Readers’ Views: November-December 2022, Part Two

November 11, 2022

From the November-December 2022 issue of News & Letters


Adrienne Rich

The dialogue between Adrienne Rich and Dunayevskaya where Rich reviewed Dunayevskaya’s major writings and Dunayevskaya responded with an extensive letter (see “Letter to Adrienne Rich,” Sept.-Oct. N&L), is a fascinating interchange between revolutionary thinkers. Rich’s title for her review, “Living the Revolution,” caught the spirit of Dunayevskaya’s life. I reread it along with Dunayevskaya’s letter (p. 11293, Raya Dunayevskaya Collection) and it is a true feminist grappling with Marx’s Marxism through the lens of Marxist-Humanism, including its feminist dimension. I was particularly taken with her explanation that her “most philosophic” work, Philosophy and Revolution, was in fact rooted in the actions, questions, and difficulties found in various movements from practice, movements from below.

After Rich died, there were numerous writings on her. Most concentrated on her poetry, some on her feminism. But sadly, there was no recognition of her exploration of Marx’s Marxism and Raya Dunayevskaya which was so significant to her in her last decades.

Eugene Walker
Oaxaca, Mexico


Editor’s note: Dear Reader, while few have mentioned Rich’s turn to Marx and fewer her debt to Dunayevskaya, please see the “Review-Essay: Adrienne Rich’s Expanding Solitudes“ in the Nov.-Dec. 2021 N&L by Alec Marsh. There Marsh took up Ed Pavlićs work, Outward: Adrienne Rich’s Expanding Solitudes, which does take up Rich’s turn to Marxism but, as Marsh writes, “doesn’t say so directly” that “much of” her turn to Marxism was “due to Rich’s reading of News & Letters and her collaboration with Raya Dunayevskaya.” Marsh is working on a book that corrects this error. Verso printed a blog on Sept. 14, 2022, from Ciarán O’Rourke, “From the Prison House,” that also takes up Rich’s turn to Marxism, but leaves out Dunayevskaya, even though it seems to us that O’Rourke must have known of Rich’s relationship to Dunayevskaya.



After having read about Mx. Yanna having been sexually abused 135 documented times and the current legal battles with her compassionate release, in the Jan.-Feb. 2022 N&L, submitted by C. Henderson, Marianna, Fla., I’d now care to input some legal knowledge as to federal law: 18 U.S.C. Section 3553 is the applicable legal citation covering compassionate release. I hope that helps! Kindly publish this in the next issue and continue sending me N&L.

Milton, Fla.


How will Vietnam enforce its historic declaration that being LGBTQ+ isn’t an illness and banning both conversion therapy and discrimination against Queer people in medical settings? While their Health Ministry issued a number of instructions in line with the declaration affirming the dignity of LGBTQ+ Vietnamese to all medical centers, the government has yet to enact and enforce strong human rights laws for Queer people.

Nova Scotia



Slavery in today’s U.S. is for real! It is just slavery by another name. Here in this capitalist state, for almost every prison unit there are hundreds of jobs performed 24/7 by unpaid forced prison labor. All in violation of federal and some states’ minimum wage laws. Then there are private, for-profit prisons. They use free forced slave labor, too. They have to just to be able to operate and turn a profit for their shareholders. I wonder, how is this not against the law? Thank you, N&L, for opening my eyes and giving me the ammunition of understanding. How can a for-profit company that is confining prisoners at taxpayer expense then use those prisoners for “free” forced labor?

Beeville, Texas



The disciplinary court at my prison is heavily biased toward whatever a staff member writes. Become unpopular among the staff, due to your charge, medical issue, etc., and you can easily be wrongfully found guilty. This may come across as a minor issue, but staff members have hurled the most serious charges at those they hate. Their favorite is to say you threatened to kill someone, including staff. Such a charge will mean that an inmate will be denied parole, even if he makes every effort to stay out of trouble. This adds unnecessary years to sentences that are already lengthy beyond need. The taxpayer foots the bill and all of society pays, as inmates learn to distrust, and even hate, all kinds of authority.

Calico Rock, Ark.



What happened to “it is better to let 1,000 guilty people go than to incarcerate one innocent person”? Why are we allowing government officials to even continue to indulge in the practice of their harassment, claim “Blue Lives Matter,” and portray police as victims, knowing that collectively between them and prosecutors they routinely and fraudulently incarcerate innocent people. Then, after destroying them, give them basically a pittance as compensation—that is supposed to make the person whole?! MONEY is why people are forced to commit crimes. Why are we not making sure people have what they need to survive, and take away the incentive to indulge in these practices, and why are we not forcefully stopping THE STATE? Isn’t it past time for this?

New Castle, Ind.



Aretha Franklin was one of the greatest singers ever. But as we know from recent news, to the FBI she was a suspicious person who associated with “Communists” like Martin Luther King. So naturally they surveilled her and kept a secret file.

Franklin fan



Your July-Aug. issue of N&L is the best and most relevant information source I have received this year. Of course, the fact that America is coming apart (failing) more every day—the ultimate result of rampant capitalism in a country that is NOT a democracy but an oligarchy—means that your writers have a huge amount of issues to choose from.

John Taylor
Cañon City, Colo.



I’m a state lifer/prisoner in California. I just wanted to say thank you for keeping me on your mailing list and to the people who donated. Please know I first share my issues with my comrades—homeboys and friends, who are serious and receptive about helping our cause for positivity, equality.

Mr. Fields
San Diego, Calif.


I really love and want to keep receiving N&L. I can relate to the struggles in the newspaper, like how you talk about the war that’s going on right now. I also like how people speak about what’s going on in other prisons.

Charleston, Mo.

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