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.”
Since the term “Marxist humanism” has once again become current, but subject to the most varying, and often sanitized, meanings, we present Raya Dunayevskaya’s 1961 writings on “Marxist Humanism in New Books and Reviews.” Once more, we face the questions she explored then: Why now, and how did these writers end up so opposite to where they seemed to be starting from?
Dunayevskaya relates the concept of revolution in permanence to the dialectic, especially dialectical mediation, the negation of the negation, the forces of revolution as reason, and the integrality of philosophy and revolution.
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.
Jan. 15, 2019, marked the 100th anniversary of the day Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were murdered by the forces that suppressed the 1918-19 German Revolution. To highlight how Luxemburg’s revolutionary life and thought are pertinent today, we present a critical review by Raya Dunayevskaya of “The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg,” edited by Stephen Eric Bronner.
With hate crimes, anti-Semitism, racism and anti-immigrant xenophobia on the rise, Israel’s “Jewish nation-state” law and fascism brewing globally, we excerpt two pieces addressing roots of these phenomena in capitalism’s crises.
At a time when the social crisis is total—political, economic, cultural, ideological—this clarion call for a return to the original form of the Humanism of Marxism speaks to today’s need for more than just political change, but for a total view and a total solution to global retrogression.
It is a question of working out how to actualize for this moment the relationship of philosophy, spontaneity, organization. We look at concrete tasks.
Lenin’s philosophic break and his Great Divide in Marxism illuminate the need for a new divide in the Left today, as does a new Marxist-Humanist view of Marx’s philosophy of revolution in permanence.
To observe the 200th birthday of Karl Marx, we present excerpts of a speech given by Raya Dunayevskaya for the Marx centenary year, originally titled “Marxist-Humanism, 1983: The Summation That Is a New Beginning, Subjectively and Objectively.”
OFFICIAL CALL FOR CONVENTION
to Work Out Marxist-Humanist Perspectives for 2018-2019
February 25, 2018
To All Members of News and Letters Committees
The deeply ingrained rape culture, already widely known but often hushed up, has been exposed in the broadest way yet by the #MeToo movement. How deep and total is the needed uprooting [=>]
New collection of writings by Raya Dunayevskaya on the 100th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution titled: Russia: From Proletarian Revolution to State-Capitalist Counter-Revolution. .
On the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, a new book collects writings by Raya Dunayevskaya on the Revolution, counter-revolution, and their consequences, aiming to help create new revolutionary beginnings today. .
Review of the book “October: The Story of the Russian Revolution” by China Miéville.
Review by a prisoner of the companion book to the documentary film “I Am Not Your Negro” on James Baldwin, whose title speaks to the liberation of New Afrikan people in Amerika. .
Whatever lip service is paid to the Russian Revolution’s 100th anniversary, its significance as a historic event and as a link to the thought and practice of Marx has been obscured because of the abandonment of revolutionary perspectives. It is high time to push to the forefront the role of the philosophy of revolution in permanence in facing the reality of dialectics of liberation, 1917 and 2017.
Official Call for national gathering of News and Letters Committees to work out Marxist-Humanist perspectives for 2017-2018
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.
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.
From the Writings of Raya Dunayevskaya: “Black masses, youth and the needed U.S. revolution: philosophy and reality” looks at the possibility of revolution in the U.S. and the importance of Black masses as vanguard.
To highlight the new online availability of the Raya Dunayevskaya Collection, we present excerpts of her 1985 Marxist-Humanist Perspectives, which take up the development of the Marxist-Humanist concept of Archives out of the category made of the totality of Marx’s Archives as a new beginning for today.
The two opponents facing off in Greece for five years have been the Greek masses vs. the European rulers and their institutions. The No vote manifested the revolt against austerity. We explore the meaning of these events.
In celebrating the online publication of the Raya Dunayevskaya Collection, we present excerpts of her Introduction/Overview to Volume XII, which takes up the Marxist-Humanist concept of archives as not only retrospective but perspective, in the quest to establish “continuity with the historic course of human development.”
The rulers’ economic squeeze on Greece is intended to be an ideological prison for the working masses of Europe. Left tendencies aim to use the state to save capitalism or move toward socialism—rather than releasing self-activity of masses in motion as the prime mover of social transformation.
