Jan.-Feb. 2011 issue of News & Letters online

February 6, 2011

When Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak unleashed his plainclothes security agents and hired thugs against the freedom fighters in Tahrir Square Feb. 2, it was not only to support his shaken and discredited 30-year regime. He was serving the interests of all rulers, in the Middle East and beyond, that are terrified by the international wave of freedom struggles which broke out in Tunisia just weeks ago. Mubarak met their heroic spirit with gunfire, machetes, whips, dogs and Molotov cocktails. This echoed previous violence against the regime’s political prisoners. Altogether, hundreds have been killed and thousands more injured in the last week.

News and Letters Committees stands in solidarity with the masses of people fighting for freedom against the corrupt, long-entrenched regimes of Ben Ali of Tunisia, Mubarak of Egypt and other authoritarian dictators long supported by the U.S. government. What is decisive is not oil, not religion, but masses in motion fighting for self-determination and freedom–what Karl Marx called “the absolute movement of becoming.” Thus it is no accident that the current struggles build on a long history of labor activism and movements for freedom–including those by women. [read more…]

News & Letters, Vol. 56, No. 1
January – February 2011


European revolts confront economic and political crises

In Ireland 100,000 marched in Dublin on Nov. 27 against the terms of an 85 billion euro loan package ….
In Greece workers staged a seventh general strike on Dec. 15 against draconian austerity measures still going into effect after their “rescue loan” in May….
In England tens of thousands of students marched on Parliament on Dec. 9 against the tripling of university fees to $15,000 per year….
Similarly in France, demonstrations and strikes enlisted millions of workers and students in the weeks that led up to passing Pres. Sarkozy’s austerity agenda–raising the minimum retirement age from 60 to 62 and the age for a full pension from 65 to 67….


Bloody reality of reactionary ideas

How predictable was the Jan. 8 massacre in Tucson, Arizona? So much so that shooter Jared Loughner’s primary target, Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, had this to say last year: “We’re on Sarah Palin’s target list, but the thing is, that the way she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they have to realize that there are consequences to that action.”

Back to the nuclear brink

The continuing threat of war on the Korean Peninsula, the nature of debate over the just-ratified New START nuclear arms reduction treaty, and the “wisdom” Homeland Security has shared with us on surviving a nuclear attack, all underscore the urgency of the Marxist-Humanist perspective: the opposite of war is not peace, but revolution.

From the Writings of Raya Dunayevskaya

Marxism and the U.S. Civil War

2011 marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the U.S. Civil War. The piece excerpted here, originally titled “Marxism and Freedom: From the Industrial Revolution to Automation–An Outline of a Book in Preparation,” shows the profound impact of the war on Marx’s thought.


Philosophy and Iran’s revolution: Where to now?

Recollecting Raya at the end of the Dunayevskaya Centenary is intertwined with the Iranian Revolution at its 1979 high point and as it suffered through three decades of counter-revolution, and now, as it searches for a new beginning.

South African shack dwellers: ‘a new social movement’

People are born and live in these shantytowns, at least 2.3 million of us. In 2005 Abahlali baseMjondolo, an organization representing 25,000 people, came together. The movement was born out of anger, hunger and frustration. It started spontaneously as a road blockade….

World in View

Tunisia: a revolution?

Protests have exploded in Tunisia and Algeria. On Dec. 17, in the city of Sidi Bouzid in central Tunisia, 26-year-old street vendor Mohammad Bouazizi doused himself in gasoline and burned himself to death in a despairing protest at the confiscation of his unlicensed fruit and vegetable cart.

Georgia’s prisoners STRIKE!

On Dec. 9, prisoners throughout Georgia began the largest prisoner strike in U.S. history…. The prisoners stated clearly, “No more slavery. Injustice in one place is injustice to all.”


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