The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rekia Boyd, Nina Pop, of legions more, have put American civilization on trial. Black women—many of them very young—have been at the heart of many of the rallies and marches. Here, some voices from the movement.
Report from Detroit about the Michigan legislature passing bills to reverse the results of the election, and about plans to oppose from below the suppression of democracy.
The film “The Feeling of Being Watched” exposes the FBI’s “Operation Vulgar Betrayal,” which tracked Muslim organizations only because they were Muslim, and reminds its audiences of other FBI investigations.
Excerpts from the introduction to the new French edition of Charles Denby’s book “Indignant Heart: A Black Worker’s Journal.”
Readers’ views on: U.S. Racism on trial, the right’s crocodile tears, creeping fascism, climate change, nuclear alarms, teachers as labor, Pat Hunt Presente! and Judy and Dan presente!
A diverse crowd at Detroit’s Martin Luther King Day rally and march was even larger than last year’s turnout, proving that we refuse to acquiesce to the blatant anti-humanism of the 45th president.
Report on the book launch on Oct. 14, 2017, at the Newberry Library in Chicago for “Knocking on Labor’s Door: Union Organizing in the 1970s and the Roots of a New Economic Divide,” by Lane Windham.
The administration’s war against truth and reason, such as climate change denial, calls for more than fact-checking. What is needed is to establish a totally opposite ground, that of liberation.
The unprecedented Women’s March on Washington the day after Trump’s inauguration revealed the blossoming of a universal movement with many particulars, from women’s demand to control their own bodies, to Black Lives Matter, to the struggle at Standing Rock.
Raya Dunayevskaya on the first and second women’s movements, the Black dimension, working women, and a total philosophy of liberation.
Prisoner Faruq looks at how African-American History Month came to be, stressing the importance of Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s vision and how Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy included a critique of cultural and social relations as well as race, concluding that history is necessary for formerly enslaved people to move towards freedom.
Readers’ Views on: environmental and social crises; Martin Luther King Day; healthcare crisis, Donald Trump and the election; brutal “justice”; and who reads News & Letters.
An expansive look at the rise of fascism worldwide beginning in the U.S. with Donald Trump and the U.S. election, and taking in European fascism, and the situations in India, the Philippines, China, Japan and the opposition by rulers worldwide to those fighting for a free existence and new human relations.
On the same day that General William Westmoreland waved the flag before Congress, Muhammad Ali refused to be inducted into the Army. While the general was applauded even by the doves, Ali was, within hours, stripped of his title of World Heavyweight Boxing Champion. War exposed the open nerve—”the Black Question”—which has always been the touchstone of U.S. history. It placed American civilization on trial before the world much more seriously than the “war crimes tribunal” in Stockholm.
In remembering Olga Domanski, Ron Kelch writes that she embodied organization as beginning from Hegel’s idea of freedom as a self-moving process that inspires generations of humanity
Remembrances of Olga Domanski by comrades and friends.
Readers’ thoughts on “Srebrenica, Bosnia, 1995; Europe and the World, 2015”; “Struggles against Racism”; “After Cecil, People Are Next”; “Teachers and Children”; “Workers, Customers Pay.”
A review by Adele of “Feminism Unfinished: A Short, Surprising History of American Women’s Movements,” by Dorothy Sue Cobble, Linda Gordon, and Astrid Henry (W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.: New York, 2014). This book is a brief overview of the history of the feminist movement in the U.S. from the period after women’s right to vote was won in 1920 until the present.
ACT UP Chicago grew out of an organization that began in 1984 of Dykes and Gay Men Against Racism and Repression. We became an AIDS activism organization, first called Chicago For Our Rights, then by spring Chicago for AIDS Rights. We pushed for lowering the prices of AIDS drugs, and the release of more of them. By October and the national action in Washington, D.C., we had become ACT UP Chicago. AIDS is a global issue today. This time around, I’d like to see an AIDS activist movement that’s organized by poor, working-class, mostly people of color.
In reading Charles Denby’s “Continuing Magnolia Jungle terror exposes reality of ‘Great Society,’” one is struck by how poignant and presciently modern Denby’s thoughts were and how very little has changed today.
She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry is a documentary of the women’s liberation movement (WLM) in the U.S., from the late 1960s to the early 1970s. Filmmaker Mary Dore used a wealth of historical news coverage to give a sense of the breadth of organizations and depth of demands in the explosive growth of the WLM. Activists, identified within archival footage—including women like Fran Beal of the Civil Rights Movement’s Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Lesbian rights activist Karla Jay, and Judith Arcana of the abortion underground organization Jane—gave contemporary interviews interspersed in the film.
In acquainting readers with coverage of the forces of revolution in News & Letters over its first 60 years, we present “Continuing Magnolia Jungle terror exposes reality of ‘Great Society,’” written by Charles Denby in February 1965, in the midst of the bloody campaign for voter registration in Selma, Alabama.
From Ferguson to Staten Island; Revolutionary Rojava; Youth Protest; Violence Against Women; Detroit Solidarity; Paris March; Recalling Mary Jo
Protests erupted following the decision by a St. Louis County grand jury not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the cold-blooded murder of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Thousands marched under the slogan “Black Lives Matter!” These demonstrations grew in the wake of the equally outrageous decision of a Staten Island grand jury not to indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo for the murder of Eric Garner.
Protests erupted after the cops who murdered Michael Brown and Eric Garner were let off. They mark a new moment of rebellion against a social order in which Black youth are made to live continuously suspended over an abyss of non-existence.