Carta Politico-Filosofica, Num. 2 email@example.com
¿Que hacer? Una dialetica de la organizacion y la filosofia
ACEPTANDO EL DESAFÍO DE ESTE NUEVO MOMENTO EN MÉXICO:
DE LA REPRESIÓN A LA [=>]
Unlike vanguard parties, our goal is not the incorporation of a cadre into a certain fixed structure that Lenin advocated for in 1902 and rejected in 1905, but the development of “organic intellectuals,” thinkers and philosophers from the ranks of the Black masses as vanguard, women, youth, and workers.
La nueva edicion de Praxis en America Latina. Esperamos sus comentarios. Por favor, reenvíenla a sus redes y contactos.
A la barbarie del Estado mexicano, sus adherentes y secuaces, nosotros le oponemos la necesidad de construir un nuevo humanismo, la unidad de teoría y práctica —en suma: la revolución en permanencia.
From the May 2003 issue of News & Letters.
From the Writings of Raya Dunayevskaya: Marxist-Humanist Archives
Editor’s note: Raya Dunayevskaya’s “Letters on Hegel’s Absolutes” were a philosophic breakthrough that led to the birth of Marxist-Humanism. We are reprinting this 1987 commentary by her where she reexamined them in light of her effort to work [=>]
Today’s vital debate about revolutionary organization is illuminated by Marx’s concept of organization in his “Critique of the Gotha Program.”
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?
As a contribution to Black History Month we reprint Raya Dunayevskaya’s memorial for Charles Denby (1907-1983), her comrade of 35 years, Editor of News & Letters from its founding in 1955 until his death and the author of Indignant Heart: A Black Worker’s Journal.
Three years ago, the Egyptian Revolution was fighting for its life in Tahrir Square. For 18 days and nights, the women and men of the Square faced off against President Hosni Mubarak’s security forces and thugs. In the end Mubarak was forced to follow Tunisia’s President-for-life, Ben Ali, into retirement and shame. The light of freedom spread–Square to Square, occupation to occupation. It was a historic turning point.
It was this global struggle that the military coup that ousted Morsi, and led to the massacre of over 800 of his supporters, was meant to stop short. Now, revolution continues, and the freedom idea lives, but the old world has tried hard to destroy it. Egypt’s newest new Constitution, passed Jan. 15 under the military rule of General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, evokes only faint echoes of Tahrir. As artist Hanaa Safwat said, “The referendum is stained in innocent people’s blood. It has been built on the dead bodies of 800 people in Rabaa al-Adawiya.”
Today’s revival of interest in Marx, especially since the onset of the 2008 economic meltdown, includes a significant strain of economism and has revived controversies and issues addressed by Dunayevskaya in this review-essay of Paul Mattick’s book Marx and Keynes.
Although we, as a state capitalist tendency, had been saying for years that we live in an age of absolutes, that the task of the theoreticians was the working out materialistically of Hegel’s last chapter on The Absolute Idea, we were unable to relate the daily struggles of the workers to this total conception. The maturity of the age, on the other hand, disclosed itself in the fact that, with automation, the worker began to question the very mode of labor. Thus the workers began to make concrete, and thereby extended, Marx’s profoundest conceptions, for the innermost core of the Marxian dialectic, around which everything turns, is that the transformation of society must begin with the material life of the worker, the producer.
Now off the press:
Excerpts from the Foreword:
Nobody, least of all Marxists, foresaw the great historic divide which would be opened by the Arab Spring beginning in 2010. When Mohammed Bouazizi and Hussein Nagi Felhi killed themselves to protest the miserable conditions of life for Tunisian youth, they set off a year of revolutionary struggle that [=>]
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. [=>]
From the new issue of NEWS & LETTERS, May-June 2011
Parts IV and V of
Draft for Marxist-Humanist Perspectives, 2011-2012
Revolution and counter-revolution take world stage
- I. The Arab Spring
- II. The wars at home
- III. Japan: earthquake, tsunami and meltdown
- IV. Revolution, organization and philosophy
- V. Marxist-Humanist Tasks
(Parts I, II, and III were posted in the last two days.)
IV. Revolution, organization and [=>]
From the Writings of Raya Dunayevskaya
Editor’s note: The first International Women’s Day was observed 100 years ago in March 1911. This year also marks the 32nd anniversary of the historic demonstration in Tehran, Iran, on International Women’s Day, March 8, 1979. On that day, women and supporters braved Islamic Guards and thugs allied with the [=>]