Editorial on the situation in Venezuela including the deterioration of living conditions; the repression practiced by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela and their attempt to gut Venezuela’s Bolivarian Constitution; and the personality cult built around Hugo Chávez, revealing contradictions in the movements for freedom. .
Readers’ Views on Cooperative Form of Labor vs. Abstract Labor; Marx vs. Trump-Putin; Voices From Behind Bars
A view of the fire at the Ghost Ship that takes into account the capitalist nature of rents, evictions, land use, and how youth, by the way the live their lives, are fighting back.
Part I of the Draft Perspectives 2016: Discontent is seething in the U.S. among workers, youth, Blacks, women, LGBTQ, including elements of the new society. Fear of revolution is powering neo-fascism opposing the revolt.
Although the Greek masses reject the austerity program imposed on them by the European institutions, Syriza inexorably took a path to capitulation because it is rooted in the search for state power rather than the power of mass self-activity.
The two opponents facing off in Greece for five years have been the Greek masses vs. the European rulers and their institutions. The No vote manifested the revolt against austerity. We explore the meaning of these events.
The video of Cpl. Eric Casebolt’s June 5 attack on Dejerria Becton and other kids at a pool party in McKinney, Texas, went viral because it was simultaneously shocking and commonplace. In 2015 USA, protests were inevitable and were heard around the world.
Worldwide, the refugee crisis is unprecedented and is fueled by war, terrorism and climate change. The worldwide response is paltry with country after country turning away or deporting frantic and desperate people in search of a safe haven.
The electoral victory of Greece’s Syriza party was an important first step in resisting austerity imposed on the Greek and European working classes as capitalism’s response to its own intractable crisis. Nothing could be in greater contradiction to the movement that lifted Syriza to prominence than the parliamentary alliance with the racist, theocratic Independent Greeks party.
The first national oil refinery strike since 1980 manifested safety-related demands by the workers and garnered much labor, community, and environmentalist support.
A general strike by students at the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) reveals a longing for universality, for going deeper and lower within society.
The U.S. government took an ominous, reactionary political turn in the 2014 midterm elections, with Republicans taking control of the Senate. Extreme pro-war Senators like Joni Ernst in Iowa and Tom Cotton in Arkansas join veterans like Senator “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran” John McCain, who will now control the Armed Services Committee and is hell-bent for new “boots on the ground” in Syria and Iraq. The whole Republican campaign—including these pro-war, pro-fossil-fuel, pro-“fetus is a person” candidates—ran on a cynically deceptive anti-Obama mantra….
From the July-August 2014 issue of News & Letters
Oakland, Calif.—On June 14 Critical Resistance (CR), an organization working for the abolition of the prison system, held a community forum on California Department of Corrections and rehabilitation (CDCr). (Prisoners refuse to capitalize the “R” because there is no “rehabilitation.”)
The forum took up new [=>]
From the July-August 2014 issue of News & Letters
UNCHAINING THE DIALECTIC
Raya Dunayevskaya’s 1953 breakthrough on Hegel’s Absolute Idea enabled her to illuminate a path not traveled by previous generations of revolutionaries. She is quite emphatic in raising the importance of “Unchaining the Revolutionary Dialectic” (May-June 2014 N&L), and capturing what [=>]
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.
From UPM: The formation of the Black Consciousness Movement in this country was a realization by Black people that we could no longer stand and be spectators of the game we are supposed to be playing. This election season continues to demonstrate the relevance of Biko’s teachings.
Draft for Marxist-Humanist Perspectives, 2014-2015. III. Capitalism’s political and economic degeneracy. A. Karl Marx haunts capitalism’s stagnation. B. The race toward climate chaos.
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.
While experiences in the squares of the Arab Spring, in Turkey’s Gezi Park, in the streets of Spain and Greece, and in the U.S. Occupy Movements have revealed moments of what new human relations between women and men could look like, those moments of hope and exhilaration have been followed by devastating reaction and retrogression.
News and Letters Committees has posted its
OFFICIAL CALL FOR CONVENTION
to Work Out Marxist-Humanist Perspectives for 2014-2015
February 23, 2014
To All Members of News and Letters Committees
The sharpness of revolution and counter-revolution contending now, while the prolonged global capitalist economic crisis refuses to end, cries out for a philosophical [=>]
Readers’ Views from Nov.-Dec. 2013 N&L: U.S. RACISM AND BLACK AND LATINO STRUGGLES; LABOR UNDER ATTACK; CTA vs. THE HOMELESS; DISABILITY AND HUMANITY; ABORTION IS A HUMAN NEED; EGYPT’S CONTRADICTIONS; DETROIT CRISIS; NUCLEAR PERIL; WHY A NEWSPAPER LIKE N&L?
People may imagine that teachers here hit the beach or kick up their heels poolside, sipping cocktails and working on a suntan. For me and many other teachers, though, Monday will be the kickoff to the summer routine of registering for unemployment benefits and looking for work, as, once again, a year’s contract has come to an end.
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.
The number of unionized workers in the U.S. last year dropped by 400,000 members, to 14.3 million workers. Assaults on unions like right-to-work legislation in Indiana and Michigan and laws narrowing the right to union representation in Wisconsin had a huge impact on unions. The most important development is the transformation of union leadership from being militant fighters to contract concessionary specialists and corporation supporters.
Capetown, South Africa—During the Christmas break we received the most shocking news from KwaZulu-Natal. The provincial traffic department advertised 90 positions for trainee traffic officers. More than 150,000 people applied, most of them between the ages of 18 and 20.
