Readers’ Views, September-October 2013, Part II

From the September-October 2013 issue of News & Letters:

Readers’ Views (Part 2)


It takes an ability to see among the revolts, so many of them crushed, which ones have the quality that makes them “new pages of freedom.” In 1859 Marx wrote that the most important developments in the world were the movements of the serfs in Russia and the slaves in the U.S. The latest slave revolt had “naturally been suppressed,” but he didn’t think that was their end. In the same way, Dunayevskaya (“‘Russia more than ever full of revolutionaries…’” July-Aug. N&L) knew the 1953 uprisings were not over, but the beginning of the end of Russian totalitarianism. That takes philosophy. People decide that the Arab Spring is dead, or see only the army in charge in one country, or political Islam in charge someplace else—but one has to look at long-lasting footprints of revolution in the Middle East.

Taking the long view



“‘Russia more than ever full of revolutionaries…’” is a model of philosophic comprehension of events—not only giving details of the revolt and the thought behind it. That is combined with a conclusion that the 1953 revolts were the beginning of the end of Russian totalitarianism. Hardly anyone agreed until the Hungarian Revolution broke out, but in retrospect anyone can see how true it was.




The 1953 slave labor revolt signaled the beginning of mass revolts in the post-WWII world which shook up the idea that revolt was not possible in a totalitarian society. Everyone was assumed to be totally brainwashed. Some leftists still speak this way of North Korea in a positive sense. Thus, the reports of a revolt right from within a slave labor camp, coming shortly after the East German revolt, were met with profound skepticism.




Before I read this essay (“Communization theory and its discontents truncate Marx’s dialectic,” July-Aug. N&L), I had a sense that the CT people paid a lot of attention to Marx on the Paris Commune and how it knocked down the existing social relations. I think they take that to mean all you need is to knock down existing social relations and just relate to each other as humans. But immediate relations are impossible.




There are a lot of anti-state, anti-vanguard tendencies who are all for spontaneity and masses, yet when it comes to the dialectic are really vulgar materialists. They reduce dialectic to that which happens under capitalism, not the most inward human dimension that is both the means and end of realizing freedom. I took that to be the point of the essay.

Student of the dialectic



Gaily decorated floats swept down the street and happy, spirited people marched in the 10th annual Disability Pride Parade in Chicago on July 20. For the first time, people lined the streets watching. The parade aims to change the way people think about and define “disability,” and to end the internalized shame among people with disabilities. The parade also serves as a reminder of discrimination the disabled face in employment, housing, public accommodations and even programs designed to serve them. I agree with an organizer who said, “It’s a fight for freedom for our people. The disabled are often forgotten about in other freedom movements and their needs ignored. It’s our job to make sure that ends.”

S. Rose



On Aug. 16, about 30 disability rights activists from Access Living, ADAPT and other groups descended on the Department of Health Care and Family Services (DHCFS) to make our demands known. “Nothing about us, without us,” we chanted. DHCFS wants to change the evaluation tool that decides who qualifies for homecare and how much service they will get, but they are excluding from the process people with disabilities who are most affected by these decisions. We also demanded an end to the Maximus contract. Maximus is a company hired by the State of Illinois to reduce the number of people on Medicaid. They are throwing people off Medicaid and getting paid for every person they get rid of. If they can’t reach you, or your telephone number or address has changed, they kick you off. People are getting letters saying their Medicaid is ending without being given a reason. Maximus is also losing people’s paperwork.




Having read my first issue of News & Letters, I see that it supports the unity between thought and action, that one cannot be complete without the other. The philosophy is not completely understandable to me, but I have an excitement about learning what it means that I have not felt before. I see articles from many different groups fighting for freedom and I have not seen such complete coverage on these different groups in other left newspapers. I am especially appreciative of the Woman as Reason page and the coverage of Turkey, Syria and Iran in the July-August issue. I learned many things. Keep up the great work!

New reader



Revolutionary greetings! Thank you for shedding light on the many struggles of our day. Thank you for educating the masses about our responsibilities as human beings, and lastly, thank you for keeping it real. Your paper has kept me on my feet throughout the years and fed me with plenty of knowledge. I did 14 years in solitary confinement/administrative confinement. Your paper kept me alive, and you gave me new ideas regarding the collective betterment and upliftment of my people and all oppressed nationals. Prisoners/Kaptives make up the bulk of the 99% and your paper, its ideas ranging from the Queer struggle to the Black struggle all the way to the prison struggle, affect our struggle in a tremendous way.


Green Bay, Wis.


The fight for one’s human rights is not always easy, but it’s necessary. Not only is protesting a right, it’s your constitutional right. Which is so very important for all of us to remember, because the oppressors don’t seem to follow the Constitution when it comes to us, the oppressed! So no matter where you are, if you’re being repressed, undressed, suppressed, regressed, depressed and outright oppressed by the powers that be—it’s in your best interests to PROTEST!


California death row


I am writing to thank you for your prisoner fund subscription to News & Letters, as well as for your support of the Pelican Bay Hunger Strike. Your paper is very educational and enlightening!


Crescent City, Calif.


I am a prisoner serving a life sentence here at Folsom State Prison. Can you please find a donor to pay for my subscription? Thank you.


Represa, Calif.


TO OUR READERS: Can you donate $5, the price of a subscription, for a prisoner who cannot pay for one? It will be shared with many others. A donation of $8 pays for a subscription plus the new Pelican Bay Hunger Strike pamphlet to be sent to a prisoner.

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