From the July-August 2022 issue of News & Letters
DIALECTICS OF PHILOSOPHY AND ORGANIZATION
The May-June From the Writings of Raya Dunayevskaya column, “Hegel’s Third Attitude Today” included excerpts from three different time periods—1961, 1972 and 1987. Dunayevskaya returned again and again to this section of the Hegelian dialectic that became alive for her in different ways at each moment. In 1961, it was to show that the dialectic can illuminate retrogression as well as leaps toward freedom. In 1972, in her Philosophy and Revolution, it was to characterize Mao as an intuitionist, a form of retrogression, when many were characterizing him as an original philosopher and a great revolutionary. In 1987 Dunayevskaya returned to the Third Attitude, seeing in Hegel the question of two kinds of organization—organization of thought, “the Idea,” and “organizational responsibility for the ‘self-determination of the Idea’”—as she was working on a projected book on Dialectics of Organization and Philosophy.
The editor’s note rightly called attention to the relevance of Third Attitude: “thought disjointed from objective truth is running amok today—even including self-described Marxists who oppose self-determination of Ukraine and side with Putin.” At the same time, we should remember that Dunayevskaya was writing her new work to focus attention on the need for revolutionaries, for social activists, to forge a unity out of liberation ideas (dialectical philosophy) and radical organization. This is a challenging task that is very much alive today as a needed pathway toward a society on truly new human beginnings.
Our actions should not be separate from a philosophy of human liberation, which is a long way away from the religious hypocrites who talk about mercy when it comes to a fetus while at the same time they are raping kids in church chambers. The far right tries to hide their racist agenda of the past, present, and future, ban books in school that reveal the true history of the U.S. and the world, while they cover up their true character of being opposed to all minorities with their racist agendas.
PELICAN BAY HUNGER STRIKE PAMPHLET
Last night I was reorganizing my property, some of the stuff I’ve not seen in more than five years, as it was stored at an ad-seg property room. It brightened my day to come across and reread the brilliant little booklet you put together in 2012, Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers: ‘We Want to Be Validated as Human’, the News & Letters reports from the 2011 hunger strike. I showed a few of your other solidly supportive writings to my friends.
California prisoner, 2011-13 hunger strikes participant
PRISON AND SLAVERY
Here at Florida State Prison they have implemented oppressive rules to stop the flow of contraband when actually 80% of all contraband comes from them. It’s just another way to make money off of us and oppress us at the same time, smh. U.S. capitalism is another form of slavery without the whips and chains. Well, maybe just without the whips, because they most definitely use chains. If you end up on the wrong side of capitalism, you’re either chained to a life of poverty or to a life in prison.
Florida State Prison, Tampa, Fla.
Being a prison inmate time and again, I’d like to expound upon the slavery exception clause of the 13th Amendment. Until we finally deal with slavery worldwide, including sexual slavery, as a people, how can we ever attain freedom for the world? The issue of slavery is to be tackled every day lest this energy continue to build and bind the world. Slavery allows for a continuation of restrictions to be placed on the world, to keep the planet blinded to the truth of governments that not only are greedily corrupt and steal and kill; but it also binds the will of a lot of people to physically be and express the truth for the universe to behold. Slavery in all its forms is but the growth, little by little, for the idea against freedom to be perpetuated all over the world. When the worldwide battle for slavery to end takes place, then we will see the magic and beauty of freedom elevate this world to higher truths.
A Freedom Fighter
Iowa Park, Tex.
I’m requesting a free Marxist-Humanist newspaper because I’m standing against capitalism, imperialism, and oppression. I face oppression, injustice, and discrimination daily in this institution—the neo-slave plantation and Prison Industrial Complex. My constitutional rights are violated by administration and prison officials almost every day at Hayes State Prison. There was a tragic suicide here on May 23 because of security vacancies and deprivation of 30-minute intervals in the dorms.
Could you please sign me up for your newspaper? We are on a statewide lockdown due to an inmate escaping. Gov. Greg Abbott put the entire Texas Department of Corrections on lockdown.
For as long as I can remember, politicians have been saying “build more prisons and lock folks up.” Now that they have done that, prisons are overcrowded and have not enough people to fill the jobs as guards or nurses. So what do they do? They turn Mountain View Correctional Institution into one big Seg (administrative segregation or solitary). We’ve been locked in our cells for months with no relief in sight. Why can’t they bring back parole for older guys like me, guys pushing 60 and older?
Spruce Pine, N.C.
Since I have been at the Adult Detention Center, they have been refusing newspaper and secondary material that can help with my criminal defense. I’ve been here three years awaiting trial. None of the materials like Prison Legal News or material from the Center for Constitutional Rights or Prison Activist Resource Center pose any threat to ADC security. I have filed for the retaliation and infringing on my First Amendment rights. They are violating other rights here and displaying a deliberate indifference to medical needs. You can see on the internet how many deaths have happened here. It’s people in this unit that haven’t had showers or recreation for months. It’s people that are mentally ill and are locked down 24 hours each day.
Recently my prison’s mailroom has been claiming that your publication’s issues “incite riots, work stoppages,” etc. The Arkansas Department of Corrections headquarters has been backing up these claims and denying your publications. I send in all appeals, but I have no way to know what is in the publications. That makes it hard to know if their claims are legit or not.
Calico Rock, Ark.
VOICES FROM BEHIND BARS
I’ve been locked up for 35 years minus 15 months of freedom. A fellow prisoner gave me the March-April issue of your amazing N&L newspaper and I love it. I would love a subscription. Will you please add me to your mailing list? I just turned 60 on April 4 and I feel wonderful, strong and healthy. I’m doing life with no parole. When I have the right person, I will surely get you a good donation.
I am a political prisoner and revolutionary freedom fighter being held captive (POW). Please issue me a free subscription to your newspaper.
TO OUR READERS: Can you donate $5 for a prisoner who cannot pay for a subscription to N&L? It will be shared with many others. Prisoners are eligible to continue their free subscriptions when they first get released, a time when the system tries to make them forget the struggle.