Draft thesis for discussion about where the world is heading, and what to do about it from a revolutionary standpoint. Part IV: In the absolute opposite of today’s society, one based on freely associated labor instead of slavery to capital’s production for production’s sake, we can leave behind pervasive misery, precarity and antagonism, and self-development and cooperation can flourish, as can a rational relationship to nature. We can see the beginnings in self-organization from below and the ever-growing rejection of capitalism. Against the large part of the Left that focuses on the power of the state to combat disasters, we must bring out the self-activity of masses in motion and not disarm ourselves by separating mass struggles from dialectical philosophy of revolution.
We mourn the passing of a great revolutionary, Karol Modzelewski, one of the leaders of Solidarity in Poland when it was a mass organization of workers against the state.
Readers’ Views on: Socialism and a philosophy of revolution; Sudan in revolt; Iran vs. Iranians; Flint, Mich., play captures voices; Notre-Dame and fracking on native land; gun control debate; labor strikes; debate on fascism; Trump and DeVos; and voices from behind bars.
What is socialism? From Left to Right, this question is becoming central to political discussion. For me, it raises another question, too: What is philosophy? This is where I will begin, with the young Karl Marx.
This is the first in a series of four presentations on “What is Socialism?” Shorter versions will be published in News & Letters. The second essay is “Socialism, labor and the Black dimension”; the third is “Socialism and ecology”; and the last is “Socialism and Women’s Liberation.”
On the occasion of the publication of the new book “Marx’s Philosophy of Revolution in Permanence for Our Day: Selected Writings by Raya Dunayevskaya,” this essay explores Marx’s ideas on the basis of Dunayevskaya’s writings on them as a philosophy of revolution needed for our age.
In “Karl Marx’s Ecosocialism” Kohei Saito brings to light some of the volumes of Marx’s unpublished research and growing concern over capitalism’s deleterious effect on the environment but wrongly rejects Marx’s 1844 philosophic moment.
To observe the 200th birthday of Karl Marx, we present excerpts of a speech given by Raya Dunayevskaya for the Marx centenary year, originally titled “Marxist-Humanism, 1983: The Summation That Is a New Beginning, Subjectively and Objectively.”
The retreat of former Marxist-Humanists into post-Marx Marxism is analyzed by Franklin Dmitryev through the books “Marx at the Margins” by Kevin Anderson and “Marx’s Concept of the Alternative to Capitalism” by Peter Hudis, which appropriate some of Raya Dunayevskaya’s conclusions while quietly dismantling their philosophical framework.
Universal Basic Income is posed by some as a solution to the robotization of work and a “workless society” but this ignores Marx’s liberatory vision of a society in which labor is completely transformed so as to become life’s prime want.
Paris Accord reveals limits of what capitalism will do even in the face of catastrophe. The question is what kind of development can people in all kinds of countries achieve? So long as the vision of an alternative, liberatory path of development is not made concrete as the energizing principle of a movement, a vacuum is left for false alternatives.
Philosophic dialogue discusses Markovic’s turn to fascism.
The rulers’ economic squeeze on Greece is intended to be an ideological prison for the working masses of Europe. Left tendencies aim to use the state to save capitalism or move toward socialism—rather than releasing self-activity of masses in motion as the prime mover of social transformation.
Letters and comments sent in by readers or taken down, to and about the articles in News & Letters or current events.
From the Writings of Raya Dunayevskaya
From the May-June 2012 issue of News & Letters.
Editor’s Note: “On political divides and philosophic new beginnings,” written 25 years ago, is the last writing of Raya Dunayevskaya, who died on June 9, 1987. It was first published in the In Memoriam special issue of News & [=>]
Today’s vital debate about revolutionary organization is illuminated by Marx’s concept of organization in his “Critique of the Gotha Program.”
To understand today we must begin at the beginning, that is to say, as always, with Marx. Specifically the two periods are: the first and the last, the first being the philosophic moment, 1844 [Marx’s Humanist Essays or Economic-Philosophic Manuscripts]. That laid the ground for all future development. The last being the long hard trek and process of developments–all the revolutions, as well as philosophic-political-economic concretizations, culminating in Capital. Yet the full organizational expression of all came only then, i.e., the last decade, especially the 1875 Critique of the Gotha Program. Why only then?
March-April 2014 News & Letters: Women fight for freedom against growing retrogression; On THE Philosophic Point and Dialectics of Organization and Philosophy; Capitalist economy is failing; Ukraine and Bosnia: historic uprisings; more…
The impasse in the anti-capitalist movement after Occupy has led to theoretical stirrings over what to do organizationally, not just about the abolition of capitalism, but a positive concept of the future after capitalism. This is an opportunity to engage Marx’s view of these concerns, which was rooted in his 1844 declaration of a revolutionary humanism as the positive in the negative that opens up to a totally new future by refusing to be defined by what it is against.
The persisting economic crisis has spurred new interest in Karl Marx including “Communization Theory” which projects Marx’s dialectic as a total break with capitalism but without posing a need for dialectical mediation beyond capitalism.
by Ron Kelch
[Absolute negativity] is the simple point of the negative relation to self, the innermost source of all activity, of all animate and spiritual self-movement, the dialectical soul that everything true possesses and through which alone it is true; for on this subjectivity alone rests the sublating of the opposition between concept and reality. –Hegel on second negation in [=>]
From the Writings of Raya Dunayevskaya
Editor’s note: The upsurge of freedom struggles from Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street makes it imperative to learn from the revolutions of a half-century ago in Africa, Asia and Latin America, not alone as the excitement of masses in motion but as illuminating the role of theory and organization, [=>]
From the July-August 2011 issue of News & Letters:
- AS REVOLUTION AND COUNTER-REVOLUTION TAKE WORLD STAGE
- CHINESE ART PROJECT
- HEALTHCARE IN 2011
- NEW RIGHT=OLD LEFT?
- FREEDOM RIDES, 50 YEARS AFTER
- WOMEN’S LIBERATION SPEAKS IN MANY VOICES
- BURMA AND NORTH KOREA
- FIGHTING FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
- VOICES FROM BEHIND THE BARS
AS REVOLUTION AND COUNTER-REVOLUTION TAKE WORLD STAGE
Congratulations on a fine May-June issue. Thanks especially for [=>]
From the new issue of NEWS & LETTERS, May-June 2011
Parts IV and V of
Draft for Marxist-Humanist Perspectives, 2011-2012
Revolution and counter-revolution take world stage
- I. The Arab Spring
- II. The wars at home
- III. Japan: earthquake, tsunami and meltdown
- IV. Revolution, organization and philosophy
- V. Marxist-Humanist Tasks
(Parts I, II, and III were posted in the last two days.)
IV. Revolution, organization and [=>]
THE MIDDLE EAST EXPLODES: WHAT HAPPENS AFTER?
The Middle East events are bringing lots of people to talk about 1979 as well as the 2009 movements in Iran. I appreciated Raha’s essay in the Jan.-Feb. issue, Philosophy and Iran’s revolution: Where to now? because it raises the question of what could go wrong right now in [=>]
Setting the historic record straight in response to the attack of the “Marxist-Humanist Tendency” on News and Letters Committees.