The passion to tear up this deeply racist society by the roots calls for the fullest development in activity and thought.
The U.S. government took an ominous, reactionary political turn in the 2014 midterm elections, with Republicans taking control of the Senate. Extreme pro-war Senators like Joni Ernst in Iowa and Tom Cotton in Arkansas join veterans like Senator “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran” John McCain, who will now control the Armed Services Committee and is hell-bent for new “boots on the ground” in Syria and Iraq. The whole Republican campaign—including these pro-war, pro-fossil-fuel, pro-“fetus is a person” candidates—ran on a cynically deceptive anti-Obama mantra….
From the September-October 2014 News & Letters
THE FREE SPEECH MOVEMENT AND THE BLACK REVOLUTION
I am in the movement still because of the Free Speech Movement (FSM)—it turned my life around. I studied everything about the New Left. I came to Berkeley and decided this is where I needed to be. [=>]
From the July-August 2014 issue of News & Letters
The late Sam Greenlee (1930 – 2014) is best known today for his classic 1969 novel The Spook Who Sat by the Door. This story of Freeman, the first Black CIA agent, who returns to his Chicago neighborhood to organize a revolutionary army of young [=>]
Suddenly, a generation of new radicals was born to replace “the silent generation” of the 1950s. By winter 1964 a new form of revolt, with a new underlying philosophy, called itself the Free Speech Movement. It becomes necessary to view the moment when the student revolt culminated in a mass sit-in.
400 immigrant workers from Mexico and Central America and their U.S. supporters marched through downtown Los Angeles for “comprehensive and humane immigration reform now!”
“Abolish the slums!” was so clearly and loudly the demand of the Negro Revolt in every single part of the country–North, South, East, West–that even President Johnson couldn’t pretend not to have heard it. In words, the President even claimed that that was part of his “war on poverty.” Hadn’t he asked for rat control, and hadn’t Congress denied him even that piddling sum? … As Commander-in-Chief he need not plead. He orders, and his orders were clear and unequivocal: 1) Shoot first…
Raya Dunayevskaya’s sublimely researched American Civilization on Trial: Black Masses as Vanguard (ACOT) deserves a place among the U.S.’s most honest historical treatises.
From the Writings of Raya Dunayevskaya
Editor’s Note: Originally the lead article in the June-July 1964 issue of News & Letters, this article analyzed trends and events of retrogression and the resistance to it that are still remarkably current in today’s Tea Party-infested USA. Footnotes are added by the editors.
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The easy victory of Barry Goldwater [=>]
by Ron Kelch
“We built it!” roared the delegates at the Republican Party convention in Tampa. It was the perfect expression of the presidential campaign and of capitalist thinking in general. The truth is that workers built the social wealth. Capitalists take it from the workers, and the government gets a portion.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan [=>]
In blogs and podcasts, feminists have been discussing the perennial problem of having to explain that feminism means the struggle for gender equality, not female supremacy. Now many third wave and younger feminists have found the courage to reclaim not only the original meaning of “feminism,” but “radical feminism.” During the 1960s and early 1970s, [=>]
Readers’ Views (part 2)
FROM FUKUSHIMA TO NEW YORK
Shut Down Indian Point Now! is calling a press conference immediately prior to a New York State Assembly hearing to determine energy alternatives to the Indian Point plant in January. As the Fukushima, Japan, meltdown shows, nuclear power can never be made safe.
People are becoming increasingly aware [=>]
Woman as Reason
by Terry Moon
Blogger L Boogie has written part one of “Fanon, Alienation and Sexual Harassment,” exploring Frantz Fanon’s 1952 Black Skin White Masks in an exciting way for feminism, by relating his thought to street harassment. (See http://nothingbutahuman.wordpress.com/2011/12/04/fanon-alienation-and-sexual-harassment/)
She begins by relating several incidents of harassment, noting that recollecting them reminded her of “how violent street harassment of [=>]
As Others See Us
This review by Abe Cabrera is excerpted from a Sept. 20, 2011, post on his blog, The Rose in the Crosshttp://elblogdelpelon.wordpress.com/2011/09/20/the-masses-as-reason/
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Raya Dunayevskaya’s book, Marxism and Freedom: From 1776 Until Today, is the founding document of a small political movement, Marxist-Humanism. Opposed equally to the tyranny of “ordinary” capitalism and its counterpart in the [=>]
A Strange Stirring: ‘The Feminine Mystique’ and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s, by Stephanie Coontz (Basic Books, New York), 2011.
A Strange Stirring is an examination of the situation of U.S. women during the years surrounding the 1963 publication of Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique and how it helped the feminist movement change our [=>]
by Gerry Emmett
The Arab Spring has galvanized resistance to European governments’ aim of resolving capitalism’s crisis on the backs of the working class. Revolutionary ideas communicate across greater barriers than the Mediterranean Sea. Across southern Europe, resistance to austerity has begun to express itself in terms learned from Tahrir Square.
On May 15 a mass movement [=>]
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 [=>]
From the new issue of NEWS & LETTERS, May-June 2011:
A Freedom Rider looks back to ‘a sort of revolution’
Editor’s note: This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides, the effort of Civil Rights activists organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and other groups to challenge racially segregated seating on interstate bus [=>]
THE OPPOSITE OF WAR IS NOT PEACE BUT REVOLUTION
Your Statement, War threat over Korea,” issued on your website on Dec. 9 had it just right! “The continuing threat of war on the Korean Peninsula underscores the urgency of the Marxist-Humanist perspective that the opposite of war is not peace but revolution.”
And you had it right [=>]