From the November-December 2017 issue of News & Letters
CONCEPTS THAT UNITE PHILOSOPHY & REVOLUTION
Normally, we understand “concept” as a definition whose scientific value is its capacity—or not—to describe reality. However, we see in Dunayevskaya’s two-part column on “A concrete Universal—Marx’s Capital” (July-Aug. and Sept.-Oct. N&L) that “labor power” is a living concept, which speaks of the struggles of men and women to get rid of alienated labor. At the same time, it is profoundly objective, for it comes from the analysis of the contradiction between dead and living labor generated by the “specifically capitalistic mode of production” with mechanized factories. This total unification of the contradictory structure of reality and the will of men and women to overcome such contradiction, to become freer, brings Dunayevskaya to say that Marx’s “original economic categories were so philosophically rooted that [he] created a new unity out of economics, philosophy, revolution, on a specific historic plane.” Marx’s economics is a philosophy of revolution that, when worked out with the actual struggles for freedom, becomes the unity of theory and practice, of philosophy and revolution, that constitutes the revolutionary task of our time.
LIES POISON US
Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency showed its true colors once again when its head, Scott Pruitt, banned scientists who receive EPA research grants from advising the agency. No one believed the blatant lie that it was done to stop conflicts of interest, since he is busy filling agency staff and advisory panels with scientists and others who are corporate lackeys. This administration revels in blatant lies as a way of dissolving the line between true and false.
Trump’s associate Paul Manafort got the privilege of being free and then surrendering, even with so much riding on his indictment for conspiracy and other charges. No predawn raid with smoke canister bombs damaging his house. No danger of the dog or spouse being shot. Our legal system is a completely different experience at every step when you have money, not least because police and prosecutors choose to do different things from the very beginning.
Watcher of police and courts
VOICES FROM BEHIND BARS
I love the newspaper. A positive inspirational article to give Brothers in the underground struggle some strength would be a plus. I’m up in the backwoods of Pennsylvania. When I pass this newspaper around, Brothers tuck it like it’s contraband. I’m at war with the justice system and these racists. I’m Muslim so that makes it twice as bad. I’m from the U.S., but I look like I was born in Mecca, so the things I face and endure relate to the articles. I know racists on a first-hand basis and the newspaper reminds me I’m not alone.
I have been a voice and action in Kentucky prisons. My life is to show others the capability we have! Kentucky prisoners suffer a special type of oppression: “reality numbing.” They offer every sort of toy: TV, tablet, email, cookies and devices to distract men from reality. Men and women are comfortable in this perfect environment for institutionalism to breed. Group efforts, grievances, post-incarceration legal pursuits, education, even keeping contact with kids become extra work when we can play all day. The staff yells at you for untied shoelaces and untucked shirts! Maybe it’s time to focus on job training, college credits, halfway houses focused on re-entry and not money, and healing wounds with community and victims.
Blood in My Eye by George Jackson, Capital and The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx, Che’s works on guerrilla tactics, The Study of Fascism in America, slavery, the Native American holocaust, immigrant exploitation, class separation, racism, the power of money vs. lives, all drive me to fight and make a stand to show by example and sacrifice for just a small change—a mustard seed.
West Liberty, Ky.
Thank you for the past year of knowledge; your N&L is great! As for me, please Google me. Yes, I’m The Litigator For Justice. I feel I’m well informed on Marx and Marxism. Wow, “His words fall out as if they were my words. I’ve never read anything that feels so normal.” I fully understand. I want to help. To do that I will need your help! Whatever information your organization sends it will remain and grow. We are 43,000 prisoners in Arizona and we are not growing in a good way. We need knowledge and guidance.
What can I do to make a lasting impression on Arizona and the Department of Justice? Let’s end my current mission on a big upbeat. I’m close to all races, I’m a go-to person. Let’s make a change.
I’m currently serving my 19th straight year in the Canadian penitentiary system. I would greatly appreciate whatever info you can send on your organization, as well as a copy of N&L. I entered prison far less politically and socially conscious than I am now. I’ve since developed a passionate sense of social justice and interest in variants of Marxism and other critical social perspectives, with my attention becoming increasingly directed to the institutions and systems—capitalist, racist, patriarchal—which perpetuate oppression, exploitation and dehumanization. My commitment is geared toward the social transformation of the world to make it a more just and human place for all people, regardless of color, class, gender, sexual orientation, geographic location, etc.
In my view a major target in radical social transformations must be the political economy; changes in which are crucial to changes in society. Key to social transformation is the basic respect for the humanity of the human being, even those we may find ourselves pitted against. I’ve become convinced that when we resort to undermining another person’s humanity, we lose a part of our own. Your “humanist” brand of Marxism might be exactly the kind of Marxism that I’ve been searching for.
Port Cartier, Quebec
I would love to find a donor so I could keep receiving this informative paper. Being incarcerated, the struggle is harder, but just to have the information is a blessing. I have no TV and most here care less about world affairs. On top of that, almost all the new lifers are 25 years old or younger. But for a person who feels that the state and federal governments have abandoned him, your paper is my only breath of fresh air.
Sign me up for N&L. I would like to thank y’all for everything y’all are doing for me and other inmates in prison. Without y’all I don’t know what we would do. I like to read and I write poems and work on my case. I like to share my work with other inmates who are in the struggle with me.
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. A donation of $8 pays for a subscription plus the Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers pamphlet to be sent to a prisoner. 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. Send your donation to News & Letters at 228 S. Wabash Ave., #230, Chicago, IL 60604, or click on the links above.