Remembering John Lewis: Out of the barbarity of Alabama 1965 came new forms of revolt

July 29, 2020

In the wake of the March 7, 1965, “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Alabama, where the recently deceased John Lewis was one of the freedom marchers clubbed and beaten, News & Letters issued this statement highlighting both the new revolt that was sparked and the contradictions between the leaders and ranks in the Freedom Now movement in a way that speaks powerfully to today’s movement.

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Detroit dispatch #9: Children learning during the pandemic

July 25, 2020

Educator Susan Van Gelder breaks down the difficulties and political realities of what happens to school children, teachers, and others trying to educate children during the crisis caused by the pandemic and Donald Trump’s and Betsy DeVos’ attempts to destroy public education.

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Prison Truth

Urszula Wislanka reviews the book “Prison Truth: The Story of the San Quentin News” by William J. Drummond. Prisoners’ humanity is not alone their individual transformation or “personal redemption” as a “human interest” story, as shown by the Pelican Bay hunger strikes.

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Hong Kong: Year two of revolt

Tens of thousands of people in Hong Kong defied a ban on demonstrations to commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre. Thousands came out to oppose the Beijing government’s intention to impose a National Security Law directly on Hong Kong.

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Woman as reason: Black women speak a new humanism

The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rekia Boyd, Nina Pop, of legions more, have put American civilization on trial. Black women—many of them very young—have been at the heart of many of the rallies and marches. Here, some voices from the movement.

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‘Power Worshippers’

“The Power Worshippers” by Katherine Stewart explains the religious Right as a “Christian nationalist” movement. This is not a grassroots movement but one deliberately designed by ultra-rich businessmen and families to impose complete political, social, and economic control.

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Women worldwide, July-August 2020

Nigerians protest rape and violence against teenage girls; Feminist Coalition Feministe statement on Nova Scotia mass killings; Texas Equal Access Fund sues anti-abortion group for defamation; NatCen Social Research finds girls between 16-34 from the poorest backgrounds more likely to harm themselves; a rally demands action on the year-old proposals by Canadian inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

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Detroit dispatch: ‘Mourning delayed’

Detroit is still struggling with the pandemic as water is still shut off to over 3,000 residents. Funerals and hospitalizations are the most difficult for families because they can’t be together in a meaningful way.

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Migrant workers in India face lockdown

In India, labor in general, migrant workers and daily wage earners in particular, are vulnerable to the impact of COVID-19. Hundreds of thousands of migrant workers are desperately trying to return to their hometowns, battling hunger and scorching heat.

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Free Chanthon Bun! Stop ICE transfers!

Protesters in front of San Quentin prison demanded freedom for Chanthon Bun. Instead of honoring the board’s decision that he was suitable for parole, the California Department of Corrections and rehabilitation intends to transfer him to an ICE detention center.

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Queer Notes: July-August 2020

The relationship between the LGBTQ movement and Black Lives Matter develops through pride celebrations; Gay people face discrimination in Turkmenistan; and the death of Aimee Stephens, the Transgender woman at the center of the Supreme Court case on discrimination by gender identity and sexual orientation.

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Latin America under COVID-19

Capitalism is exacerbating the havoc being wreaked by COVID-19 in Latin America. In the projected largest recession in its history, 12 million more people will lose their jobs, leaving 29 million more in poverty.

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Stop Nestlé water grab

Nestlé Corporation is now being allowed to withdraw up to 400 gallons of water per minute from three wells in northern Michigan, including a well near the headwaters of Twin and Chippewa Creeks, Michigan. It is unsustainable.

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Outrage in San Francisco

May 31, 2020

Since May 29, there have been ongoing demonstrations sparked by the outrage over the police murder of George Floyd. They spread throughout the many San Francisco Bay Area cities including ones not especially known for activism like Walnut Creek.

