Draft Perspectives 2024-2025: Part Six, Tasks

May 4, 2024

V. Lenin and today’s contradictions

VI. Tasks

The philosophy of praxis is consciousness full of contradictions in which the philosopher himself, understood both individually and as an entire social group, not merely grasps the contradictions, but posits himself as an element of the contradictions and elevates this element to a principle of knowledge and therefore of action.
Antonio Gramsci 

 Therefore one of our foremost tasks this coming year is to hold a series of classes on dialectics of organization and philosophy—and to hold it in a way that encourages outreach. The continued activity and growth of the Marxist-Humanist organization, News and Letters Committees, is crucial for enabling the projection of the philosophy it is founded on. The magnitude of the simple-sounding task of truly functioning as an organization of Marxist-Humanist people and at the same time of thought, which neither we nor anyone else has fully mastered, is underscored by the fact that organization appears at the apex of Hegel’s Absolute Knowledge: 

“the recollection of spiritual forms as they are in themselves and as they accomplish the organization of their spiritual kingdom. Their conservation, looked at from the side of their free existence appearing in the form of contingency, is History; looked at from the side of their [philosophically] comprehended organization, it is the Science of the ways in which knowledge appears. Both together, or History intellectually comprehended, form at once the recollection and the Golgotha of Absolute Spirit….” 

Dunayevskaya saw this as ground for “our concept of the relationship both of spontaneity and the party and its inseparability from organization of thought….The two types of organization Hegel has in mind are, first, as ‘free existence’ in its varying ‘historic forms,’ what we would call the movement from practice at historic turning points. Secondly, Hegel is defining ‘intellectually comprehended’ organization and concludes, ‘the two together, or History intellectually comprehended, form at once recollection and the Golgotha of Absolute Spirit.’”[1] 


Karl Marx

We live within the contradictions of the world that we have been exploring here, and are not on a separate plane from the general crisis of the Left. This year’s pre-Convention and Convention discussion began with that knowledge. Collectively, we must take stock of our experience of the past year, with our transition to publishing on the web only. Taking advantage of the web means not only using attributes such as color photos, videos, and audio not available in the older medium, but reaching across the world, which involves creatively thinking about how to project our websites, articles, ideas and organization. Those without the internet, such as most prisoners, miss the print edition. That was not our preferred path, but a strategic retreat, which we aim to follow with regrouping in thought and practice in order to clear the way for a new beginning, the exact nature of which we could not possibly predict at this moment.  

Eliciting Readers’ Views and activity articles is of the highest importance. Just as important is writing theoretical-philosophical essays based on our individual following up of questions that need to be answered both for ourselves and for the social movements and battles of ideas. Do you participate in a movement but encounter problematic ideas—for example, in solidarity with Palestinian self-determination and liberation, have you encountered a denial of self-determination for Jews also? Does everyone oppose killings of Palestinians in Syria by the Assad regime just as they oppose killings of Palestinians by the IDF and settlers? Are all genocides opposed and analyzed, including Russia’s war on Ukraine and the war of Assad on his own people? It takes some thought to deepen the political disagreement to an understanding of the philosophical basis for such differences. 

That individual theoretical work also implies collectivity, including correspondence as part of the process of development, and it is not meant to be the province of a select few. Projecting Marxist-Humanism has not one but many forms. It can take the form of writing articles, engaging in dialogues during a march or correspondence with contacts, raising questions, or finding pathways to liberation through artistic composition or events. 

Our Convention should discuss working out new or alternative ways to project the Idea of freedom that Marxist-Humanism represents and continues to develop. At the same time, we need to keep finding new ways of arranging meetings and sharing our experiences participating in events. We will be open in experimenting with new ways of holding classes, meetings, and study groups, of communicating with each other, and of relating to both the movement from practice and the movement from theory, as an organization of people that also always strives to be an organization of ideas. 

The increasing authoritarianism and political repression in the world—from which the U.S. is by no means immune—reminds us that no individual or organization can be assured of safety and continuing activity, so that now is the time to reinvigorate our efforts to preserve the Archives of Marxist-Humanism and expand their availability to the public.  

All our tasks are Marxist-Humanist tasks to the extent that we fulfill them in ways that center our relationship to both philosophy and the movements from practice—and those relationships are what underlie our collectivity. We need to consciously work all of these tasks out as ways of intervening, of projecting Marxist-Humanism, which to us has always meant concretizing, developing the philosophy.  

Fundamentally we are attempting to work out a new path based on what our organization is all about—revolution, philosophy, organization, and the relationship between subjects of revolution and a philosophy of revolution, between the movement from practice and the movement from theory. That is, the philosophy of revolution encompassed in the body of ideas of Karl Marx’s Marxism, and its development in the body of ideas of Raya Dunayevskaya’s Marxist-Humanism. The point, as always, is to play our part in abolishing capitalism and the destructive world order we live in and founding a totally new society on truly human foundations.  

—The National Editorial Board of News and Letters Committees, May 1, 2024

[1] 20 Presentation by Dunayevskaya to the Resident Editorial Board on March 23, 1987. Supplement to the Raya Dunayevskaya Collection, #10727. 

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