3. The 1970s: Dialectics of revolution/under the whip of counter-revolution

Two totally opposite occurrences - Nixon's barbaric invasion of Cambodia, on the one hand, and the criss-crossing of conferences on Lenin and on Hegel, on the other hand - jammed up in 1970 to bring about as new a stage in cognition as in reality.

Nixon's wars abroad had been brought home in blood with the murderous assault on the protesting students at Kent State, Ohio and the Black students at Jackson State, Miss. who solidarized with them. Our front page picture not only focused on the riddled women's dormitory at Jackson: our Editorial Article began with the third massacre that had taken place that week - which all others were ignoring - the six unarmed Blacks killed in Augusta, Ga. for protesting the murder of a 16 year old Black youth by his jailers (See "Nixon's Wars at Home and Abroad", June-July, 1970).31

These momentous, world-shaking events were occurring while I was working on my new book, Philosophy and Revolution. Because 1970 had marked the 200th anniversary of Hegel's birth, and the 100th of Lenin's, new avenues were opening for the surprising philosophic relationship of Lenin and Hegel, as all sorts of separate conferences kept criss-crossing.

A New Left philosophic journal, Telos, printed my draft chapter from Philosophy and Revolution on "The Shock of Recognition and the Philosophic Ambivalence of Lenin" in its Spring 1970 issue. Another publication, Praxis, in Yugoslavia, published the same chapter in its 1970 issue (Nos. 5-6).32 And that fall, Telos held its first International Conference where I was invited to speak on "Hegelian Leninism".33

The need to transform reality, the core of the Hegelian dialectic, is what had suddenly caused Lenin, the revolutionary materialist, to discover an affinity with the Hegelian dialectic as he experienced the shock of the Second International's collapse at the outbreak of World War I. I felt that, in the same way, the new generation of revolutionaries, confronted with the myriad crises of 1970 after their near-revolution of 1968 was shattered, were now led to see an affinity with the Hegelian Lenin. In West Europe, too, there was new interest in Marxist-Humanism and Hegelian Leninism, as witness the new French and British editions of Marxism and Freedom.

IT WASN'T ONLY the U.S. where the revolt was continuing. The most exciting event in East Europe was the spontaneous uprising of Polish workers in December 1970, when the shipyard workers in Gdansk and Szeseein were joined by housewives, students and other workers to bring about the overthrow of Gomulka. In Shipyard Workers Revolt Against Communist Party Leaders, we were able to publish a document from a workers' meeting held in January 1971 that had been smuggled out of Poland.

At home what most excited the imagination of the country in this period was the Native American movement, which electrified the nation with the occupation of Alcatraz in 1970. It wasn't only the remembrance of the massacre at Wounded Knee that brought the country to a new consciousness: it was the todayness of the Indian freedom struggles.34

By the next year the anti-Vietnam War movement had gained such dimensions that the most massive demonstration ever, half a million, marched to the Capitol in Washington, led by Vietnam veterans.

Suddenly, a stunned world saw Mao Tse-tung take Nixon off the hot seat with the announcement that Nixon would visit Peking. And as if Nixon and Dr. Strangelove Kissinger hadn't created enough devastation with the invasion of Cambodia and massive bombing of North Vietnam, Kissinger started tilting to Pakistan in the India-Pakistan War, in an attempt to abort the striving-to-be-born new nation of Bangladesh. Our Perspectives Thesis for 1971-1972 was well titled: "Nixon and Mao Aim to Throttle Social Revolution" (See Vol. XI, Sec. III 4).

1973-1976 - Philosophy and Revolution; revolutions in Africa and Portugal; woman as revolutionary

The battle of ideas in the early '70s was by no means limited to the New or the Old Left. On the contrary. The subject of Lenin's embrace of the Hegelian dialectic interested also such purely academic societies as the Hegel Society of America, which invited me to give a paper on Hegel's Absolute Idea as New Beginning to its Biennial Convention of 1974. While this was done textually most rigorously, tracing every paragraph of the Absolute Idea, I nevertheless was able to relate it to Lenin's Abstract of Hegel's Science of Logic, contrasting it sharply to Adorno's Negative Dialectics.35

In the Introduction to Philosophy and Revolution, I called to the attention of the readers:

"The brute fact... is the all-pervasiveness of the world crisis - economic, political, racial, educational, philosophic, social. Not a single facet of life, prisons included, was not weighted down by the crisis - and its absolute opposite in thought. A passionate hunger for a philosophy of liberation erupted".

