We post this Dec. 24, 2018, commentary by Mohammed Elnaiem as a discussion article which begins: “On these holidays, we mourn for the Kurds in Syria who hopelessly fear an upcoming Turkish invasion, we mourn for the yellow vests in France who rise up in an empire built on colonial wealth but which continues to make destitute its working and unemployed poor…”
At least 358 civilians were killed and over 400 wounded in a truck bombing by al-Shabaab in Mogadishu, Somalia, Oct. 14, 2017.
Readers’ Views on Philosophy and Revolt vs. Trumpism; Trump and the Left; Injustice to Immigrants; Anti-Woman, Anti-Labor Uber; ACT UP; From Iran; To Mexico; Why Read News & Letters?
President Robert Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since the overthrow of white minority rule in 1980. The succession is now being contested by factions of the ruling ZANU-PF party.
At the crux of the world refugee crisis is a demand for new human relations. The will to deny any responsibility for centuries of exploitation of Latin America and Africa is at the root of inhuman attitudes toward refugees, and it becomes an opening for the most reactionary politicians.
People’s suffering, no matter the price of oil, demonstrates capitalism’s inherent deep ties with climate change and economic destruction.
Moroccan professor on hunger strike in protest of suppression of rights of journalists
A roundup of progressive legislation and legal victories involving LGBTQ people in Mozambique, Kenya, Botswana, and Zambia.
Worldwide, the refugee crisis is unprecedented and is fueled by war, terrorism and climate change. The worldwide response is paltry with country after country turning away or deporting frantic and desperate people in search of a safe haven.
In a day-long orgy of murder on April 2, four al-Shabaab terrorists invaded the campus of Garissa University College and killed 143 students.
The article excerpts a summary of a talk by Dunayevskaya to a conference on Women’s Liberation in Detroit. The purpose of the meeting was to help Dunayevskaya work out the final chapter of her book then in progress, Philosophy and Revolution. That last chapter would take up the “New Passions and New Forces” for the reconstruction of society. The Conference was also the beginning of the News & Letters—Women’s Liberation Committee.
In celebrating the first 60 years of News and Letters Committees, we reprint excerpts from the Draft Perspectives for 1975-76 by Raya Dunayevskaya, the first printed in News & Letters.
THE MOVEMENT KNOWS, of course, that the class enemy is at home, within each country. It knows full well that each existing state power is weighted down with fear of revolution. And it does not fail to appreciate that, no matter how deep the intra-imperialist rivalries, capitalist class solidarity holds tightest and strongest against its own people.
Today’s African tragedies compel one to return to the great promise, and then great tragedy and betrayal, of the African Revolutions that emerged after World War II.
From Ferguson to Staten Island; Revolutionary Rojava; Youth Protest; Violence Against Women; Detroit Solidarity; Paris March; Recalling Mary Jo
Some are calling this Burkina Faso’s Revolution 2.0, referring back to Thomas Sankara’s 1983-1987 rule.
Contradicciones históricas en la civilización de los Estados Unidos. Las masas afroamericanas como vanguardia: New Spanish Translation of American Civilization on Trial: Black Masses as Vanguard by Raya Dunayevskaya.
From the November-December 2014 issue of News & Letters
Readers’ Views, Part 2
PHILOSOPHY, ACTIVITY, ORGANIZATION AND SOCIALISM
I appreciate how Dunayevskaya relates Hegel’s Absolutes with the concrete tasks of building a revolutionary organization. History is the process of becoming. Hegel said that Being and Nothing are abstractions, whereas [=>]
From the September-October 2014 issue of News & Letters
by Dee Perkins
With the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories, going nowhere, President Obama signed an executive order July 21 prohibiting such discrimination by federal contractors, which employ some 28 million workers, and, further, [=>]
Roundup on advances and resistance on same-sex marriage in churches and states.
Violence continues in the Central African Republic. French troops are present, but not heavily involved in peacekeeping. The French were never in CAR for humanitarian reasons, but to protect investments, something that has become less pressing for them with the closure of their once-profitable Areva uranium mine.
CeCe McDonald; Arizona’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act; Global Day of Action called by Solidarity Alliance in Nigeria.
“For Nelson Mandela,” a poem by Paul Knopf.
Violence between Christian majority and Muslim minority communities has torn the social fabric of the Central African Republic, one of the world’s poorest countries. Over 1,000 people have been killed since Michel Djotodia seized power in March 2013. Reciprocal massacres have led many observers to see a real possibility of a Rwanda-type genocide.
The January-February issue of News & Letters is online. Rampant U.S. surveillance slouches toward totalitarianism; Tahrir three years later; Charles Denby, worker-editor; Syrian revolution ‘brought us together’; Communization theory’s missing link: dialectical mediation; what happens after; Language and death in Juárez; Let RNs give care; …
Queer Notes: Discrimination in Russia; Intersex in Germany; no prison for rape in Iowa; transition surgery in Iran; Lembembe murdered in Cameroon.
Achebe made a great statement of responsibility toward the future. His questions are only more significant because they resonate beyond the Africa of newly-won independence to a world struggling with the meaning of history and revolution.
