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.”
The Syrian Revolution has been the physical and intellectual battlefield that defines our time. As early as 2012 it was clear that what happened in Syria would determine the next stage of world history.
A prisoner from Bellefonte, Penn., asks: “In America are we really free or are we going through an act, or through the motions?”
Prisoner Stephen Wilson comments on Faruq’s article on the meaning of legal standing before the law and how restorative justice is not enough as the need is for transformative justice which focuses on the structures that create oppression and inequality in the first place.
Prisoners Faruq and Robert Taliaferro write about the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that allowed for prisoners to be enslaved, taking up different aspects of slavery as it appears in prison, in the U.S. and the world.
Black voters in Alabama, led by Black women, overcame blatant voter suppression—including discriminatory voter ID laws—to flood the polls and block Roy Moore from the Senate seat he expected that God would anoint him to.
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.”
A Marxist-Humanist analysis of the history and meaning of the rising of the right-wing neo-Nazi white supremacist movement, its relationship to President Donald Trump and his administration, and its challenge to the freedom forces arrayed against it who are fighting for a humanist world. .
Trump’s barbarism in power is a crisis for bourgeois democracy and revolutionary thought. Opposition from below is far deeper than bourgeois opposition to Trump. To have efficacy today, Marx’s body of ideas must be grasped and projected as a whole. The movement from theory needs to meet the challenge of history, of freedom struggles and revolution.
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.
The first mass Black protest meeting in the U.S. was held at Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church in Philadelphia, in January 1817—200 years ago.
The lightning move by Republicans in Congress to prepare to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare—before Donald Trump even took office, with only the vaguest idea of what is to replace it, and with full knowledge that a large majority of Americans oppose the repeal of its most important provisions—gave a sign of how far the new single-party government intends to roll the clock back, with dizzying speed.
Review of White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg.
Readers’ Views includes: Politics; revolution and the power of philosophy; remembering Olga Domanski; the sports section; national prison action; and voices from behind the bars.
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.
Readers’ Views on Hate: Orlando to Brexit; Black Lives Matter; Muhammad Ali and Dr. King; Duterte in the Philippines; News & Letters Readers Unite!; and Deadly Assault on Women From the U.S. to Israel.
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.
A revolutionary critique of the “lynching” charge against Black Lives Matter activist Jasmine Richards and how it reveals the racism endemic to U.S. society and spotlights the revolutionary Black youth fighting against it.
The Chicago Teachers Union, Black Lives Matter, Labor and disability rights movements work together to oppose racism, government cutbacks and austerity
With Trump’s appeal to racism and reaction winning support from part of the working class, we present Dunayevskaya’s letter taking up Enoch Powell’s racist speeches and their impact on the working class.
Excerpts of videos of Sandra Bland speaking for herself. She made the videos in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. Bland died in Waller County, Texas, after being thrown in jail there for a manufactured traffic violation.
A Black prisoner looks at the meaning of U.S. racism and the struggle to remove the Confederate flag from the capitol grounds of South Carolina.
One year after the murder of Michael Brown by Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson, the Black Lives Matter movement continues to challenge racist U.S. society. In doing so, it deepens itself in both content and thought.
Letters and comments sent in by readers or taken down, to and about the articles in News & Letters or current events.
Another savage sexual assault and murder—this time in Turkey—brought forth thousands of demonstrators, mostly women, throughout the country and beyond. Özgecan Aslan was a student taking a bus home. Worldwide, women are not only railing against sexism and challenging men to change what is often deadly behavior and when not deadly, deeply oppressive; they are as well explicitly extending their critique to the state itself.
There is compelling evidence that the Haitian Revolution of 1803 was a source for Hegel’s narrative on the master/slave relation in the PHENOMENOLOGY OF SPIRIT.
Jacqueline Jones’ new book, A Dreadful Deceit: The Myth of Race from the Colonial Era to Obama’s America, is not a call to ignore effects of the concept of race in law and practice. She finds the definition of race repeatedly twisted to suit the needs of the ruling class and wielded as a tool for subjugation of Black and white labor alike.
Faruq, a prisoner at Pelican Bay State Prison in California, reviews “Maroon the Implacable: The Collected Writings of Russell Maroon Shoatz” (PM Press, 2013), written by a revolutionary theorist forced to endure the psychological and physical torture of solitary confinement for the past 40 years.
Django Unchained is a Quentin Tarantino movie and thus, by definition, a bloody movie. There are horrific close-ups of violence in the latter part of the movie. But the reason that the movie has struck such a chord among millions of viewers is not the violence, but the type of violence that it is.
In the [=>]
The 150th anniversary of the Civil War, and of the Emancipation Proclamation in particular, has a lot of people talking about that history and race relations today. Steven Spielberg’s movie Lincoln is less the cause than the effect of this surge in popular interest. Lincoln is very moving and beautifully made, with excellent acting and shrewd writing.
Tony Kushner’s screenplay [=>]
by Gerry Emmett
A minority among the Cherokee Nation has pushed to exclude the descendants of the Nation’s Black freedmen from tribal membership. It is a move long in the works, since the Reagan era, often accompanied by crudely racist arguments. It is being challenged in court. Previously such moves have been [=>]
by Robert Taliaferro
The history of the U.S. is a quagmire of facts and near fictions; conflicting thoughts and ideas; established truths and myths, and nowhere is this more evident than when one discusses the causes and effects of the Civil War. This is especially evident on its 150th anniversary as some try to rewrite history, [=>]