From the July-August 2020 issue of News & Letters
METHODOLOGY AND LIBERATION
Dunayevskaya’s concept of “Why Being Against ‘What Is’ Is Incomplete without the Corollary, What One Is For” (see “Methodology of Perspectives” May-June 2020) is important. The opposition to police brutality and institutional racism is a magnificent manifestation of the importance of “being against.” Is the expression “Black Lives Matter” a seedling posing what we are for, total liberation? How can that flourish? What methodology aids the process of coming to full human freedom?
Dunayevskaya poses the challenge for us to work out What We Are For in a way that is Concrete and Universal. It needs to be Concrete to answer the problems and contradictions of the here and now. It needs to be Universal, encompassing the whole history of humanity’s fight for freedom, so that we can learn not to fall into traps of “shortcuts” that lead to dead ends, or incomplete reformism, both of which leave us still unfree.
How to be concrete as well as universal? How to be against the old society and for a new revolutionary beginning? This is where the philosophy of dialectics comes in, that is, the struggle for liberation captured as method. If we can comprehend this method as it has been historically developed by Hegel and then in the most revolutionary manner by Marx, and at the same time actively recreate it for ourselves in the here and now of this rebellious moment, then we will be reaching towards a new human beginning, a new society.
Thank you for this very comprehensive overview of the specific ways the pandemic is affecting LBGTIQ people [“Being LGBTQ in the COVID-19 era,” July-August 2020 N&L]. Thanks to the mass protests for Black Lives Matter, the mainstream TV news framed Gay Pride demonstrations this year as rooted in the Stonewall Bar “riot” of 1969, when the patrons in a New York Gay bar fought back against police brutality and a raid on the bar, sparking the entire Gay liberation movement. The story noted that the first Gay Pride March in 1970 in New York was a protest march, not a cultural parade.
An update on “#FixTheElevators,” March-April 2020 N&L: In a victory for worker-student solidarity, the Board of Governors at Wayne State University has agreed to an additional $6 million to fix 16 elevators.
IMMIGRANTS AND THE COURT
As I was reading about the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision on discrimination against LGBTs, I happened upon another good nugget: U.S. v. California is dismissed without review. So sanctuary cities laws stand.
Working against the oppressor in immigration court is stressful and helpless at times. The Supreme Court victory regarding DACA was well celebrated and gave us hope that one day there will be a reform for our broken immigration system!
I’m a DACA recipient and for the longest time I’ve wanted to be an elementary school teacher. I remember not knowing a single English word and I’m just thinking about the teachers who helped me learn English. For that reason I want to help other kids as well.
I am a Temporary Protected Status recipient and I believe that we also should get a shot. DACA and TPS recipients not only contribute towards the economy of the U.S. but we also deserve better lives for ourselves and our families as we have the courage to keep on going in the midst of uncertainty.
Happy day for our movement and DACA recipients. I’m never forgetting about my family who never benefitted from the program, and never forgetting that papers do not equal our radical liberation. It doesn’t end until all of us win.
I really enjoyed the article “Black August, from 1971 to 2011-13” (Nov.-Dec. 2019 N&L). I’ve used it to educate the younger fellows here.
VOICES FROM BEHIND BARS
I love getting N&L. It gives my soul much-needed hope and continuously keeps my spirit high. Just knowing that people all over the world are not just experiencing some of the same struggles that I face, but are resisting, fighting, and advocating for freedom, keeps me strong and lets me know I’m not alone. This is the real news, not that “fake news” designed to keep the masses misinformed.
Being down ten years and being on this side of the fence has made me look at the world with new eyes and a much bigger heart, because of the type of people who cross my tracks. When I get out I will give the real story on how the California Department of Corrections and rehabilitation is getting down, so we can bring a stop to the injustice.
I was convicted of “destruction of an energy facility” or destroying a coal-fired power plant. Capitalism will literally burn through all the natural communities on earth within a few generations. Capitalism: turning living communities into dead communities. The Dept. of Justice tried to place a “terrorism enhancement” on me at sentencing. They failed! And yet, the Bureau of Prisons placed a terrorist management variable on me in order to place me in a medium/high security violent prison run by racially motivated gangs fueled by rampant drug addiction and readily available drugs in a prison the guards have control of. So I am a radical social justice activist trying to stop global warming, doing eight years in a violent prison ruled by racially motivated beatings.
I know from experience that the U.S. imprisons citizens for political writing. This arbitrary and lawless state action threatens every thinking American, though too few acknowledge it. I cannot but defy them, proving they have not silenced me, by devoting the rest of my life to fight for justice. I have learned orders of magnitude more than I knew before being imprisoned.