“Abolish the slums!” was so clearly and loudly the demand of the Negro Revolt in every single part of the country–North, South, East, West–that even President Johnson couldn’t pretend not to have heard it. In words, the President even claimed that that was part of his “war on poverty.” Hadn’t he asked for rat control, and hadn’t Congress denied him even that piddling sum? … As Commander-in-Chief he need not plead. He orders, and his orders were clear and unequivocal: 1) Shoot first…
People may imagine that teachers here hit the beach or kick up their heels poolside, sipping cocktails and working on a suntan. For me and many other teachers, though, Monday will be the kickoff to the summer routine of registering for unemployment benefits and looking for work, as, once again, a year’s contract has come to an end.
On April 9 rallies were held across the U.S. to mark the day women’s earnings catch up to what men’s were at the end of 2012.
We are living in contradictory times, especially when it comes to women’s struggle for freedom. On the one hand you have a Women’s Liberation Movement that has never been more radical, unified and global. On the other hand there is more repression, and the violence is more brutal and deadly than ever before.
The rulers are not about to sit back and let revolt freely develop. All sorts of reactionary ideas and attitudes have been ushered into the mainstream of politics and the media.
AMERICAN CIVILIZATION REMAINS ON TRIAL
American Civilization on Trial (ACOT) is not “Black history.” Rather, Blacks play such an enormous role in the U.S. that their history that is in ACOT is a history of America.
The movie Django Unchained could have been an ad for the NRA’s position on the current [=>]
Raya Dunayevskaya’s sublimely researched American Civilization on Trial: Black Masses as Vanguard (ACOT) deserves a place among the U.S.’s most honest historical treatises.
Another car wash in the Bronx unionized after a protracted struggle with the management of the company. Sunny Day Car Wash initially fired twelve workers for trying to organize a union. The workers, Mexicans and Ecuadorians, fought back and protested their dismissal for two months.
World in View
by Gerry Emmett
Arctic ice in retreat
The National Snow and Ice Data Center and NASA indicate that the extent of Arctic sea ice this January was the sixth lowest since satellite observation began. Air temperatures were 2 to 5 degrees Celsius higher than average across much of the Arctic Ocean (4 to 9 degrees [=>]
Sacramento, Calif.–On Feb. 25, around 100 people, mostly family members of prisoners organized as California Families Against Solitary Confinement (CFASC), gathered on the state capitol steps. They shared their stories before a historic second legislative hearing on California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDC) policies regarding prisoners held in the Security Housing Units (SHUs). An [=>]
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 [=>]
The opening of Barack Obama’s second term made it clear that, despite all talk of ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there is to be no end to the state of permanent war either abroad or at home.
President Obama promises to end the war in Afghanistan after 13 years. But the Afghan people have [=>]
From the Writings of Raya Dunayevskaya:
Editor’s note: For Women’s History Month, we present excerpts from “An Overview by Way of Introduction; the Black Dimension,” Chapter 6 of the book Rosa Luxemburg, Women’s Liberation, and Marx’s Philosophy of Revolution. The chapter serves as an introduction and overview for the book’s Part Two, “The Women’s Liberation Movement as Revolutionary [=>]
The March-April 2013 issue of News & Letters is available on the web.
News & Letters, Vol. 58, No. 2
March – April 2013
From India to Egypt to U.S., women fighting for freedom
Two recent events have shown the deep and seemingly intractable worldwide oppression of women and, at the same time, revealed women’s militancy and determination to [=>]
RAVAGES OF CAPITALISM SHOW NEED FOR NEW WORLD
The article on “Climate chaos and capitalism” (Sept.-Oct. 2012 N&L) is very relevant, especially the conclusion about how capitalism’s contradiction is that the growth of the economy, of capitalist production, means more global warming and climate change worldwide.
Activist for humans and environment
The technologies we [=>]
From the January-February 2013 issue of News & Letters:
Why ‘green on blue’ attacks?
London, England—Richard Walker was described by family as a “proud, patriotic man.” No doubt believing Britain’s role in Afghanistan as vital to the curtailment of terrorism, Walker deployed to the war-torn country as part of the 28 Engineer Regiment. His death on Jan. [=>]
Chicago—Dozens of people marched on Chicago’s South Side to take a stand against violence on Jan. 15, followed by a speakout and vigil. Occupy the Southside organized this “King on King march” down Martin Luther King Jr. Drive from 63rd to Emmett Till Road.
