As part of the ongoing Fridays for Future, on Aug. 27 several hundred, mostly youth, gathered in San Francisco to call attention to environmental racism, the climate crisis, and public health.
In conversation with Karen Ng’s book “Hegel’s Concept of Life,” Ron Kelch takes up the concept of life and “naturalism” and their relationship to freedom in Hegel, Marx, and Marxist-Humanism. Whether one takes Marx’s starting point of freedom with respect to human life activity that is inextricably part of nature or Hegel’s beginning again from Nature as mediation, the self-determination of the unifying Idea cannot be taken for granted in the face of the spontaneous self-bringing forth of liberty.
This essay probes ways to make new beginnings in a period of reaction. It includes some of the themes of her work toward the book she had tentatively titled “Dialectics of Organization and Philosophy: ‘The Party’ and Forms of Organization Born out of Spontaneity.”
Ed Pavlić’s ‘Outward: Adrienne Rich’s Expanding Solitudes’ is the first critical book to appear after Rich’s Collected Poems (2016) and thus the first covering all of Rich’s poetry. The book is especially welcome because Pavlić attends to the latter half of Rich’s career, and acknowledges her Marxism, largely unexplored territory even now.
The delusions and propaganda that recall the spirit of fascism cannot be defeated by countering them with facts. The new universal must be grounded in the Reason of the masses in motion for freedom, and the philosophy of liberation that roots itself in those movements. What is needed is to begin from the Absolute of the projected new society.
Readers’ Views on Covid-19 in Prisons; Labor and Capitalism; Weeds and Flowers; Censorship; Politics of Snitching, and Voices from Behind Bars.
Readers’ Views on: What Is Socialism?; What Is Marxist-Humanism?; Nuclear Socialism?; Nuclear Capitalism; Flat Earth Society; Indigenous Genocide; Indigenous Liberation; Racism Takes its Toll; Rape Culture; Coming Out in Sports; Colonialism and Liberation
The brief, dirty war that broke out May 10-21 between the Israeli government and Hamas, the Islamist group ruling Gaza had many reactionary consequences.
The ruling class response to the pandemic was to lie, obfuscate, and manipulate the public in its own interest. The possibility that COVID-19 may have been a lab leak illustrates how capitalism can turn our deepest insights into our own nature towards our own destruction.
Where I work among the homeless on the street, I see the infinite degradation experienced by those discarded by capitalist society and barely surviving on its margins. There were always those who live on the edge. Karl Marx was describing the lack of transparency in social relations: what appears to be a free decision to sell your labor is nothing of the kind. Yet people stay away from thinking about how all labor, even paid labor, is forced labor.
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.
Defying Burma’s coup has provided time for the forces of old revolutionaries, youth, workers and women to work out what they are fighting for, beyond deposing the military caste that has ruled them, and an opportunity to bridge long-time divisions between the Burmese-speaking majority and the peoples long fighting for self-determination.
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.
Observing the 150th anniversary of the greatest workers’ revolution in the 19th century.
Readers’ Views on: A Colombian View: What Is Socialism?; Trevor Wins!; Detroit School Fight; Suez Accident; What Prisoners Want; Voices From Behind Bars
Young people keep taking matters into our own hands. Our time of total crises calls for a philosophy to help us understand the problems at the root of our misery and give us hope we can create a new society. This makes Marx a contemporary for youth, looking for a way out of life under capitalism’s hopeless future.
Hegel’s Absolutes never were a series of ascending ivory towers. Revolutionary transformation is immanent in the very form of thought. Our age can best understand Hegel’s Absolute because it has been witness to a movement from practice.
Readers’ Views on: The Objective Movement of History and Philosophy of Emancipation; Electric Cars are No Panacea; Pricing Nature and Lives; Racism and Anti-Racism in the Queer Community; COVID-19 in Prison.
A young revolutionary writes about participating in a protest for the first time, in solidarity with Alabama Amazon workers.
The way business and government prepared—or failed to prepare—for the Winter Storm Uri disaster and the way they responded to it tell a bloody tale of climate obstruction, greed, indifference and cruelty.
The fight for a living wage continues, after Republican and Democratic senators killed the $15 minimum wage provision in the relief bill.
A feminist review of “Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements.” The author, Charlene Carruthers, sees it as “a book for all people who are curious about and committed to the struggle for Black liberation.”
Readers’ Views on: What Is Philosophy? What Is Revolution?; Prisoners’ Quest for Self-Development; Voices from Behind Bars; Why Read N&L?
No matter how you frame capitalism, there is no way to wipe it clean. We have to start with a conception of society centered on the development of humans. So what is socialism?
In the richest part of the country the Fentanyl epidemic is greater than COVID. What I see on the street every day is what Marx projected: a growing redundant and discarded population.
