November 11, 2019

WHEN: Wednesday, November 20, 6:30 pm

WHERE: News and Letters Library, 228 S. Wabash Ave., Room 230, Chicago, Illinois

Syrian Americans and other Free Syria activists in Chicago on Feb. 25.
Photo: Franklin Dmitryev, News & Letters

In this decade, Syria’s revolution and counter-revolution became the test of world politics. The depth of the current crisis is starkly illustrated by the genocidal assault on Idlib by the Assad regime with aid from Russia and Iran. The ascendancy of counter-revolution, with support from swaths of the Left as well as the Right, threw the doors wide open for the current global march of fascism. What is tested is not alone those on the Left who defended Bashar al-Assad but the pragmatic philosophy that underlies the broader Left who are willing to cooperate with the apologists in anti-Trump actions but have done little in solidarity with the Syrian people’s revolution. The resulting search for a new orientation demands a dive into dialectical philosophy.

Readings: Russia, from Proletarian Revolution to State-Capitalist Counter-Revolution chapter 1, pages 58-79, “Hegelian Leninism” shows how key and yet how difficult it is to make a philosophically-based divide in the Left when opposing attitudes to world crises have provoked a political divide.

Suggested readings: Russia, from Proletarian Revolution to State-Capitalist Counter-Revolution, chapter 3, “Lenin on Self-Determination of Nations and on Organization after His Philosophic Notebooks”;

Marx’s Philosophy of Revolution in Permanence for Our Day, chapter 15, “Bertell Ollman: Pitting ‘Human Nature’ against Marx’s Humanism” (which contrasts dialectics with empiricism and Ollman’s claims about Marx’s “theory of human nature”); chapter 32, “A Post-World War II View of Marx’s Humanism, 1843-1883; Marxist Humanism, 1950s-1980s”

Also by Dunayevskaya: Philosophy and Revolution chapter 7, “The African Revolutions and the World Economy”

By Gerry Emmett: “How dead thought failed Syrian revolution’s living history,” Jan.-Feb. 2019 News & Letters

Other views: David, “Discussion Article: The Left’s Response to Syrian Genocide,” Sept.-Oct. 2018 News & Letters;

Gilbert Achcar, “Morbid Symptoms

SEE THE FULL SERIES OF MARXIST-HUMANIST CLASSESToward Freedom: Intervening in a World on the Brink”

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