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Detroit Dispatch #6: Hospitalizations, funerals and the need for justice

May 26, 2020

In Detroit most people have been practicing social distancing, enforced by the police who recovered from their own COVID-19 outbreak. The most difficult situations are hospitalizations and funerals, and sadly, Detroit’s “Right to Literacy” case was short-lived, overturned by the full panel of judges. Plaintiffs are regrouping to resume the struggle.

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Detroit Dispatch #5: Education and individualism

May 14, 2020

Susan Van Gelder reports on Detroit including: a Supreme Court ruling saying Detroit children have been “deprived of access to literacy”; how children are faring in obtaining internet access so they participate in distant learning; and how “individualism” needs to be framed in relationship to society as a whole.

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COVID-19 has generated a lot of “free time” for workers, but how can we create full, human “free time”?

May 12, 2020

The measures adopted in the face of the spread of COVID-19 in the world have caused billions of people to suddenly have excess “free time.” But this is not a full “free time,” conducive to the enjoyment and development of new skills, but a “time without work” that is exacerbating the enormous economic contradictions already existing in our society. Is it possible to imagine and bring about a form of free time that is truly human time?

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Voices from the inside out: COVID-19 in prison

May 3, 2020

Depending on the state and their prison system, healthcare inside is marginal during the best of times. Some prisons in Wisconsin are better than in most states, but that care is not consistent throughout Wisconsin’s facilities.

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Queer notes: May-June 2020

Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling against Peruvian government in favor of Trans woman Azul Rojas Marin; LGBTQ Asians fighting hate crimes; and a coalition of LGBTQ people demanding California enact the Emergency Transgender Wellness and Equity Fund.

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Youth in action: May-June 2020

Dominican-American youth protest in New York City; Emma Theofelus, 23, Namibia’s youngest cabinet member; and Sudanese dancers, DJs, and musicians performing in public after a popular women’s and youth movement toppled the regime of al-Bashir and its “morality police.”

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Global pandemic indicts capitalism

May 2, 2020

The economic system leaves us all vulnerable and requires sacrificing healthcare workers, delivery drivers and other people doing essential work. I hope that this experience wakes more people up to the dangers and inhumanity of living under capitalism.

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Meatpacking workers sacrificed

May 1, 2020

Workers in meatpacking plants across the country are being sacrificed to what Karl Marx called capital’s “werewolf hunger for surplus labor” as packing companies try to reap the benefits of the prevailing level of automation—but substituting intensified sweated labor for the capital investment of automation. If workers die from COVID-19, the capitalist doesn’t care.

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Women worldwide, May-June 2020

Women seize homes in Los Angeles for the homeless; Rachel Lloyd awarded for services for victims of commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking; huge increase in domestic violence intensified by COVID-19; and the Colabo organization in Tokyo, Japan, helps teen girls fleeing home due to abuse, poverty or other reasons.

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Draft for Marxist-Humanist Perspectives, 2020-2021: Shattered by pandemic, world needs new beginnings in revolutionary activity, thought

April 30, 2020

Draft thesis for discussion about where the world is heading, and what to do about it from a revolutionary standpoint. Introduction: Even after the pandemic subsides, society will be very different. We are already in the midst of a battle over how society will change in responding and adapting to the pandemic. That calls for the deepest solidarity, internationally as well as at home, participation in liberatory social movements and battles of ideas, and theoretical preparation for the battles ahead, including revolution, counter-revolution and the question of what happens after the revolution.

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IV. What to do in the face of compounding crises—medical, economic, political, and the philosophic void

Draft thesis for discussion about where the world is heading, and what to do about it from a revolutionary standpoint. Part IV: In the absolute opposite of today’s society, one based on freely associated labor instead of slavery to capi­tal’s production for production’s sake, we can leave behind pervasive misery, precarity and antagonism, and self-development and cooperation can flourish, as can a rational relationship to nature. We can see the beginnings in self-organization from below and the ever-growing rejection of capitalism. Against the large part of the Left that focuses on the power of the state to combat disasters, we must bring out the self-activity of mass­es in motion and not disarm ourselves by separating mass struggles from dialectical philosophy of revolution.

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