News & Letters is a Marxist-Humanist newspaper which was created so that the voices of revolt from below could be heard unseparated from the articulation of a philosophy of liberation. Raya Dunayevskaya (1910-1983) was Chairwoman of the National Editorial Board from its founding in 1955 until her death in 1987. Charles Denby (1907–1983), a Black production worker, was its Editor from 1955 until 1983.
News and Letters Committees, publisher of News & Letters, is an organization of Marxist-Humanists who stand for the abolition of capitalism, whether in its private property or state property form. We have organized ourselves in a committee form rather than any elitist party “to lead.”
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WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE STAND FOR
News and Letters Committees is an organization of Marxist-Humanists. It has always stood for the abolition of capitalism, both in its private property form as in the U.S., and in its state property form calling itself Communist, which appeared as the Russian Revolution was transformed into its opposite. That retrogression anticipated the next stage of development—the age of state-capitalism. We stand for a society of new human relations, what Marx called a new Humanism.
News & Letters was founded in 1955, the year of the Detroit wildcat strikes against automation and the Montgomery Bus Boycott against segregation—activities which signaled a new movement from practice that was itself a form of theory. News & Letters was created so that the voices of revolt could be heard unseparated from the articulation of a philosophy of liberation.
Raya Dunayevskaya (1910–1987), founder of the body of ideas of Marxist-Humanism, was Chairwoman of News and Letters Committees from its founding to 1987. Charles Denby (1907–1983), a rank-and-file autoworker, author of Indignant Heart: A Black Worker’s Journal, was editor of the paper from 1955 to 1983.
The articulation of the relationship between the movement from practice which is itself a form of theory and the movement from theory to philosophy is reflected in Dunayevskaya’s three major works.
Marxism and Freedom, from 1776 until Today (1958), established the American roots of Marxism while presenting a comprehensive attack on present-day Communism, which is a form of state-capitalism. It re-established Marxism in its original form as “a thorough-going Naturalism or humanism,” while pointing to the new Humanist philosophy expressed by the working class. It presented history and theory as emanating from the movement from practice.
Philosophy and Revolution: From Hegel to Sartre and from Marx to Mao (1973), written after the failed revolts of the 1960s, articulated the integrality of philosophy and revolution as the characteristic of the age and, tracing it historically, caught the link of continuity with the Humanism of Marx. As against the vanguard party, the integration of dialectics and organization reflects the revolutionary maturity of the age and the passion for a philosophy of liberation.
Rosa Luxemburg, Women’s Liberation, and Marx’s Philosophy of Revolution (1982) explores Marx’s body of ideas from his discovery of a continent of thought and of revolution in his youth to the “new moments” of his last decade. Written for our time of revolutions in developing countries, the rise of the international women’s liberation movement, and global economic crisis, it reveals the absolute challenge to make real Marx’s “revolution in permanence” as the determinant for the relationship of theory and practice and as ground for organization.
These works spell out the philosophic ground of Marx’s Humanism. American Civilization on Trial: Black Masses as Vanguard (1963, 1983) concretizes it on the American scene and shows the two-way freedom road between the U.S. and Africa.
In 1989 News and Letters Committees published Dunayevskaya’s original 1953 philosophic breakthrough—her two letters on Hegel’s Absolutes—and her 1987 Presentation on the Dialectics of Organization and Philosophy in The Philosophic Moment of Marxist-Humanism.
This body of ideas challenges all those desiring freedom to transcend the limitations of post-Marx Marxism. In light of the crises of our nuclear-armed world, climate change, and failed revolutions, it becomes imperative not only to reject what is, but to further work out the revolutionary Humanist future inherent in the present. The re-creation of Marx’s philosophy as Marxist-Humanism is recorded in Dunayevskaya’s archives, The Raya Dunayevskaya Collection—Marxist-Humanism: A Half-Century of Its World Development, deposited at Wayne State University in Detroit and available to all.
We aim to continue to develop Marxist-Humanism and make it available to all who struggle for freedom. In opposing this capitalist, racist, sexist, heterosexist, class-ridden society, we have adopted a committee form of organization rather than any elitist party “to lead.”
We participate in all class and freedom struggles, nationally and internationally. As our Constitution states: “It is our aim…to promote the firmest unity among workers, Blacks and other minorities, women, youth and those intellectuals who have broken with the ruling bureaucracy of both capital and labor.” We do not separate mass activities from the activity of thinking.
See the Constitution of News and Letters Committees by following this link.
- Raya Dunayevskaya
Chairwoman, National Editorial Board, 1955-1987
- Charles Denby
- Olga Domanski
National Organizer, 1958-2015
- Franklin Dmitryev
National Organizer, News and Letters Committees
- Terry Moon
- Felix Martin
Labor Editor, 1983-1999
- John Alan
National Editorial Board Member Emeritus, 2008-2011
Frequency and place of printing: Bimonthly in Chicago
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN): 0028-8969
Indexer: Alternative Press Index
Printshop union: Graphic Communications International Union
Reprints: Articles from News & Letters or this web site may be reproduced verbatim if credited to “News & Letters.”