From the January-February 2019 issue of News & Letters
THOUGHT-DIVING INTO REVOLUTION IN PERMANENCE
In the Nov.-Dec. N&L Dunayevskaya’s “Marx’s Continuous Development of the Philosophy of Revolution in Permanence,” and Dmitryev’s essay exploring that concept today went well together. Dunayevskaya’s remarks are very contemporary. She was asking revolutionaries to focus on a more profound view: to grasp Marx as a philosopher of permanent revolution. Dmitryev’s essay captures that spirit and demonstrates its necessity “if Karl Marx is to mean anything for today.” He traces the origin of Marx’s concept of permanent revolution to Marx’s discussion of the need to go beyond political emancipation to the fullness of human emancipation, carries it through to Marx’s view of the Revolutions of 1848-49, and brings it to the “new beginnings,” the “negation of the negation” found in how Marx analyzed “new revolutionary forces, the Black liberation struggle in the U.S. Civil War and women in the Paris Commune,” and carries it to Marx’s Ethnological Notebooks where he asks: What is Marx’s significance for our day? Both pieces are asking the same question: Can independent revolutionary movements against capitalist domination create a revolution in permanence for our day through a thought-dive into the Marx of permanent revolution?
While visiting Indiana for the holidays, I read about a supposed computer glitch at the Lake Station water filtration plant that resulted in brown water coming out of taps on Dec. 26. The town’s mayor was quoted in the Northwest Indiana Times saying residents would have to wait for several consecutive days of mild weather and a comprehensive flush of the system before they could drink their tap water again. Then he insinuated that, had the state not delayed his attempt to sell off the water utility to a private company, the system might be back to normal more promptly. Earlier in December, the same company applied to the state regulatory board for a 17.5% rate increase. Apparently for Lake Station, water faucets are not the only fixtures that sometimes spew a murky vibe.
THE CHURCH AND OPPRESSION
The editorial in the Sept.-Oct. N&L, “Catholic Church laid bare,” takes up serious problems in the Catholic Church that go beyond the behavior of individual priests. Institutional protection is far more important to the Catholic Church than ending sexual abuse of children. The abuses in Catholic hospitals are horrible, and the editorial accurately describes a sinister reactionary movement that wants to destroy the separation between church and state, among other things. However, I cannot agree with the conclusion that the Catholic Church has not been a force for good. It was instrumental in advancing Western civilization and today liberation theology is alive and well. I especially do not agree that the Catholic Church is coming to an end. It went through much more destruction when it was selling indulgences (tickets to heaven) in the 16th century and survived.
The Editorial correctly brought out the hypocrisy and wrongs of the Catholic Church. But it could also have brought out more dualities, such as Liberation Theology and the role of the Black churches in the Civil Rights Movement. A better emphasis would be on the sharp contradictions within the Church—how can they overcome the evils. Even a Christian like Hegel was able to see the limitations of religion in humanity’s development.
Susan Van Gelder
All of Donald Trump’s tweets become the story of the day and divert from what is really going on. He works the media and they fall for it. There are always vested interests including the church and limiting thinking. Jesus wasn’t mild-mannered; he overturned the money-lenders’ tables in the temple in Jerusalem. He lived among the oppressed. Religion, done right, would be nothing but a coming revolution. In contrast, Trump says something false and his congregation swallows and follows it. Religion bows to money. Blacks are told to accept less in all aspects. The Editorial on the Catholic Church in the Sept.-Oct. issue is good because it brings out the wrongs. We should always write the facts, and then revisit them and be objective but also subjective. N&L is hopefully a nucleus of objectivity.
WHY READ N&L?
Mainstream media is a tool of the powers that be who are bent on controlling what we all learn and think. The question we must all ask is why? Why do America’s major TV networks, newspapers and radio stations not tell most of what is going on throughout the world? Including here in the U.S.? What is being hidden? For what reason? As a politically conscious prisoner, I perceive N&L to simply be telling the untold story: that America’s major news media has become social engineering at its finest.
N&L is the most encouraging, informative, and accessible paper. Each issue makes me feel a part of the world at large and not just an isolated outcast. The stories regarding other marginalized segments of humanity give me perspective. I appreciate that the humanist element is never second to politics. I also enjoy learning of the Marxist philosophy in context without feeling intimidated by lack of knowledge. Each issue gives me a sense of comfort and is compelling. It grounds me in reading. My issue is read by five or six people each time and is utilized for discussion.
N&L is my sole source of information on the worldwide struggle for justice and liberation of the people. It gives me hope that the downtrodden of our country will rise up and throw off the yoke of Wall Street and of a government not of the people, for the people or by the people.
Joint Base M.D.L., N.J.
VOICES FROM BEHIND BARS
I’m bisexual/gay and would like to see the LGBTQ family a little bit more represented in “Queer Notes.” I also feel like we need to focus more on the LGBTQ issues taking place in the U.S. as opposed to other countries. Overall, I enjoy receiving and reading N&L and I appreciate being able to get it as a gift. It is informative and educational and I learn something new each and every time I read it.
I am an African male and enjoy reading politically conscious literature, particularly that which revolts against capitalism. I read one of your papers sent to a fellow prisoner and would like to subscribe for myself. I’m indigent but I do hustle up on funds here and there and will contribute to postage whenever I can. May you prosper in your noble cause and may fate shine on you for reaching out to the 13th Amendment slaves languishing in these dismal crypts of North Amerika, like myself.
Jefferson City, Mo.
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