World in View
by Gerry Emmett
Ex-Pope Benedict’s reactionary career
Pope Benedict XVI’s sudden resignation announcement on Feb. 11 took the world by surprise. It is the first time in almost 600 years that a Pope has decided to quit. He has announced that he will continue to live in the Vatican, bearing the title “Pope emeritus,” and [=>]
World in View
by Gerry Emmett
The long-simmering situation has exploded. French troops have begun attacking fundamentalist militias in northern Mali. It remains to be seen how effective French and African forces will be against the militias. Certainly many people want to be rid of the al-Qaeda-linked groups that have attacked women, destroyed historic Sufi Muslim [=>]
The deep contradictions Mali has been experiencing are about to become even more intense. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has agreed to send several thousand troops to join Malian troops in an operation to take back the northern part of Mali. The area has been primarily under fundamentalist, al-Qaeda-linked, Islamic rebel control [=>]
by Suzanne Rose
Yaounde, Cameroon—Human rights leaders from Africa united to denounce “Gay Hate Day,” which took place on Aug. 21 in Cameroon, and the ongoing arrests of people suspected of being Gay. The Archbishop of Yaounde contributed to this homophobic backlash calling homosexuality “shameful” and “an affront to the family, enemy of women and [=>]
Oakland, Calif.—On Aug. 24, 100 activists converged on Oscar Grant Plaza to express solidarity with the South African miners’ struggle in Marikana and outrage over the police slaughter of 34 striking workers at Lonmin Platinum Mine there. Signs read: “This Was Not An Aberration” and “Capitalism Requires [=>]
World in View
Since South Sudan gained its independence in July 2011, multiple conflicts erupted between the two Sudans and within each country. Enormous human suffering resulted, with hundreds if not thousands of deaths, rapes, forced displacement and increasing hunger.
A central thread of the conflict is the struggle over oil. South Sudan has most of the [=>]
Protests began in September in Wukan, a village of 20,000 people in Guangdong province on the South China Sea, against seizure of more than 100 acres of Wukan’s common land to be sold to those with insider ties to the village Communist Party leadership. Village authorities escalated the conflict by identifying protest leaders and hauling [=>]
As yet another UN conference on climate change dissolves into meaninglessness (no surprise there), a barrage of news underscores the urgency of the problems that are being given little more than lip service. Examples:
New perils seen to even modest warming
Hotter, drier, meaner: Trends point to a planet increasingly hostile to agriculture
Carbon dioxide emissions show record [=>]
“By planting trees, my colleagues in this grassroots movement and I planted ideas. The ideas, like the trees, grew.” —Wangari Maathai (1940-2011)
Dr. Wangari Maathai never forgot the power of ideas or individuals in grassroots movements. In her memoir, Unbowed, she wrote, “A tree…tells us that in order to aspire we [=>]
by Gerry Emmett
Protests against deteriorating economic conditions, fuel shortages and government repression were met with brutal force by authorities in Malawi on June 20-21. Police fired on large crowds in a number of cities, attacking with tear gas, and forcing protest leaders into hiding. At least 19 people were killed in two days of clashes [=>]
Editor’s note: Zimasa Lerumo is coordinator of Abahlali baseMjondolo-Western Cape Youth Project and involved in the “No Land! No House! No Vote!” campaign. Their campaign for South Africa’s 2011 elections declares: “No! to Capitalist Democracy. No! to ANC, DA, ID, COPE, UDM policies that lead to water cutoffs, electricity cutoffs, and forced evictions.” They will [=>]
by Robert Taliaferro
John’s writings are strikingly poignant and timeless, with a prosody that is uniquely old-school. The body of his work is eloquently instructive and historically prescient.
In reading his columns we are challenged to look upon his words as more than philosophical constructs; there is a timelessness that reminds us that history–if left to its [=>]
News & Letters, Vol. 56, No. 3
Draft for Marxist-Humanist Perspectives, 2011-2011
Revolution and counter-revolution take world stage
Revolution and counter-revolution have forced their way to the center stage of history. In Tunisia and Egypt, revolutions have opened tremendous possibilities and spread the fire of their passion all across the Arab world and from China to the [=>]
For Egyptian women the oppression of the last decades was extreme. They could not report the harassment they experienced to anyone, and men face no consequences when they harass. Public spaces became very problematic for women: their very presence on the street was an opportunity for men to show their “manhood” by harassing them.
Despite a [=>]
by Gerry Emmett
The final vote for southern Sudan’s independence from the north will be overwhelming. The days of referendum have been days of tears and memories along with happiness. Among the diaspora, people in line to vote echoed the words of one woman who said, “I’m casting my vote for the men and women who [=>]
The Egyptian story of the human shield shone forth in January amid all the mayhem and murder that captured the news. Thousands of Muslims from all over Egypt stood guard as Coptic Christians worshiped during their Christmas mass or held candlelight vigils for the 21 Christians killed a week before by religious extremists. One Muslim [=>]
Woman as Reason
by Terry Moon
The Pope made quite a splash a few months ago with his comments in Peter Seewald’s book Light of the World, where he grudgingly accepted the use of condoms in extremely limited situations: “there may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a [=>]
Editor’s note: S’bu Zikode of Abahlali baseMjondolo of Western Cape spoke recently in Oakland, Cal., on a U.S. tour about this movement within South Africa. Here are excerpts from his talk:
People are born and live in these shantytowns, at least 2.3 million of us. In 2005 Abahlali baseMjondolo, an organization representing 25,000 people, came together [=>]
When Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak unleashed his plainclothes security agents and hired thugs against the freedom fighters in Tahrir Square Feb. 2, it was not only to support his shaken and discredited 30-year regime. He was serving the interests of all rulers, in the Middle East and beyond, that are terrified by the international wave [=>]
The world food crisis, which was hot in 2008 and then subsided temporarily, is getting worse again. It was one of the factors in Tunisia’s revolution, along with recent revolts in Algeria. The piece below, published in the June-July 2008 issue of News & Letters, is still quite germane.
World food crisis stirs [=>]
South Africa’s ‘Class Apartheid’
Two decades after Nelson Mandela was freed from prison, South Africa has actually increased the apartheid-era race and class inequality. Neoliberal capitalist economic policies have resulted in massive unemployment and poverty that has been termed “class apartheid.” So extreme is the situation that the unemployment rate for Black youth has reached almost [=>]