An estimated 250 million Indian farmers have been on strike since last September in opposition to a series of new laws, proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.
The movement lost a powerful voice for workers’ liberty, self-development and freedom when Sarah White died of a heart attack on Oct. 5, 2020.
Three presentations on why Marx’s 1844 Humanist Essays are critical to meet today’s challenges, by a high school student, a former prisoner who participated in the Pelican Bay Hunger Strikes, and a long-time Marxist-Humanist looking at 1844 from a feminist perspective.
This Political-Philosophic Letter of Raya Dunayevskaya speaks to the need to return to philosophical roots at times of deep crisis, including addressing the question of how to maintain independence when fighting counter-revolution.
A high school student, a former prisoner, and a long-time Marxist-Humanist discuss why Marx’s 1844 Humanist Essays are critical to meet the total challenges to humanity today.
For many New Afrikan Revolutionaries August has a profound significance. For me Black August attempts to set forth a new humanism.
In light of the Zapatistas’ Forum in Defense of Territory and Mother Earth, Héctor explores the search for unity by diverse movements in relation to Hegel’s dialectic of the whole and the parts.
China is imposing harsh new repressive measures on Hong Kong, blocking protests that nevertheless have not stopped.
Excerpt from the pamphlet ‘Black Mass Revolt,’ issued in October 1967 following uprisings in Detroit and Newark: “Has Whitey got the message?” asked one of the Black militants. “Have our own leaders? The system has got to go.”
Readers’ views on Methology and liberation; LGBTQ liberation; Worker-student victory; Immigrants and the court; Black August; and Voices from behind bars.
The coronavirus crisis has compelled the Indian state to haphazardly effectuate a lockdown in order to properly practice social distancing. But it has unaccountably forgotten that social distancing is a privilege of the elite class if well-thought-out arrangements are not made.
Susan Van Gelder reports on Detroit including: a Supreme Court ruling saying Detroit children have been “deprived of access to literacy”; how children are faring in obtaining internet access so they participate in distant learning; and how “individualism” needs to be framed in relationship to society as a whole.
The measures adopted in the face of the spread of COVID-19 in the world have caused billions of people to suddenly have excess “free time.” But this is not a full “free time,” conducive to the enjoyment and development of new skills, but a “time without work” that is exacerbating the enormous economic contradictions already existing in our society. Is it possible to imagine and bring about a form of free time that is truly human time?
Workers in meatpacking plants across the country are being sacrificed to what Karl Marx called capital’s “werewolf hunger for surplus labor” as packing companies try to reap the benefits of the prevailing level of automation—but substituting intensified sweated labor for the capital investment of automation. If workers die from COVID-19, the capitalist doesn’t care.
History warns us of other critical periods…which give us historic proof that mere opposition to such monstrous degeneration (of capitalism) does not lead to new societies. On the contrary. It only assures the transformation of that type of bare opposition into one form or another of a halfway house.
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.
Draft thesis for discussion about where the world is heading, and what to do about it from a revolutionary standpoint. Part III: The Great Recession intensified the crises but also the revolt and, because of that, the counter-revolutionary trends that led to the Tea Party, Trumpism, and their analogues internationally.
Neither the coronavirus nor the ongoing climate changes are merely “acts of nature.” Rather both have emerged at this moment because humanity is grounded—entrapped—in the economic-social-political system(s) of capital/capitalism. It is the behemoth that we must examine: the monster we must free ourselves from.
Review-essay (longer version) on the book ‘Syria After the Uprisings: The Political Economy of State Resilience’ by Joseph Daher. With a combination of ruthless criticism and consistent solidarity, the author situates the Assad regime and Syria’s three counter-revolutions into a broader trend of global neoliberalism.
Franklin Dmitryev explores the limitations of how “ecosocialism” rethinks, partially, post-Marx Marxism, focusing on theoreticians Michael Lowy and Joel Kovel.
Gerry Emmett analyzes the meaning of the current coronavirus pandemic from the point of view of what Karl Marx called humanity’s metabolism with nature, which formed the basis of his critique of capitalism.
The spread of the coronavirus cannot be viewed in isolation from the corruption of China’s state-capitalism and the danger the virus poses especially to the poor, homeless and refugees.
Readers’ Views on Capitalism and climate; Mideast upheaval; Trump the Mullah?; war crime hero; Trump’s judges; detransition debate; and women’s liberation.
Review from Mexico of the book ‘La filosofía de la revolución en permanencia de Marx en nuestros días’ (Marx’s Philosophy of Revolution in Permanence for Our Day. Selected Writings by Raya Dunayevskaya).
Google and Amazon tech workers organize around the companies’ complicity in war, environmental destruction, and workplace safety.