WHAT IS SOCIALISM?
Regarding “What Is Socialism?” (March-April 2021 N&L), along with mass movements against capitalism, there are usually counter-revolutionary agendas that take power after capitalism has been ousted. Too often, the mass movement unknowingly allows the counter-revolutionist—in the form of a leader—to take power within the movement. To avoid counter-revolutions, the movement should engage in dialectical philosophy, based on Hegel’s philosophy of freedom, Marx’s dialectical analysis of capitalism, Dunayevskaya’s Marxist-Humanist unity of theory and practice and mass struggles for a new human society.
N&L is a wonderful newspaper. I wish you would have more articles about Marxist-Humanists from various people in the organization. For example, I would like an article about state-capitalism in the Soviet Union, and what a true socialist society would look like.
White Deer, Penn.
Just want you to know that I appreciate N&L. It gives me a better and unique way of looking at other people and our human species. Also your N&L helps me to become more knowledgeable in what is socialism, women’s liberation and revolution. Hopefully I can continue to receive this valuable knowledge. Whenever my inheritance funds reach me, I will be contributing to N&L.
WHAT IS MARXIST-HUMANISM?
Raya Dunayevskaya’s article, “Rival Approaches to Marxist Humanism” (May-June 2021 N&L), holds so much truth: “Communism is not the goal” is as profound as it gets. It is human relations that need fixing rather than an economic model. We can all see the destruction of capitalism, and agree that the abolition of private property is necessary. But I am reluctant to say that communism will be preferable because greedy, lazy people will still be there to exploit others. We can take money away, but what is it in the exploiters that can’t be taken? It is the feeling of inadequacy in incompetent or ignorant individuals that causes them to tear us down. They latch onto those that are capable of providing for themselves and mooch, steal, and exploit in any way they can, because they fear they can’t provide for themselves. That is what we must defeat. Our job is to change the intrinsic nature of exploiters because they are on a path to exterminate us all. The exploiters among us will use every last drop of water on the planet before they allow an equal share. Who is Trump without his material wealth? Something less than human, and he knows it too. That is why he tries to accumulate more than he needs. How many are exactly like Trump? Dunayevskaya and Marx are right; Communism is not the goal. The goal is a unified human race of equality, for the sake of freedom, and now for the first time in history, for our very survival on this planet.
The Guardian published an opinion piece by Bhaskar Sunkara, editor of Jacobin, headlined, “If We Want to Fight the Climate Crisis, We Must Embrace Nuclear Power.” Even after serious theoreticians have debunked all the planks of his argument! The fact that he calls nuclear power “clean electricity” speaks volumes about his lack of commitment to the truth. But I don’t believe that Sunkara or Jacobin get money from the nuclear industry. Rather, this is based on a kind of socialism that views the masses as backward. So the answers to all problems center on technology, technocrats and the state. This type of socialism simply rules out self-activity from below and revolution, and wants to manipulate the masses into following the program.
A new report by the Nuclear, Plasma & Radiological Engineering department of the University of Illinois (NPRE) concludes that nuclear power is critical to Illinois meeting its climate goals. There is not a single disinterested party giving voice to that view! Right on down the line: NPRE and its Advanced Reactors and Fuel Cycle Analysis group, and the report’s co-author, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy at the Department of Energy; or the people quoted in NPRE’s PR release: the President of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Nuclear Matters Advocacy Council, and Bob Rosner from the University of Chicago’s departments of Astronomy & Astrophysics and Physics. Every single one of them is making money from the U.S. fission project, unlike Benjamin Sovacool, a Brit who has participated in an independent study. This is how self-interest informs “scientific” studies.
FLAT EARTH SOCIETY
Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, a lackey of oil companies, asked an expert witness if climate change could be addressed by changing the orbits of the earth or the moon. Does he not realize that proposing to change the “orbits” assumes that the earth is round? He of all people should realize that the earth is flat.
