demand to hold negotiations in closed sessions.
The recent wave of strikes at Walmart and fast food restaurants signals the discontent brewing among the growing number of low-wage U.S. workers. They give notice that the far-reaching restructuring of jobs that was accelerated by the Great Recession also has a subjective side of revolt.
A week of strikes and demonstrations at Walmarts across the country peaked with events in 20 cities on June 4 alone. Chants of “Respect! Now!” joined the official demands of “$25,000 per year and enough hours to support our families” and an end to retaliation against workers who strike or speak up.
Ongoing national strikes and demonstrations by fast food workers demanding a $15 an hour living wage show that workers’ reality is not the media-touted economic “recovery” enjoyed by the super-wealthy finance capitalists. In real life the 2008 depression drags on. In a punitive move, Congressional Republicans wouldn’t even allow a vote for long-term unemployment benefits to continue, in spite of the record 1.7 million, or 37% of the officially unemployed, who have been out of work for six months or longer. Previously, a rate anywhere near this was called an emergency, compelling an automatic extension of benefits.
The impasse in the anti-capitalist movement after Occupy has led to theoretical stirrings over what to do organizationally, not just about the abolition of capitalism, but a positive concept of the future after capitalism. This is an opportunity to engage Marx’s view of these concerns, which was rooted in his 1844 declaration of a revolutionary humanism as the positive in the negative that opens up to a totally new future by refusing to be defined by what it is against.
Today’s revival of interest in Marx, especially since the onset of the 2008 economic meltdown, includes a significant strain of economism and has revived controversies and issues addressed by Dunayevskaya in this review-essay of Paul Mattick’s book Marx and Keynes.
The world today is riven between the creativity of masses in revolt and the violent degeneracy of counter-revolution, whose destructiveness even extends to the revived specter of nuclear war two decades after the collapse of the USSR. Such is the degeneracy of the globalized capitalist system, laden with destructive forces and sunk into structural crisis. The deep crisis is seen in the U.S. and abroad, economically, in unemployment and poverty, homelessness and hunger. It is seen politically, in new laws attacking workers and women, and new outbursts of racism. It is seen environmentally, with the advance of climate disruption and fake capitalistic solutions. It is seen in thought, as the lack of philosophy, of a total view, hampers the development of struggles from the U.S. to the revolutions of the Arab Spring facing counter-revolutions.
From the May-June 2012 issue of News & Letters:
Draft for Marxist-Humanist Perspectives, 2012-2013
(continued from Part III)
IV. Marx’s Humanism today
“The commodity form of the products of labor became a fetish because of the perverse relationship of subject to object–of living labor to dead capital. Relations between men appear as the relation between things because [=>]
OFFICIAL CALL FOR CONVENTION
to Work Out Marxist-Humanist Perspectives for 2012-2013
February 26, 2012
To All Members of News and Letters Committees
Where we must begin is with the world in upheaval, from Occupy Wall Street to Arab Spring, still going after more than a year.
Nothing better shows the old order’s bloody desperation to prevent a [=>]