January-February 2013 issue of News & Letters is now online

February 2, 2013


Uprisings in Egypt and Syria confront counter-revolution

Slightly over two years since the beginning of Egypt’s revolution, those heady days can seem distant. The current government of Mohamed Morsi was able to push through a reactionary Constitution. It includes anti-working class Articles allowing for child labor and forced labor, in certain circumstances; limits the right to form unions; and ties wages to production. It describes women’s role as one of “caregiver” and includes no guarantees of women’s equality–a lived reality during the occupation of Tahrir Square. …The lived experience of women workers at Muhallah al-Kubra, or the youth who were inspired by their example, is not only beyond the Muslim Brotherhood’s understanding, but represents its opposite—a struggle against the dictates of capital itself.

From the Writings of Raya Dunayevskaya: 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation

American Civilization on Trial: Black masses as vanguard and the dialectic of history

“If Lincoln has grown,” wrote Wendell Phillips after the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, “it is quite natural. We watered him.” At the same time, however, it was no accident that Lincoln chose Andrew Johnson as his running mate for the second term, in place of the Vice-President of the first term, Hannibal Hamlin, who was a friend of the Abolitionists. The objective compulsion of capitalist industrialization won over the freedom forces. The Civil War brought to a climax and summed up the paradox of the Jefferson-Jackson-Lincoln liberal presidential tradition.

Now off the press:

The Crossroads of History: Marxist-Humanist Writings on the Middle East by Raya Dunayevskaya

Nobody, least of all Marxists, foresaw the great historic divide which would be opened by the Arab Spring beginning in 2010. Mohammed Bouazizi and Hussein Nagi Felhi, protesting the miserable conditions of life for Tunisian youth, set off a year of revolutionary struggle that has shaken the world to its foundations. The region, where politics and everyday life had been delimited by the Cold War and the politics of oil, has been redefined by an uncompromising demand for human dignity.


Undoing Michigan election

A super-majority of Michigan lame-duck Republicans passed a series of oppressive bills at the end of December: an anti-union “right-to-work” law, an anti-abortion bill and a dictatorial emergency manager act. This despite a record number–over 12,500–protestors who stormed and occupied the legislative chamber and rallied around the Capitol building for two days prior to the vote.

Workshop Talks

Patient, heal thyself!

Obamacare may be able to prevent denial of insurance based on pre-existing conditions. But HMOs have been implementing with a vengeance the denial of care to those who already have insurance.

Woman as Reason

Rape protests in India

The recent rape of a 23-year-old medical student in India was brutal…. But the fact that the woman raped and murdered was doing everything “right” doesn’t alone explain the sustained, angry militant outcry, one that is supported by women worldwide and recently spread to nearby Nepal. Rather, at least three developments are also involved in what appears to be a deep, militant, spontaneous response.

Teachers and parents talk education

The content of this attack on public education is not simply a question of wages. It’s about shrinking the size of public schools in this society. It is about writing off a huge section of the working class. I spent my last two years as a teacher in a closing, failing high school. We watched them take the computers out of our rooms and move them to the charter school in the same building.

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