Marxism and Humanism by Raya Dunayevskaya

Linked with our presentation of Raya Dunayevskaya – Ukraine & USA.

Raya Dunayevskaya writes some articles on Humanism:

I. – August 1963 – The uniqueness of Marxist-Humanism: The totality of the opposition between the world of the ruled and that of the rulers is bound to explode.

The question is: what will allow the collision of the two worlds to result in a reconstruction of society on OTHER, on human beginnings? Can the future inherent in the present evolve without a theory? And, if not, where is the theory that will converge with the practice of the millions?

Naturally, we think it is Marxist-Humanism. But we must put its analysis of what is, as well as the organizational form of what is TO BE DONE, to the test. (Read the rest on this site).

II. – 1965 – ‘Marx’s Humanism Today’: It was during the decade of the First International (1864-74) – a decade that saw both the Civil War in America and the Paris Commune – that Marx restructured[1] the many drafts of Capital and published the first two editions of Volume I.

Capital sets forth a new concept of theory, a new dialectical relationship between theory and practice, and a shift of emphasis from the idea of history as the history of theory to the idea of history as the history of production. It signifies Marx’s “return” to his own philosophic humanism after more than a decade of concentration on economics and empiric studies of the class struggles of his day. Not surprisingly, this return is on a more concrete level, which, rather than diminishing Marx’s original humanist concepts, deepens them. (Read the rest on this site).

III. – 1971 – Marxist-Humanism’s concept of ‘Subject’: First, let me take up the question of language. [No word] is more important than Subject. Whether we mean by that the Movement, or a specific group like News and Letters Committees; whether we mean the workers or a single revolutionary; whether we mean women’s liberation, Blacks, Indians, “organization,” it is clear that “Subject” is the one that is responsible for both theory and practice. Therefore, we must not say “Subject must unite with its theory”; it is the subject who unites, or fails to unite, theory and practice. In a word, the preposition “with” is wrong.

Perhaps part of the looseness of expression is due to my stressing how crucial theory is, that, as you put it, quoting me, “Philosophy is itself revolutionary.” Yes, because the whole point of philosophy, of dialectics-both its point of departure and point of return-is Freedom. The trouble with philosophers, whether they were only thinking of Utopia, the Future, or of Thought as their special province, was that they limited the concept of freedom. That is why Marx says (It is the very first quotation one meets even before turning to a single page of text in MARXISM AND FREEDOM) that “Freedom is so much the essence of man that even its opponents realize it….No man fights freedom; he fights at most the freedom of others.”

Marx “took advantage” of this nature of man, and therefore his thought, the striving for freedom, and said of Hegel’s dialectics-THE greatest philosophy produced by bourgeois philosophy-that what we must do is “realize it” for by realizing this talk and thought of freedom we will HAVE it, be whole man. But under no circumstances does “philosophy is itself revolutionary” mean it will realize itself. Only living men and women can do that. In a word, it is no substitute for “Subject” any more than history is a substitute, for history, too, means MASSES making it. (Read the rest on this site).

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