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.
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.
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.
Readers’ Views on: Atlanta Racist Femicide; Women Rise in Australia; Chauvin and Racist Usa: Guilty!; Attacks on Civil Liberties; Black Lives Matter; Amazon Workers Resist; Berta Presente!; Burmese Masses Revolt; The Empire Strikes Out; Maâti Monjib Released!
Amid COVID-19 deaths and economic decline, a fascist mob stormed the Capitol. If U.S. democracy lives to see another day, it was because of the unprecedented turnout of Black voters, reflecting the mass movement on the streets that continues to put that democracy on trial.
In virtually every Bay Area city at least several hundred came out to “Count Every Vote” rallies on Nov. 4, the day after the election with the feeling, as one speaker put it, “vacillating between anxiety and hope.”
Since May 29, there have been ongoing demonstrations sparked by the outrage over the police murder of George Floyd. They spread throughout the many San Francisco Bay Area cities including ones not especially known for activism like Walnut Creek.
Four thousand mental health workers at Kaiser Permanente HMO held a five-day strike, once again calling attention to a serious lack of resources to provide timely care.
Readers’ views on philosophy and the retrogressive changed world; pandemics and social control; mental illness and criminal ‘justice’; culture’s bizarre normal; and voices from behind bars.
Readers’ Views on Philosophy and Revolution; disorder is the order; anti-Semitism; Black August, and voices from behind bars.
Google and Amazon tech workers organize around the companies’ complicity in war, environmental destruction, and workplace safety.
On Dec. 16, 4,000 mental health workers at Kaiser Permanente HMO in Oakland went on a five-day strike, calling attention to a serious lack of resources to provide timely care.
Report on a panel discussion in Oakland, Calif., with Idle No More featuring Kanahus Manuel, organizer of “tiny house warriors” to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline.
Modzelewski‘s living legacy is that he never wavered, in theory or practice, from the principle of a freedom-filled future rooted in the self-activity of the masses of workers themselves.
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.
On Feb. 22 over 3,000 Oakland teachers went on strike, demanding better wages, smaller class sizes, more nurses and counselors and a stop to school closings. Many students and their families showed up on the picket lines.
Readers’ Views on: workers strike back, genocide and Facebook, Mauritius victory, Syrian Revolution under fire, “55 Steps,” debating yellow vests, women’s struggles, and why read News & Letters.
The retreat from even modest efforts to control nuclear weapons has brought humanity closer than ever to annihilation. President Donald Trump’s suspension of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Vladimir Putin’s Russia gins up an already accelerating new arms race.
A Marxist-Humanist view of the 2018 U.S. midterm elections that highlights the illegitimacy of Trump’s rule, showing how it is the rule of a minority won because of anti-democratic voter suppression, gerrymandering, racism, sexism, extreme anti-immigration rhetoric, hate speech and lies. It highlights the other America that opposes such neo-fascism.
A new book, “Frantz Fanon: Alienation and Freedom,” reveals that Frantz Fanon warned leftist Islamist Ali Shariati that, despite Islam’s anticolonialist potential, without the spirit of emancipation it risked diversion to sectarianism, approaching the past rather than future, like African nationalisms.
On Sept. 8 over 30,000 came out in San Francisco for the Rise for Climate, Jobs and Justice, which had counterparts worldwide.
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.
On Aug. 27 in Berkeley, Calif., thousands came out to protest an “alt-right,” “No to Marxism,” demonstration including Black Lives Matter, feminists, Muslims, immigrants, leftists, and ordinary citizens against “hate.”
The peace march on Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to commemorate over 70,000 lives lost at the atomic bombing of Nagasaki on Aug. 9 in Livermore, Calif., bring up questions of Marxism, humanism, and the alternative necessary new society.
Immigrant rights and prisoner rights activists held a demonstration outside the largest immigrant detention facility in the San Francisco Bay Area.
In-person report of demonstration of several hundred in Oakland that was part of a National Day of Action to Free Mumia Now and Free Hep-C Meds for All Prisoners.
Readers’ Views on: Practical and Theoretical Intervention; Syria and Humanism; International Crises; and Prisoners Speak.
Review of the movie “Loving” and the relationship the review’s author sees to Marxism. The movie recounts the interracial romance and interracial marriage between African-American Mildred Jeter Loving and white Richard Loving and the groundbreaking Supreme Court decision which outlawed the ban on interracial marriage.
First hand report of demonstration at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton to protest the growing militarization of police departments and their attacks on minority communities.
On Aug. 23, California’s Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition leafletted the staging area for trips to Alcatraz prison raising discussions with locals and tourists about how solitary confinement is torture.
Disability rights activist Becky Taylor, who has cerebral palsy, demonstrates through her life, and largely thanks to her supportive family, that the differently abled are self-determing free agents and human beings.
Protesters succeed in keeping coal trains from passing through Oakland, California, on their way to unload coal at a port terminal.
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
Philosophy, theory and News & Letters; Flint Part Ii; Mumia Abu-Jamal; Voices from behind the bars.
Philosophic dialogue discusses Markovic’s turn to fascism.
Pelican Bay Prison guards use court-ordered “wellness checks” to harass prisoners. They make it impossible for anyone to get any sleep as they rampage through each SHU pod for 10-20 minutes.
A discussion with Philip Zimbardo followed the San Francisco premiere of “The Stanford Prison Experiment,” a movie based on his notorious 1971 experiment. It raises questions about the meaning of being human, which for Marx turned on needing human beings as free beings whose self-determining, free, conscious activity is not a mere means but the first necessity of life.
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.
Leelah Alcorn’s last words, making her suicide an appeal for Transgender people to be “treated like humans” and to “fix society” if her death is to “mean something,” were stunning.
From Ferguson to Staten Island; Revolutionary Rojava; Youth Protest; Violence Against Women; Detroit Solidarity; Paris March; Recalling Mary Jo
In today’s economic crisis, Europe is haunted by the specters that were supposed to be overcome by the European economic union and the single currency Eurozone: the 20th century tendency to degenerate into vile nationalism, genocidal racism and the barbarism of total war.
From the November-December 2014 issue of News & Letters
Readers’ Views, Part 3
I loved the way “Israel decimates Gaza as world faces global counter-revolutions” (Sept.-Oct. N&L) begins by highlighting how Gazans’ suffering represents global counter-revolution. The Left often takes the side of the underdog, the “lesser of the evils” fighting “U.S. or [=>]
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. [=>]
A slideshow presented in Oakland Aug. 16 displayed a range of carefully stenciled graffiti, one of the last forms of open dissent
From the July-August 2014 issue of News & Letters
Oakland, Calif.—On June 14 Critical Resistance (CR), an organization working for the abolition of the prison system, held a community forum on California Department of Corrections and rehabilitation (CDCr). (Prisoners refuse to capitalize the “R” because there is no “rehabilitation.”)
The forum took up new [=>]