On Christmas Day 34,000 people received text messages saying that they had been shortlisted for these [=>]
by Franklin Dmitryev
The two worlds of the rulers and the ruled shone through the suffocating blanket of propaganda surrounding the election in which Barack Obama won a second term. A pronounced gender gap and long lines at the polls in African-American and Latino areas reflected the determination to defeat the reactionary Republicans and retain the [=>]
New York—On July 24 at historic Union Square, 8,500 workers with Local 1-2 Utility Workers Union of America, UWUA, who had been locked out by Consolidated Edison, were surrounded by 5,000-10,000 supporters, similar to the numbers from the big unions who had marched a week earlier.
They told News & Letters: “It’s about the pension. We’ve [=>]
by Ron Kelch
“We built it!” roared the delegates at the Republican Party convention in Tampa. It was the perfect expression of the presidential campaign and of capitalist thinking in general. The truth is that workers built the social wealth. Capitalists take it from the workers, and the government gets a portion.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan [=>]
Los Angeles, Calif.—On April 28, people from the Black community, some from Occupy LA, and others gathered at the 71st and Normandie Ave. block party on the 20th anniversary of the 1992 LA Rebellion.
The event was moderated by Mollie Ball—long-time community activist and part of the LA-4-Plus Defense Committee. That committee was formed to support [=>]
From the new March-April 2012 issue of News & Letters:
‘We are all Greeks’
On Feb. 12, open rebellion broke out in Athens. “Layoffs! Layoffs…You will save Greece without the Greeks!” protesters proclaimed against the Greek parliament’s approval of a new round of austerity measures, dictated as conditions for a new 130 billion euro loan [=>]
UAW and Big 3 still fear rank and file
Detroit—The new auto industry contract just approved by the autoworkers created a huge well of discontent among the rank and file that will surely manifest itself in many ways during the four-year contract. Indications of this were evident during the ratification process, when it became apparent in [=>]
From the November-December 2011 issue of News & Letters:
Greeks fight austerity
by Gerry Emmett
As Greek lawmakers passed a new austerity package on Oct. 19, rage boiled over in cities and towns throughout the country. A two-day general strike saw hundreds of thousands demonstrating against measures demanded by the European Union and [=>]
A statement from News and Letters Committees:
‘You can’t evict an idea whose time has come!’
The Occupy movement defies police state attacks
City governments have carried out police raids on occupations across the U.S. in a vain attempt to crush the movement with brute force. A new level of violence was achieved in mid-November, as raids from [=>]
Below is the text of a leaflet issued by News and Letters Committees members in New York.
News & Letters Committees stands in solidarity with the Occupy movements. We denounce the 1%-orchestrated forceful actions to stop our protests, from evictions at home to state-sponsored murders of innocent Syrian youth!
To help this young movement develop to its [=>]
by Gerry Emmett and Susan Van Gelder
The Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement, since beginning in New York City’s Zuccotti Park–renamed Liberty Plaza–on Sept. 17, has spread to hundreds of cities and towns across the U.S. and linked with the occupation movements in Europe. On Oct. 15, Occupy demonstrations took place in 951 cities in 82 [=>]
From the September-October 2011 issue of News & Letters:
- REVOLUTION AND COUNTER-REVOLUTION: ARAB SPRING AS CROSSROADS IN HISTORY
- KARL MARX AND WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
- REMEMBERING CHRISTINA SANTIAGO
- THELONIOUS MONK
- CANADA AS ‘CONTESTATAIRE’ SOCIETY
- MAN-MADE DISASTERS: NUCLEAR POWER AND WORLD WAR
- LABOR STRUGGLES IN 2011
- WHY WRITE FOR N&L?
- VOICES FROM BEHIND THE BARS
REVOLUTION AND COUNTER-REVOLUTION: ARAB SPRING AS CROSSROADS IN HISTORY
The West supports any revolution where they [=>]
Detroit–The unemployment crisis is reaching far into the future. Whereas many government and private economists have been predicting that the economy will pick up in the next quarter or the next year, new reports conclude that in 50 U.S. metropolitan areas, it will take at least a decade to regain employment lost since the 2008 [=>]
From the Writings of Raya Dunayevskaya
Editor’s note: Written in the midst of the last double-dip recession in the U.S., the piece excerpted here was originally titled, “In the U.S. and globally: deep recession, military buildup and the pulling apart of political alliances.” It was published as the lead article in the April 1982 N&L.
The depth of [=>]
by Ron Kelch
At the end of a months-long political spectacle in Washington–manufactured over irrelevancies concerning what should have been a routine raising of the national debt limit before the Aug. 2 deadline–reality struck with a bombshell: the anemic “jobless” recovery in the U.S. has stalled. The economy is getting worse and there is no solution [=>]
Defying laws against public demonstrations, tens of thousands of protestors, self-described “indignados,” occupied Madrid’s Puerta del Sol and gathered in 162 squares in towns and cities across Spain protesting unemployment, government austerity and a political system that serves only the banks and big business. Following are excerpts from an in-person participant-observer sent to us by [=>]
Hundreds of low-income and unemployed people and people with disabilities marched through San Francisco on Feb. 28 wearing signs identifying services they would lose under Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed draconian cuts. They chanted, “They say lie down and die/we say organize,” and demanded budget solutions that do not devastate lives. Their sentiment was that the [=>]
Capital on strike
Today capital is on strike even as it wages a two-pronged war against workers: automation and forcing cuts in living standards. In the U.S., 500 of the largest non-financial firms are sitting on a cash hoard of over a trillion dollars, yet capitalists have refused to invest in the real economy ever since [=>]