Reader’s Views, March-April 2015, Part 2

From the March-April 2015 issue of News & Letters

MARXIST-HUMANIST PHILOSOPHY IN THE WHIRLWIND OF EVENTS

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N&L is going strong with great coverage of the major domestic and international events. Wow, what a whirlwind we have had the past 6-12 months. Thank you for showing that freedom’s drive seems irrepressible and for continually articulating Marx’s core vision of a free, humane, human society. I am so heartened by the youth activism around police violence. What a time to be alive! Even the Republicans feel compelled to talk about economic inequality! The link between economic destruction, community dissolution and police state repression, both federal and local, is clear even to the minimally attentive citizen. The time is ripe for a clear Marxist-Humanist message as an alternative to the corporate-controlled political parties and media of the U.S.

Prisoner
Bastrop, Texas

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If the lyrics of “Glory” weren’t perfectly clear, “Justice is juxtapositioning us/justice for all ain’t specific enough/It’s why Rosa sat on the bus/It’s why we walk through Ferguson with our hands up…” John Legend and Common drove the point home in their Oscar acceptance speeches: “Selma is now…we see you, we are with you.” Although the word “glory” in Black music refers to a religious transformation, it can certainly represent a new, human society as well, rooted in the kind of freedom Raya Dunayevskaya’s May 20, 1953, letter discovered in G.W.F. Hegel’s Philosophy of Mind. “Free will in a new social order…not the free will of the Ego…but the free will of the social individual.”

Susan Van Gelder
Detroit

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Through Marxist-Humanism I have become aware of the power of abstractions, i.e., how they are essentially the determining factor through which we humans structure our social relations with other humans. That awareness prompted me to examine all my present social relationships from the standpoint of the Marxian concept: humanism as the expression of the manner in which a human being is human to another human. The change agent is the social entity of the new society struggling to transcend the perversity of capitalist relations. The perversity lies in the nature of capital’s production process where dead labor dominates living labor and whereby humans have material relations with each other and things have social relations. It is that inverse social relation which must be transcended if humanity is ever to really breathe free from all that interferes with it.

Faruq
Represa, Calif.

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07-rlwlkmMarxist-Humanism gives us a deeper ground than Gramsci for understanding the relationship between philosophy, practice, and the mediation between both: organization (see “Philosophic Dialogue,” Jan.-Feb. N&L). Organization should be rooted in dialectical philosophy, as well as in the practice of the masses as itself a form of theory; without that, it is nothing. I had a friend who read Gramsci, Lenin, even Mao, and all the theoreticians who talk about organization and “revolutionary intellectuals.” He concretized that into a vanguardist organization. He understood the idea of the “organic intellectual” as “Marxist” intellectuals inside the academy struggling against “traditional intellectuals” for hegemony of knowledge. For him, masses are not the social subjects; intellectuals are. The relation between theory, practice and organization can be developed from within Marxist-Humanism itself, and in a more profound sense—for it is rooted in the absolute method. In Dunayevskaya’s Rosa Luxemburg, Women’s Liberation, and Marx’s Philosophy of Revolution, as well as in her unwritten book about organization and philosophy (examined in E. Gogol’s Toward a Dialectic of Philosophy and Organization), we can find several pathways for understanding and developing this relationship.

G.W.F. Héctor
Mexico

SAVING THE PLANET

Calling themselves the #Flood11, eleven activists who participated in last September’s Flood Wall Street action after the People’s Climate March are refusing to pay fines related to charges of disorderly conduct. Instead, when their trial begins March 2, they plan to use the necessity defense to argue that Wall Street, through its investments in fossil fuels, is the real harbinger of disorder. Please see a collective statement from #Flood11 and sign and circulate the petition at http://systemchangenotclimatechange.org/article/flood-wall-street-goes-trial.

Pete R.
Brooklyn

***

Our tax money supported the development of nuclear fission, then the labs at Oak Ridge and Rocky Flats to figure out how to get lots of fissionable plutonium and uranium. The whole world put up with the fallout from nuclear tests in the atmosphere—a sacrifice that will go on for generations. Then we supported the outrageously expensive “Atoms for Peace,” which was a gloss on the need to generate plutonium for the cold war. Of all the public money for private enterprises, that is the most horrible. The amount of student debt is about the same as what the administration is planning for the next decade to “upgrade” and “modernize” our nuclear arsenal. A jubilee for the students would be a much better way to spend money than promoting the unspeakable filth of more nuclear enterprise with its impossible waste.

Nuclear opponent
Chicago

VOICES FROM BEHIND THE BARS

prisonPen

Thanks again for your continued coverage of prison activism. Your commitment reminds me how important N&L is in a media environment that ignores the plight of two million second-class citizens of the U.S. in prison and the millions more who are out of prison but because they show up as ex-cons on background checks are legally allowed to be discriminated against.

Prisoner
Bastrop, Texas

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Wisconsin spends $100 million a year locking up parole violators who have done almost nothing, yet Gov. Walker intends to cut $300 million from the University of Wisconsin’s budget to alleviate a nearly $3 billion shortfall—to gut education to the point that almost ensures that mass incarceration will continue. It’s another way to disenfranchise the Black community without poll taxes.

Prisoner
Black River Falls, Wisc.

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I am a politicized prisoner who is very interested in your newspaper but at the current moment I’m without funds and would like if you can please provide me with a donor subscription. I highly appreciate your time and assistance. Together we can end all oppression! In love and struggle supreme,

Prisoner
Huntingdon, Penn.

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I like everything about this paper because it keeps me updated on what’s going on in the SHU. After five years in the Corcoran SHU, I know the struggle we convicts are going through. A lot of mistreatment is going on. Your newspaper exposes those doings. I’m about to get out after doing 13 years and I’d like to continue getting the paper so I can continue to know the truth about what’s going on in the mind of the Beast.

Prisoner
Represa, Calif.

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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 subscriptions when they first get released, at a time when the system tries to make them forget the struggle.

To subscribe for yourself and give a gift subscription to a prisoner, click here.

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