Ours is an age of total crises and pervasive angst about humanity’s future. Marx’s recreation of Hegel’s freedom Idea, a humanism that is directly part of life and nature, is a unifying pull of the future in freedom movements and presages “the new society” Dunayevskaya saw in Hegel’s Idea.
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.”
Nationwide Black-led revolt and white supremacist backlash, class struggles and the ravages of a pandemic and economic collapse are taking place amid election battles and attacks on democracy.
Raya Dunayevskaya’s archives column explores taking “a further look into the  economy, to measure the depth of the recession, not for statistical purposes, but for the relationship of dialectics of liberation to economic ills.” It bears striking relevance for what is happening in 2019.
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.”
Readers’ Views regarding: Thought-diving into revolution in permanence; murky waters[ the Church and oppression; why read N&L; and voices from behind bars.
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In “Karl Marx’s Ecosocialism” Kohei Saito brings to light some of the volumes of Marx’s unpublished research and growing concern over capitalism’s deleterious effect on the environment but wrongly rejects Marx’s 1844 philosophic moment.
Prisoner Faruq writes about the meaning of the fifth anniversary of the historic “Agreement to End Hostilities” that continues to challenge the racism imposed on prisoners in the California prison system and elsewhere. .
Trumpism’s self-perpetuating disorder is based on negation of social movements, trying to stifle the positive in their negation of this exploitative society. His deceit and power grabs express capitalism’s disintegration, exuding racism, sexism, and fascism.
Frédéric Monferrand introduces the new French edition of Marxism and Freedom. This excerpt concentrates on how the work reconstructs the Hegelian philosophical consistency of Marx’s Marxism so that it comes to life–from the 1844 Manuscripts to “Capital,” through the idea that history is the history of the efforts of humanity to make itself free.
Because of the urgency of the question of how to make new beginnings in such a reactionary world situation, we excerpt two of Dunayevskaya’s last philosophical writings, which confront “where to begin” as part of her work on dialectics of philosophy and organization.
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.
Eugene Gogol explores the point that the radical heart of Hegelian dialectics is the negation of the negation–the positive within the negative that constructs the new society. He traces this idea in Marx and Lenin and then how Raya Dunayevskaya saw this dialectic expressed in her breakthrough on Hegel’s Absolutes, where she ascertained a dual movement: a movement from practice that is itself a form of theory and the movement from theory to philosophy.
Spelling out the philosophical breakthrough on Hegel’s Absolutes as the total uprooting of the old and the creation of new human relations, in concrete relationship to struggles for freedom in practice and in theory, is at the heart of projecting Marxist-Humanism, and therefore of its organizational life.
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.
Official Call for national gathering of News and Letters Committees to work out Marxist-Humanist perspectives for 2015-2016
Raya Dunayevskaya’s May 12, 1953, letter on Hegel’s Absolutes needs to be read in the context of how what is embryonic is developed, and of the continuity and discontinuity in relationship to her earlier thinking and to the Johnson-Forest Tendency.
From the July-August 2014 issue of News & Letters
RESPONSES TO MARXIST-HUMANIST PERSPECTIVES
The Marxist-Humanist Perspectives (N&L, May-June 2014) give a critical assessment of the polarization between the oppressive forces of capital’s social relations and humanity’s efforts to realize human dignity. It shows humans are not just passive victims of capital. First [=>]
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?
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.
The Feb. 26 assassination of Tunisian Marxist Chokri Belaid is a tragedy, not least because it denies this serious and courageous activist a chance to help work out the contradictions in his own movement. His funeral—perhaps a million people took to the streets—became a massive demonstration in favor of continuing the Tunisian Revolution.
ARCHIVES AS LIVING
I have been following the readings for the 2012-2013 Marxist-Humanist discussions with great enthusiasm. I was especially energized by the “Women as force and reason of revolution” selections. Raya Dunayevskaya’s 1970 piece “The Women’s Liberation Movement as Reason and as Revolutionary Force” was fresh and relevant to today. This is no surprise [=>]
OFFICIAL CALL FOR PLENUM
to Work Out Marxist-Humanist Perspectives for 2013-2014
February 24, 2013
To All Members of News and Letters Committees
The world today is riven between the creativity of masses in revolt and the violent degeneracy of counter-revolution, whose destructiveness even extends to the revived specter of nuclear war two decades after the collapse of [=>]
Woman as Reason
Meredith Tax, a women’s liberationist and political activist since the late 1960s, author of The Rising of the Women: Feminist Solidarity and Class Conflict, 1880–1917, and now U.S. Director of the Centre for Secular Space, a think tank formed to oppose fundamentalism and promote universality in human rights, has recently written an important and [=>]
by Ron Kelch
All revolutions, in the sciences no less than in general history, originate only in this, that the spirit of man, for the understanding and comprehension of himself, for the possessing of himself, has now altered his categories, uniting himself in a truer, deeper, more intrinsic relation with himself.
Today’s global search for a new [=>]
OFFICIAL CALL FOR CONVENTION
to Work Out Marxist-Humanist Perspectives for 2012-2013
February 26, 2012
To All Members of News and Letters Committees
Where we must begin is with the world in upheaval, from Occupy Wall Street to Arab Spring, still going after more than a year.
Nothing better shows the old order’s bloody desperation to prevent a [=>]