“We’re here,” explained a Black woman activist with Occupy the Southside, “because [=>]
Chicago—The U.S. disability rights movement has a rich and diverse history. It is the only class of people that you can suddenly become a member of at any time or place. It does not discriminate by color, sex, income level, age, ethnicity or sexual preference. But for those who have had no experiences with disabled [=>]
The reelection of Hugo Chávez as president is an important moment in Venezuela and Latin America as a whole. After more than a decade in power—during which his administration practically eliminated illiteracy, drastically reduced misery and poverty, including far greater access to food and healthcare, and improved housing—the majority of the population continues to support [=>]
From the Writings of Raya Dunayevskaya
Editor’s note: On the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, we present Raya Dunayevskaya’s analysis of how it tested not only the rulers’ rash folly but the anti-war movement’s short-mindedness–a lesson still urgent today. She wrote this piece as a Political Letter on Oct. 25, 1962, titled “Marxist-Humanism vs. [=>]
by Franklin Dmitryev
The two worlds of the rulers and the ruled shone through the suffocating blanket of propaganda surrounding the election in which Barack Obama won a second term. A pronounced gender gap and long lines at the polls in African-American and Latino areas reflected the determination to defeat the reactionary Republicans and retain the [=>]
Obama’s re-election doesn’t end clash of two worlds
The two worlds of the rulers and the ruled shone through the suffocating blanket of propaganda surrounding the election in which Barack Obama won a second term. A pronounced gender gap and long lines at the polls in African-American and Latino areas reflected the determination to defeat the [=>]
From the September-October 2012 issue of News & Letters:
Readers’ Views, Part 2
REVOLUTIONARY SYNDICALISM DISCUSSION CONTINUES
The discussion article on “Revolutionary Syndicalism” (July-August N&L) reminds me of when it was considered a major force of revolution. There was a syndicalist party, the Socialist Labor Party (SLP), that thought we could vote in socialism. [=>]
Chicago—Picketers gathered in front of the only Chick-fil-A in Chicago to protest the company CEO using his chicken joint as a bullhorn to attack marriage and other civil rights for Gays. We were outnumbered by the customers who had streamed in for Chick-fil-A “Customer Appreciation Day,” [=>]
London—Protest can be violent. Yet whilst violence towards demonstrators often goes unremarked even in an avowedly democratic nation such as Britain, police violence towards foreign officials, as may have occurred during an attempted storming by British police of the Ecuadorian Embassy, seems a little too much to handle.
Foreign Secretary William Hague has since attempted to [=>]
San Francisco—The San Francisco Mime Troupe invited the Pelican Bay Hunger Strike Support Coalition (PBHSSC) to put up a mock Security Housing Unit (SHU) cell at their performances of “The Poor of New York,” a satire on bankers. The SHU is where prisoners are kept in [=>]
by Htun Lin
On Aug. 6, a huge toxic plume, caused by a massive fire from a leak at the Chevron refinery, spread over Richmond, Calif. Immediately afterward, the hot topic of discussion on the local TV news became what this would do to gas prices, not what it has done to the environment and [=>]
Reactionary U.S. election shows capital’s contradictions
“We built it!” roared the delegates at the Republican Party convention in Tampa. It was the perfect expression of the presidential campaign and of capitalist thinking in general. The truth is that workers built the social wealth. Capitalists take it from the workers, and the government gets a portion.
Mitt Romney [=>]
RICH AND DUNAYEVSKAYA: A SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP
Thanks for your In Memoriam to Adrienne Rich. It revealed a dimension that many who were appreciative of her poetry and feminism may not have known—Rich’s exploration of Marx’s ideas through her reading of Raya Dunayevskaya. One piece Rich wrote was titled “Dunayevskaya’s Marx.” It was crucial how you [=>]
Washington, D.C—Fourteen of 74 ADAPT activists arrested in April for protesting Chair of the House Budget Committee Representative Ryan’s proposal to cut Medicaid funding by $800 billion were sentenced in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
During the court proceedings, Mike Oxford, an ADAPT organizer from Kansas, made a statement on behalf of the [=>]
Chicago—On June 18, Occupy Chicago held the first of a series of discussions on “The Elephant in the Room: A workshop about dismantling racism in the Occupy Movement.”
Discussion was lively, and comradely, among the majority Black, Latino and Native American participants, but represented just the beginning of an effort to “voice the unvoiced.” One Latino [=>]
by Htun Lin
The “Great Recession” we’re living in will continue so long as we accept that there is no alternative to capitalism. It is a lie perpetuated by the dominant ideology.
In the past year, the Occupy Movement has given many of us hope that things can change. One idea in the movement is that [=>]
“For Sale” signs for public offices will be popping up all over the country following Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s stunning victory this month over the effort to recall him from office. Walker’s revoking the right of public unions to negotiate contracts created national and statewide protests that rocked the nation for months.