It wasn't that Philosophy and Revolution underestimated the supreme difficulty of uprooting the system. It was that its aim was to trace the relationship of philosophy and revolution form the great French Revolution and the birth of Hegelian philosophy, through the 1848 proletarian revolutions and the Marxian theory of revolution, and from the Russian Revolution and Lenin's rediscovery of the Hegelian dialectic up to our own age.

The essence of Part I is seen in the very title: "Why Hegel? Why Now?" The counter to that - Part II, "Alternatives" - deals both with revolutionaries like Trotsky and Mao and with "an outsider looking in" like Sartre, in order to measure their theories against the objective situation. Since it is up to each generation of Marxists to work out Marxism for its own age, the whole Part III - "Economic Reality and the Dialectics of Liberation" - deals with the African Revolutions and the world economy; with state-capitalism and the East European revolts; and with the "New Passions and New Forces" of today: the Black dimension, the anti-Vietnam War youth, rank and file labor, and women's liberation.

A Constitutional Convention was called for Oct. 21, 1973 to amend our Constitution. We first recorded that, just as the Black Revolution was proof of our thesis of Black masses as the vanguard of the American Revolution, so Women's Liberation as movement was proof of the correctness of our singling out that force as Reason back in 1955. We then added the following:

"What Marxism and Freedom, with its dialectical form of presentation of history and theory as emanating from the movement from practice did do is lay the foundation for the articulation of the unity of philosophy and revolution. Philosophy and Revolution, in articulating the integrality of philosophy and revolution as the characteristic of the age, and tracing it through historically, caught the link of continuity with the Humanism of Marx, that philosophy of liberation which merges the dialectics of elemental revolt and its Reason. The new historic passions and forces set in motion in the 1950s gave birth to a new generation of revolutionaries in the 1960s, and in the 1970s have put a mark of urgency on the need for integrality also of philosophy and organization. As against 'the party to lead' concept, such integrality of dialectics and organization reflects the revolutionary maturity of the age and its passion for a philosophy of liberation.

"Marxism and Freedom and Philosophy and Revolution are our theoretical foundations. However, they are not a 'program'. They are a contribution to the theoretical preparation for revolution without which no revolutionary organization or grouping can match the challenge of our era".

WHILE THE PAX AMERICANA arrogance of Kissinger and the totalitarianism of Nixon36 continued right up to the day of his forced resignation in 1974, a totally new historic epoch was opening simultaneously in Africa and in Portugal. Indeed, the Portuguese Revolution began in Africa, as the young African revolutionaries - some of them still children - actually influenced the young Portuguese soldiers in the occupying army. A dynamism of ideas had always characterized what had been called "Portuguese Africa", whether that be the way Eduard Mondlane had made the role of women integral to revolution in his 1969 work The Struggle for Mozambique, or the way African leaders like Dr. Neto, unlike West Africans, at once established relations with Marxists in the West.

The overthrow of the oldest fascist regime, with the ousting of Caetano, was a great historic event which, at one and the same time, shook up the imperialist world and initiated a truly social revolution, involving not only workers and peasants and students and women, but the young soldiers themselves. While General Spinola tried to delude himself that he was the true leader, it was his soldiers with whom the revolutionaries in Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau and Angola were fraternizing.

In Portugal itself, many parties were active - Socialist, Communist, and independent; workers upsurged in great strikes; peasants occupied the land; and - though the masses were reaching only February 1917, and were still far from November 1917 - there was no doubt that the goal was a full proletarian revolution. So fearful was NATO that the revolution would undermine what they considered "the underbelly of Europe", and so determined were the capitalists and neo-capitalists with socialist colorations to stop any genuine revolution, that Portugal soon faced a full Rightist move backward with the Nov. 25, 1975 coup.

"Under the Whip of the Counter-Revolution: Will the Revolution in Portugal Advance?" began a whole series of Political-Philosophic Letters that covered the momentous world events from January through December, 1976 (See Vol. XIV, Sec. I. 7).

