Readers’ Views, November-December 2019, Part Two

From the November-December 2019 issue of News & Letters

PERMANENT REVOLUTION AND THE DIALECTIC

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Too bad there was not room for a fuller title than “Permanent Revolution and Dialectic” for Raya Dunayevskaya’s discussion in the Sept.-Oct. N&L. Perhaps “Permanent Revolution’s Relation to the Hegelian Dialectic of Absolute Negativity: in Marx’s Thought, as Forces of Revolution as Reason, and in its Significance for Today.” Unwieldy, but it gives an indication of what she was grappling with. What’s been lost in much of the discussion by today’s Marxologists is Marx’s deep indebtedness and at the same time profound critique/recreation of Hegel’s dialectic in relation to a recognition by Marx of subjects of revolution as Mind as well as muscle of social transformation. Without that, the meaning of Marx’s revolution in permanence for our day is lost. Dunayevskaya is intent on recovering the development of Marx’s concept of permanent revolution—particularly its rootedness in Hegel’s dialectic of absolute negativity and in the revolutionary subjects of his day. Marx’s permanent revolution has philosophic origins and the flesh and blood of his day’s emancipatory struggles. Dunayevskaya points out a trail of Marx’s concept to her day. Isn’t our task to explore the significance of this concept for the 21st century?

Eugene Walker
Mexico City

***

“Permanent Revolution and the Dialectic” begins with Karl Marx after the suppression of the 1848 Revolutions that he had been immersed in. The conclusions Marx drew, the opposite of the depression that many revolutionaries fell into politically, preserved the high point of the defeated revolution in his category of revolution in permanence. Dunayevskaya was able to measure the self-described Marxists of her day against Marx’s Marxism, and single out new revolutionary impulses shaking off imperialism in Africa and Asia or revolting against state-capitalism calling itself Communism. Marx and Dunayevskaya couldn’t be more relevant to the Syrian Revolution, which wrested control of most of the country from Bashar al-Assad and was governed by autonomous committees, only to be pushed close to defeat by Assad’s counter-revolutionary partners Russia and Iran. Yet revolutionaries are determined their accomplishments be preserved for the next revolution in Syria or the world.

Bob McGuire
Chicago

***

Articles on the thought of G.W.F. Hegel are very interesting. Harder to wrap my head around than Kant. Thank you.

Prisoner
Walpole, Mass.

VOICES FROM BEHIND BARS

I like that N&L calls for unity among the marginalized masses, but as an incarcerated individual the only thing I am seeing is one’s race. We are divided by racial lines, and it’s my belief that the system (Dept. of Corrections) encourages this division among prisoners. As long as we’re fighting among ourselves, we’ll never address the real problem, the prison-industrial complex. We live in miserable conditions, hungry, cold, and under constant attack by staff both psychologically and physically. One hundred yards from where I’m writing these lines, beyond the barbed-wire fence, lies one of the richest nations, but we live in constant lack, in constant need of basic necessities.

Prisoner
Aberdeen, Wash.

***

I think that innocent people are given life sentences for money. It supposedly costs $75,000 a year per inmate. I live here and I can assure you, it costs no more than $5,000 a year for me. The other $70,000 is going directly in someone’s pockets. That is $150,000 a year for a six by eight two-man cell—the most expensive hotel in the world! Yet my continental breakfast is garbage. That may be because prison officials regularly pilfer the food budget. Pure greed! And all of this profit is in a state-run institution that is supposed to be non-profit. Thieves in a suit and tie! They are the ones with guns and jails. Who can fight that?

Prisoner
Calipatria, Calif.

***

I like N&L. However, I still have no idea what Marx’s theory will look like in modern society. I want an example of how everything will work, like education, rights, workforce, police, government. Will people be free to do what they want? Can I become a billionaire? Growing up in America, all you get is propaganda about Marx’s theory. Always comparing it to the evil USSR. I have a friend who lived in a country that was under USSR rule, and they tell me how awful the USSR was and their policies. However, I don’t think they were practicing Marx’s theory the way he envisioned it.

Prisoner
Corcoran, Calif.

***

You have been shining a new light in my eyes on things that are happening that I don’t hear anywhere else. I enjoy your articles. I have learned a lot. Please keep up the hard work and keep the light shining.

Prisoner
Kenedy, Texas

***

I would appreciate a copy of your Pelican Bay Hunger Strikes pamphlet. We are experiencing similar problems with the sadistic prisoncrats who run things here. In 2015 thanks to the Mandela Rules SHU/seg time was lowered drastically here. A lot of staff were upset. Now they are sticking us with as many rule violations as possible for each situation so they can stack seg time from 30 days to several 30-day periods run consecutively. They are using unconstitutional “gang activity” charges in order to apply “administrative control,” which is simply a different title that allows them to keep one in segregation for an additional 90 days. I learned to hate in prison!

Prisoner
West Liberty, Ky.

***

I’d like to see more promotion of the right to vote for all inmates. We need a voice in government.

Prisoner
Newport, Ark.

***

I grew up Black on the south side of Houston. The education system in Texas, much like the rest of Amerikkka, is culturally biased and tries to blind us to the history of the real world. N&L is some of the best education out there, and I share the paper with anyone who is willing to listen, open up their mind, and learn. I have known a small bit about Marx through the years, but I didn’t begin to study and fully understand his philosophy till about five years ago. I love N&L because it’s a fearless paper all about truth. All of the mainstream media are whitewashed and print just to entertain and program weak minds. N&L holds nothing back and educates readers on what’s real. I would love to continue my subscription and give a huge thanks to y’all and the donors who help us stay connected to the real news. We are all one and will not fall.

Your brother in struggle
Midway, Texas


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.

 

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