Discovery of 751 unmarked graves in June at the Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan, presumably First Nations children, added to the horrors exposed in May when 215 unmarked graves were found at Kamloops Residential School in British Columbia. Who knows how much more gruesome the tally could be? There were more than 130 residential schools run by churches, mostly Catholic. The Canadian government forcibly kidnapped First Nations children to those schools, as they erased their language and culture. Survivors, whose voices had been little heard, testified to the violence children endured to the point of homicide and routine rape by the religious figures who sometimes cast newborns into incinerators to wipe out evidence of crimes. Indian Schools in the U.S. might have had a more favorable image by exploiting the accomplishments of Olympic champions Jim Thorpe at Carlisle Indian School and Billy Mills from Haskell Institute. But U.S. schools, too, have recently been exposed for children unaccounted for or who never returned to their families, in addition to those scarred by physical and sexual abuse.
The American Indian Movement (AIM), itself inspired by the civil rights movement of Black Americans, concretized deeply radical new human relations in the new society envisioned by and rooted in Indigenous American culture. These concepts reappear in the movements today. At the same time, thanks to U.S. government “divide and conquer” policies, fierce opponents to change have always come from within Indigenous populations, like the many tribal council leaders who benefit financially from suppressing revolution and endorsing pipeline and extractive projects.
Supporter of Indigenous struggles
RACISM TAKES ITS TOLL
After Chicago cops shot Anthony Alvarez in the back during a foot chase, his family built a memorial, which the cops trashed. They lied that they didn’t do it but video footage proved they did. The family built another memorial, which the cops trashed. This is how they roll. First, they kill you. Then they kill your reputation by telling outrageous lies about you, who you were and how you died. Then they repeatedly destroy the memorial lovingly built for you.
U.S. capitalism has a history—and a pre-history—of racism, legal and political, against the Black population of over 400 years, since the beginning of the slave trade. It continues today with white supremacist police murders of unarmed Black and Brown youths, and white supremacist attacks on Asians.
On one hand we have Veep Kamala Harris saying “Don’t come, don’t come!” to refugees from Central America. On the other hand is the inscription on the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor, written by Emma Lazarus in 1883: “Give me your tired, your poor / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free / The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. / Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me / I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” Boy have times changed!
Retired postal worker
Rape culture is worldwide, as demonstrated by both Artemis’s Women WorldWide piece on Frenchwoman “Julie,” who was repeatedly raped and never received justice, and Adele’s review of Emily Joy Allison’s book #CHURCHTOO. (See May-June 2021 N&L.) To hear from folks in the U.S., as my friend and I have, that there is no rape culture, that there is no such thing as sexual harassment, reveals the great denial that exists, as does also the—very frightening—concept of “Purity Culture.” We have a very long way to go for true women’s liberation. I thank every person who is working for it. We can’t give up the struggle. Women and girls are worth it.
For WL in Rogers Park
COMING OUT IN SPORTS
When Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib made an announcement that he was Gay, news reports described the five-year veteran as the first active NFL player to come out, with self-congratulatory observations on how much more welcoming pro football and the media are now. We can hope that is so, but no games are played in June. Just seven years ago Michael Sam’s coming out to his teammates at the University of Missouri during the 2013 season had not interfered with his winning Defensive Player of the Year in the Southeastern Conference. And yet Sam was almost not drafted when NFL teams learned that he was Gay—and he was quickly cut in training camp. I fear that, unless things have seriously changed, the Raiders will suddenly decide Nassib has lost a step.
Not a Raiders fan
COLONIALISM AND LIBERATION
“The People of Myanmar Unite against the Military Coup” (May-June 2021 N&L) brings up difficult questions. Now there are counter-revolutions in nations which had gotten freedom from colonialism. After the great rebellions against colonial nations, overt colonialism was overthrown but national liberation movements turned into their opposite. It’s a worldwide phenomenon: colonies putting forth powerful ideas against colonialism and the focus now seems to be struggle within these liberated countries. Marx foretold this—it’s the beginning, not the end, of the revolution. New categories are developing. At the bottom is capitalism prevailing; state, military or gangsterism (including brutal Islamism). Even after centuries of India fighting for freedom and winning independence in 1947, it was broken up into religious units. Stripping off old-fashioned imperialism brings forth new dangers and new opportunities, as the revolution continues; great leaders compromise and turn into their opposite. All capitalism’s forms still dehumanize the laboring producers. A new kind of thought has to come into being to reclaim the call for freedom and humanity.