One of the most significant new phenomena that arose from the Portuguese Revolution and that is sure to remain in the vocabulary of the 1980s is apartidarismo. So characteristic of the revolutionary situation was this striving for "non-partyism" that the PRP/BR (Revolutionary Party of the Proletariat/Revolutionary Brigades), a split-off from the Communist Party, tried to assign priority not to the party, but to the spontaneous mass organizations.37 Though never fully worked out, the very fact that "non-partyism" was raised brings up the truly burning question for the 1980s.

AMONG THE OTHER significant events of the revolution was the women's movement - not the women's movement "as such", but the fact that from the start the leaflets of the MLM (Women's Liberation Movement), calling for equal pay for women at factories, were forced to state: "It's not only the bosses that are exploiting us; it's our own comrades who are refusing us equal pay".38

There has not been a single part of the globe - whether that be Portugal or Mozambique, Italy or Guinea-Bissau, England or Angola; whether it be the U.S or Iran, France or West Germany, or for that matter Russia - where the women have not been on the march for true liberation. And while that has concentrated heavily on the right to abortion, "taking back our bodies" also meant "taking back our heads". The struggles against the "status quo" are not separated from the man/woman relationship right in the home, much less in a new society that cannot ever come to be without tearing up root and branch the old society. The failure to acknowledge this is no small reason for constantly having only aborted, unfinished revolutions.

When Philosophy and Revolution singled out the uniqueness of this age's Women's Liberation Movement in the fact that it was challenging male chauvinism not only under capitalism, but within the Left, it pointed out how deep must be the uprooting if we are ever to create a new society. In 1976 we published a new pamphlet, Working Women For Freedom,39 in which the masses in motion again spoke for themselves and to which was appended an article, "Women as Thinkers, and as Revolutionaries", that was excerpted from a series of six lectures I had given at the Wayne State University/University of the Michigan Cultural Center. It ended with this:

"Creativity that can really tear things up at their roots and genuinely start something new, humanly new, can only come from mass creativity. It is only then when it is totally revolutionary, is not hemmed in by the concept and practice of the 'Party to lead', and it is only then it can once and for all end aborted and unfinished revolutions.

"Be it something as 'simple' as the question of women's struggle for equality in the very midst of all the myriad crises, or the deep recession and racism in the U.S., what women are hungering for is working out the relationship of their creativity to a philosophy of liberation. We surely do not need yet one more form of elitism. What we do need is a unity of philosophy and revolution. Without it we will not be able to get out from under the whip of the counter-revolution."

Once Again 1973-1976 - This Time as the Middle East war and the world economic crisis

The deepest economic recession since World War II, so deep that the structure of the whole state-capitalist world had reached the point of stagnation, gave birth to many myths, the first of which blamed everything on the Middle East war and the quadrupling of oil prices that followed.

There is no doubt that the quadrupling of oil prices certainly helped bring on the crises. But the truth is that the economy was sick - the U.S. economy most of all - ever since the Vietnam War and the heightened militarization which has become a permanent feature. The missiles alone are now, by 1980, reaching such stratospheric proportions that Carter's program on that for the next five years will reach a trillion dollars.

What is inherent in the Middle East crisis, whether you begin now or at the beginning of the Arab-Israeli collision - which is not 1973, or 1967, but 1959 - is the post-World War II struggle of the world powers for global domination, on the one hand, and the struggle for the minds of humanity, on the other.

Too many are eager to forget what the birth of Israel had originally signified as the birth of a new nation not alone out of the Holocaust, but one that was socialist, was won by fighting British imperialism, and was the only place in the Middle East which had neither oil nor any Nazi associations during World War II. The fact that Israel now has the reactionary leadership it does, which is doing its best to reverse the clock and deprive the Palestinians of their right to self-determination, cannot erase the dialectics of liberation then. What is needed is the tracing of the dialectic of each event, as it happened, within the context of the global situation. This is what we did in the series of articles collected under the title: War, Peace or Revolution: Shifting Alliances in the Middle East - from the Six Day War to the Camp David Summit.40

As U.S. and Russia entered the Middle East cockpit, it became a key point for the two nuclear titans struggling for control over the Middle East. By 1973, when it looked as if there would be some "even-handedness" on the part of the U.S. regarding the Arab world, global politics again took center stage. In a word, the fact remains that neither Israel (and it is the guiltiest part of all by now) nor Egypt nor the PLO, has the decisive word.