The recall campaign pitted [=>]
News & Letters, Vol. 57, No. 4
Lead: Spain, Greece, Europe: capitalist crisis and revolt
When the bailout of banks in Spain was announced on June 9, the immediate reactions revealed the two worlds that exist in every country. The Spanish masses intensified their protests, marching directly on both banks and government, while Greek and Spanish [=>]
From the May-June 2012 issue of News & Letters:
Draft for Marxist-Humanist Perspectives, 2012-2013
III. Paths of destruction
A. From war to war to war
War is one of the rulers’ most potent counter-revolutionary weapons when faced with economic crises and revolt. With a military stretched thin, one eye on China, and the failures of Iraq and [=>]
Chicago—Locked out workers from American Crystal Sugar plants in North Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa joined locked out workers from Cooper Tire in Findlay, Ohio, and came to Chicago on Feb. 25 as one stop in their regional tour to raise support, “From Fargo to Findlay: A Journey for Justice.” Workers from Chicagoland met them at [=>]
Berkeley, Calif.—On Feb. 17 over 500 people joined a “March for Dignity,” endorsed by Occupy Oakland, in support of the over 200 mostly Latino workers fired the previous month, despite Berkeley being a “sanctuary” city (meaning the city pledged to not cooperate with discrimination based on legal status). An I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification Form, for [=>]
World in View
The Comayagua national prison fire may have started accidentally, but the horrific result—at least 360 deaths—was anything but accidental. With the fire raging, prisoners remained locked up for half an hour. The Comayagua fire chief said that prison officials initially stopped firefighters from entering, citing security protocol.
The prison was grossly overcrowded. Indeed, the [=>]
Flint, Mich.—In November, Flint was placed under the control of an emergency manager for the second time. This time is different, because under a law passed in March of last year the financial manager can end collective bargaining agreements (with state approval), run up debt, increase property taxes and sell property.
The first time around Flint [=>]
Los Angeles—On Dec. 10, International Human Rights Day, 250 to 300 people, mostly youth, demonstrated against “Secure Communities” (SC), Sheriff Baca and President Obama’s attack on Mexican and Latino/a immigrants. SC forces local police to act as federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, supposedly against undocumented immigrants who have committed serious crimes here. Besides [=>]
Readers’ Views (part 1)
THE STATE OF THE WORLD AS WE BEGIN 2012
I’m deeply enamored of the contents of every issue of N&L. This is because the articulation of the various issues addressing the multitude of socioeconomic crises, brought on by economic contraction affecting capital relations, points to how deep the revolution must go. 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, [=>]
Stop leeches bleeding public schools dry
New York City—”The Trial Is On! The People of NYC are gathering to put the perpetrators of education crimes and human and civil rights violations against our children on trial—in our own People’s Court!” On Oct. 15, the Coalition for Public Education (www.forpubliced.org) took testimony from parents, teachers and [=>]
by Robert Taliaferro
Alice Neel: The Art of Not Sitting Pretty by Phoebe Hoban (St. Martin’s Press, New York, 2010).
There are many ways to be involved in a revolution. Written words defining theory and practice, and mass social protests are two ways. Creating art outside of the norm is another.
Unfortunately, for many years revolutionary [=>]
From the November-December 2011 issue of News & Letters:
‘I am Troy Davis’
The State of Georgia murdered Troy Davis at 11:08 p.m., Sept. 21. His execution was carried out in the face of world outrage—large demonstrations throughout the U.S. and Europe, which called attention to the wealth of evidence casting doubt upon Davis’ guilt in the [=>]
November-December 2011 issue of News & Letters now on the web…
Lead: Occupy Wall Street strikes deep chord, challenges rulers
The Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement, since beginning in New York City’s Zuccotti Park–renamed Liberty Plaza–on Sept. 17, has spread to hundreds of cities and towns across the U.S. and linked with the occupation movements in Europe. [=>]
From the September-October 2011 issue of News & Letters:
- REVOLUTION AND COUNTER-REVOLUTION: ARAB SPRING AS CROSSROADS IN HISTORY
- KARL MARX AND WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
- REMEMBERING CHRISTINA SANTIAGO
- THELONIOUS MONK
- CANADA AS ‘CONTESTATAIRE’ SOCIETY
- MAN-MADE DISASTERS: NUCLEAR POWER AND WORLD WAR
- LABOR STRUGGLES IN 2011
- WHY WRITE FOR N&L?
- VOICES FROM BEHIND THE BARS
REVOLUTION AND COUNTER-REVOLUTION: ARAB SPRING AS CROSSROADS IN HISTORY
The West supports any revolution where they [=>]
Detroit–The unemployment crisis is reaching far into the future. Whereas many government and private economists have been predicting that the economy will pick up in the next quarter or the next year, new reports conclude that in 50 U.S. metropolitan areas, it will take at least a decade to regain employment lost since the 2008 [=>]
Editor’s note: On Aug. 6, 15 young Mexican workers and student activists picketed the Robertson Car Wash for seven hours in support of low-wage immigrant car wash workers. They again picketed on Aug. 14, along with additional students from the AFL-CIO Union Summer program.
Of the very few drivers who came to have their cars washed, [=>]
Los Angeles–On Aug. 13 the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, Los Angeles (CHIRLA), held a press conference against Secure Community (SC), the federal government program that allows local police to act as federal immigration agents. Under the program, over a million immigrants have been deported, most after being stopped for minor offenses.
According to CHIRLA: “From [=>]