May Day and its celebrations became a good moment to explore the relationship between theory and the movement from practice by revisiting Marx’s intimate connection to the issues that led to May Day.
In the union vote at Amazon in Alabama, the overriding issue was the dehumanization of laboring activity underlying Amazon’s brutal working conditions. The tyrannical conditions begin from an algorithm that runs an army of robots that don’t get sick in a pandemic.
Since the term “Marxist humanism” has once again become current, but subject to the most varying, and often sanitized, meanings, we present Raya Dunayevskaya’s 1961 writings on “Marxist Humanism in New Books and Reviews.” Once more, we face the questions she explored then: Why now, and how did these writers end up so opposite to where they seemed to be starting from?
The challenge from below has brought new attention to Marxist humanism. Defeatism and undialectical misreading, to rebury Marx as a “gradualist” and ethical utopian, deepens the separation of the intellectual both from the revolutionary ideas of Marxist-Humanism and from the concrete movements reaching for Humanism, socialism, and the creation of a new society.
We mourn the loss of a founding member of News and Letters Committees, who participated in the first national strike against automation in the coal mines and later co-wrote its history in “The Coal Miners’ General Strike of 1949-50 and the Birth of Marxist-Humanism in the U.S.”
Kevin O’Brien takes up Andy’s role in the 1949-50 Coal Miners’ General Strike, the overlooked history of African-American miners, and living up to Wendell Phillips, from whom he took his pen name.
West Virginia public school teachers carried out a general strike across the state beginning Feb 22, first striking for two days with union approval, then forcing the union to extend the strike for two more days until the governor offered a 5% raise.
Former miner Andy Philips speaks about the interest in Marxist-Humanism at his assisted living facility.
Readers’ Views on The Dialectic of History Vs. Retrogression; Prisoners, Supporters Speak.
Review of White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg.
Chinese university students’ struggle at Tiananmen Square for better living conditions; Kaiser workers’ fight against two-tier wages and the continuous miner; and today’s Hong Kong Youth’s Umbrella Revolution, Occupy Movement and Black Lives Matter all show that workers are alive in struggle.
In the absence of successful social revolution, today’s total crisis is shown in a world capitalist order that is falling apart economically, politically, environmentally, and in thought. That does not mean that we can wait for capitalism to collapse and step aside for a new society. On the contrary. Its desperation makes it that much more vicious, and it threatens to doom all of humanity with it.
We workers see from the inside that capitalism is coming apart. The 1949-50 Coal Miners’ General Strike is significant, not only because it highlights resistance to the early stage of automation, but because the miners’ self-activity signified “The Emergence of a New Movement from Practice That Is Itself a Form of Theory.”
From the News and Letters pamphlet The Coal Miners’ General Strike of 1949-50 and the Birth of Marxist-Humanism in the U.S. we excerpt from Raya Dunayevskaya’s “The Emergence of a New Movement from Practice that Is Itself a Form of Theory,” on miners’ contributions to the philosophic birth of Marxist-Humanism.
Jacqueline Jones’ new book, A Dreadful Deceit: The Myth of Race from the Colonial Era to Obama’s America, is not a call to ignore effects of the concept of race in law and practice. She finds the definition of race repeatedly twisted to suit the needs of the ruling class and wielded as a tool for subjugation of Black and white labor alike.