THEREFORE, TO SEE what was really happening at this stage of new crises for state-capitalism, we have to return to production and not politics. So decrepit had capitalism become by the 1970s that, far from the never-ending talk of growth, growth, growth, all capitalists could think of to stop the galloping inflation was zero "growth". What was worse still was the revelation of the Vietnam War, that the U.S. was not only the most savagely imperialistic country, but the one where, for the first time ever, there was a recession during an ongoing war, so much so that even the merchants of death complained of a decline in the rate of profit!

For revolutionaries to mistake the "arms economy", permanent or otherwise, as if it were equivalent to the booms of capital expansion - accumulation of such ever greater masses of unpaid labor as to counteract the decline in the rate of profit - is, at one and the same time, to blind oneself to the totality of the crisis, the actual structural changes of capitalist production in its death agony, and, what is far worse, fail to see the new forms of revolt, like the unorganized, the new generation of revolutionaries, and the ever deeper layers of the proletariat fighting automation and its ultimate point of animation.

In a word, whether we start with LBJ claiming we could have both guns and butter; or go to Nixon, the great believer in private capitalism, who was forced to undertake the most rigorous state-capitalist measures, from wage and price controls to devaluation of the dollar: or go to Carter and Reagan, who, in 1980, are outdoing each other in preparations for World War III - what they all forget is that the unemployed army as a permanent feature, and the Black dimension especially among the youth who have never seen a job, will always bring about new forms of revolt until they bring the system down.41

It is this which all forget - whether private capitalism, or state-capitalism calling itself Communism, or all the tailenders from the Trotskyists down. That is why those we called "today's epigones"42 try to truncate Marx's greatest work, presenting the monstrosity of state-capitalism as if it were the revolutionary alternative to U.S. capitalism. They stand in the way of the proletariat and all the new forces of revolution who are searching for a totally new form of revolution to usher in a new society in which human power is its own end.

With the death of Mao in 1976, it was clear that no matter what de-Maoization would follow, even as the de-Stalinization that followed Stalin's death, the transformation into opposite of any workers' state or national revolutionary state could not be retransformed into its opposite unless a new revolutionary force does it.

It cannot be done from the top down; it must be done from the bottom up. It cannot de done by reform: it must be done by revolution. The same was true in post-Watergate U.S.A., where the totality of the crisis was beyond repair. But, as we expressed it in our 1976 Perspectives, "National-international, Objective-Subjective Crises are Testing Revolutionaries" too.

1977-1979: From Crisis in Post-Mao China, through Black Consciousness in South Africa and the Latin American Revolts, to the Iranian Revolution

The world crises which were testing revolutionaries were starkest of all in post-Mao China. It was not so much the death of Mao as the contradictory legacy of Mao that created China's particular crisis. The world media was following the factional fights, sensing the hypocrisy of the phony unity at the top that lasted hardly a month, followed by the vicious campaign against the so-called "Gang of Four" - Chaing Ching, Wang Hungwen, Chang Chun-chiao and Yao Wen-yuan - upon whom all crises were blamed.

We, on the other hand, concentrated as we had during Mao's lifetime upon the magnificent revolutionary youth movements like Sheng Wu-hen, who had taken at face value Mao's proclamation of the Cultural Revolution that "it is right to rebel". We felt confident that the movement, though its leaders were railroaded to prison and the movement driven underground, was not destroyed. A new dissident group, Li Yizhe, had arisen in 1974 when Mao was still allive, and its leaders, including Wang Xizhe, were imprisoned for their wall posters. After his release from jail in 1978 Wang continued his struggle "For a Return to Genuine Marxism in China!"43

Soon after Mao died we analyzed his empiricism and "capitulation to the objective pull of state-capitalism as the 'next' stage of human development, with the quintessential difference, from Russia's acceptance of that state, that it be China, not Russia, that will 'head' that next stage".44

What we had done from our birth - listening to the new voices from below, singling out new revolutionary forces, seeing that the movement from practice is itself a form of theory - does not free Marxist intellectuals from their responsibility. Indeed, what Hegel called "The Self-Thinking Idea" cannot itself think, without people thinking it. It remains the intellectuals' responsibility to work out a new relationship between theory and practice.

To work out a new relationship of theory to practice is no easy task, and requires both listening to new voices and digging back into the past, not only into American roots but also international extensions and developments. Thus, just as in 1976, from our continuous digging into American roots we produced America's First Unfinished Revolution45 and in 1977, on the hundredth anniversary of the St. Louis strike, published The First General Strike in the U.S.,46 so 1977 led to new international relations.

From London we received a 2:00 a.m. telephone call on Feb. 18 from some of the students demonstrating throughout England: "We are occupying the administrative offices of Middlesex Polytechnic. We have been here for 12 hours to protest the astronomical increase in overseas students' tuition fees... 80 percent of overseas students in Britain come from Third World countries. Many of the overseas students face deportation for their involvement. The Iranian students are especially vulnerable". They emphasized the relationship between student action and the increasing revolts of the British workers.47

In that same month of February we had received another call - this time from Flint, Mich., asking our help in forcing the UAW bureaucrats to give Genora Johnson Dollinger the right to speak at the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the 1937 Flint Sit-down Strike. Despite the vital role that women played in winning that historic strike - especially the famous Women's Emergency Brigade that she had organized - not a single woman had been included anywhere on the program. Our Women's Liberation Committee, together with angry women from CLUW, NOW, the Ann Arbor Labor History Project, and the Washington D.C. Women's Film Cooperative, unleashed so colorful and determined a protest right in the auditorium that it not only won Genora the right to speak, but became the highpoint of the film "With Babies and Banners" which took the story nation-wide.48

Our national and international activities and writings were, of course, at no time separated - whether that be the initiation of activity against the appearance of neo-Nazism in Chicago and Detroit, or the report of Charter 77 received from Prague, both reported in our June 1977 issue: whether it be the Spanish and Italian editions of Philosophy and Revolution, or the Hong Kong publication of The Revolution is Dead, Long Live the Revolution, which reproduced my critique of Mao's Cultural Revolution;49 or whether it be Sexism, Politics and Revolution in China, which was issued by the Women's Liberation-N&L Committee.50

* * *

THE OVERRIDING EVENT of all that year happened in benighted South Africa after they murdered Steve Biko. His movement, Black Consciousness, far from dying, grew and developed and is continuing to this day. We were the first in the U.S. to publish Steve Biko "Speaking for Himself" as the lead in our Nov. 1977 issue:

"By Black consciousness I mean the cultural and political revival of an oppressed people. This must be related to the emancipation of the entire continent of Africa since the Second World War. Africa has experienced the death of white invincibility...

"Where is the evidence of support among the younger generation for BPC (Black People's Convention)? In one word: Soweto!... For the power of a movement lies in the fact that it can indeed change the habits of people. This change is not the result of force but of dedication, of moral persuasion. This is what has gotten through to the young people. They realize that we are not dealing with mere bread and butter issues...

"The Black consciousness movement does not want to accept the dilemma of capitalism versus communism. It will opt for a socialist solution that is an authentic expression of Black communalism...

"As Fanon puts it, 'the consciousness of the self is not the closing of a door to communication... National consciousness, which is not nationalism, is the only thing that will give us an international dimension'..."

The Soweto youth who appeared on the historic scene that year were showing that their activities were not separated from their philosophy of liberation, and the books they considered the greatest were those of Frantz Fanon and Martin Luther King, Jr.

The intense development in Black reality and Black thought was reflected the following year in News & Letters in two outstanding publications. First was Frantz Fanon, Soweto and American Black Thought by Lou Turner and John Alan. 1978 also saw the completion of the second part of our editor, Charles Denby's autobiography and the publication of the whole as Indignant Heart, A Black Worker's Journal,51 which in summing up, drew so close a connection between Blacks in the U.S. and those in Africa, that the Black dimension manifested itself as a world revolutionary dimension. One of the points that stands out especially in the last chapter on "Worldwide Struggle for Freedom" is the incident in which a white worker is very surprised that a Black UAW member did not know who Meany was, Denby comments: "But the worker who did not even know Meany, the President of AFL-CIO, knew every detail of Lumumba's life from the time he organized the national movement for independence to his murder" (Indignant Heart: A Black Worker's Journal, p. 291).

Both on the Black dimension and on student youth, new relations were established with Britain. "Academically" this related to my 1978 pamphlet, Marx's Capital and Today's Global Crisis, because it included not only a sharp critique of Mandel's Introduction to Marx's Capital, but also an appendix on the English SWP leader - "Tony Cliff reduces Lenin's Theory to 'Uncanny Intuition'". Cliff's Lenin (volume 2) is as great a vulgarization of Lenin as a Marxist theoretician as is Mandel's interpretation of Marx.

The pamphlet also hits out against both Mandel and Cliff on the question of scholarship, in showing that there are altogether too many Marxists who hardly differ from bourgeois scholars in their carelessness about facts concerning Marx and Lenin. Cliff not only held that Lenin was a lesser Marxian economist than Luxemburg, but evidently had not even read Luxemburg's work. Anyone who knows the original works under discussion would know that Tony Cliff hid the fact he had not read either the massive 739 page work by Lenin, the Notebooks on Imperialism, or Lenin's Sbornik, which contains an outline of the book he intended to write on Luxemburg's Accumulation of Capital, entitled Rosa Luxemburg's Unsuccessful Supplement to Marxist Theory. Toward the new discussions of Capital, in 1979 we also reprinted my 1944 Outline of Capital, Vol. 1.

The impact of the analysis not just of Mandel and Cliff, but of Capital itself, was by no means only academic. Quite the contrary. The wide sales of Marx's Capital and Today's Global Crisis in Britain were secondary to the fact that, in addition to the veteran Marxist in Glasgow, Harry McShane, a new group of youth in England had declared themselves Marxist-Humanists. By 1980 they began issuing a British supplement to News & Letters.

* * *

JUST AS NEW INTERNATIONAL relations were developed with Chinese dissidents and African revolutionaries, so the Latin American struggles in 1979 became struggles for Latinos and U.S. Marxists in the United States. In the month of May, N&L carried a lead on the subject, "From Chile to Mexico, Los Angeles to N.Y.: Latino Struggles United Freedom Fighters in North and South America". My Political-Philosophical Letter the same month, "The Unfinished Latin American Revolutions", included, as appendix, the exchange of correspondence between Silvio Frondizi and myself in the mid-1960s.52

The Political-Philosophic Letter also analyzes Gerard Chaliand's Revolution in the Third World. The whole question of revolutions in the Third World in the 1970s was raised anew with Vietnam's invasion of Kampuchea. While at first it met with little objection from the Left both because Pol Pot's monstrous regime surely needed overthrowing and because the Vietnam invasion did have popular support in Kampuchea, it was altogether different when giant China invaded little Vietnam. Not that it was only a question of David and Goliath confrontation. Rather it was due to the fact that the invasion disclosed the class nature of state-capitalist regimes calling themselves Communist as being equally as imperialistic as the so-called private capitalist world.

Even many of those who had not accepted the theoretical position that we live in the age of state-capitalism, could see that the division of the world into but two nuclear Titans, U.S. and Russia, each aiming at single mastery of the world, was dragging each new country into that global struggle. The world market, as world production, was compelling many who had not separated themselves from state powers and relied only on the power of the masses in their own country, to choose one or the other. The fact that the only way to struggle out of that was not to tailend any state power, focused on the question of ideology in the Third World, and nowhere more sharply than in Latin America.

Thus, when my article, "Marx's Humanism Today", included in Erich Fromm's international symposium, Socialist Humanism, appeared in Spanish, it created ground for new relations with Latin American revolutionaries. It was followed by Spanish editions of Marxism and Freedom and Philosophy and Revolution in the 1970s. When our first pamphlet in Spanish in the U.S. La Lucha Latina Para La Libertad y la Filosofia Marxista-Humanista, appeared, it helped to create new relations for Marxist-Humanism in the U.S. among Latinos.

* * *

NOTHING SHORT OF A SHIFT in global powers climaxed the period 1977-79, from the reverberations of post-Mao China, through the Black Consciousness movement in South Africa and the Latin American revolts, to the struggles of the Iranian masses against the Shah, which assumed such mass proportion as to develop into outright revolution.

At its very beginning I had been working on a new book, the topic of which has three subjects. One is Rosa Luxemburg; the second is the relationship of Women's Liberation in her time and ours; and the third is Marx's philosophy of revolution, which had gained a new dimension with the first transcription of Marx's Ethnological Notebooks.53 I no sooner had reached the first chapter on Rosa Luxemburg, which deals with the turning point in her life - the 1905-07 Russian-Polish Revolution - than all sorts of new facts about its extension into Persia illuminated the Iranian struggles of 1978. At the same time, Marx's Ethnological Notebooks cast new illumination on the philosophy of Woman's Liberation as it extended Marx's own 1844 analysis of the Man/Woman relationship to his 1881-82 analyses of the possibility of revolutions occurring in backward countries.

The overthrow of the Shah, and with it the undermining of U.S. imperialism's dominance of the Gulf region, not only opened a dramatic shift in global power, but for the first time moved the question of the Middle East from oil, to one of social revolution. What was most outstanding was that the greatest, most powerful and sustained mobilizations for months on end, including a general strike of oil workers, preceded the three-day insurrection of Feb. 9-12, 1979, which did indeed initiate a whole new epoch in world relations.

Every segment of the population had been totally involved in ridding Iran of its twin nemeses - the Shah and U.S. imperialism - and it seemed to be the eve of the greatest revolution since 1917. The workers who had been out on general strike refused to turn over their guns even when the Ayatollah commanded it. All sorts of spontaneous organizations arose, by no means limited to former guerilla groups. Quite the contrary. There were shoras, there were workers' councils, there were anjumenis. And in all of them youth was dominant.

There was no end to the freedom of the press and the great attraction for the student youth of new Marxist translations. The most eagerly sought-after of the Marxist groups were those who were independent of any state power. The most persistent fighters for self-determination were also the most organized, and were not only the Kurds but also the Arabs. Because they were all part of the mass revolutionary outburst which overthrew the Shah, they felt confident in continuing the fight for genuine self-determination.

Finally, and no means least, the Women's Liberation movement aimed at opening up a new chapter for the revolution. They were involved for five days, beginning on International Women's Day, March 8, 1979, in continuous marches under the slogan, "We made the revolution for freedom and got unfreedom".

Ayatollah Khomeini no sooner found himself in total power than contradictions began tearing the newly liberated nation apart. The emergent retrogression was analyzed in the March 1979 Political-Philosophic Letter, "Unfoldment of, and Contradictions in, the Iranian Revolution". This critique was translated and published in Farsi, as were my writings on Women's Liberation in a pamphlet entitled Woman as Reason and Force of Revolution, which also included an article on women by Rosa Luxemburg and Ting Ling's "Thoughts on March 8". The introduction to the series of essays was written by an Iranian Marxist-Humanist woman, Neda.

All through 1979 and indeed a good part of 1980 there was hardly an issue of N&L which did not have either eye-witness reports on the Iranian Revolution, letters from Iran, special articles on both the women's revolution and the fundamentalist Islamic betrayal of it, as well as serious articles on what type of organization, what type of shoras, what kind of relationships of religion to revolution. The whole series of eye-witness reports and editorials, lead articles and Political-Philosophic Letters, were listed in the report of the National Organizer, Olga Domanski, to the 1979 Plenum.54

Rosa Luxemburg, Women's Liberation and Marx's Philosophy of Revolution greatly illuminated the events of 1979 and 1980. History had paid little attention to the 1905 Russian Revolution's extension to Persia referred to earlier, though especially the women's anjumeni (soviet) was a true historic first. Suddenly, however, another element of the revolution in Persia - its first constitution - became a focal point for the 1979 Iranian Revolution. But what the Islamic fundamentalists meant by it and what the young revolutionaries related to, were absolute opposites.

The Left revolutionaries were studying and trying to practice the dialectics of the 1905-07 Russian Revolution, Luxemburg's analysis of the General Strike as both political and economic and thus bringing on the revolution, the call for women's liberation included in Luxemburg's manifestoes, and above all, the focus on the spontaneity of the masses who were actually more revolutionary than the leaders. What the study also showed was the possibility of a revolution bursting out in a technologically backward country ahead of one that was not only technologically advanced, but one that had a great mass Social Democratic party.55


31 We further stressed the simultaneity of the wars at home and abroad by bringing out a new edition of American Civilization on Trial that year with a new Appendix by Charles Denby, "Black Caucuses in the Unions".

32 The fact that it was not only the New Left in the U.S., but the dissidents in East Europe who were interested in Lenin's Philosophic Notebooks, produced articles in the Soviet press. Academician R. M. Kedrov, Director of the Institute of History of Science and Technology, did not acknowledge that it was my views he was attacking, as he attempted to keep Lenin confined in vulgar materialism, but those are the views he attacked in his article, "On the Distinctive Characteristic of Lenin's Philosophic Notebooks", in Soviet Studies in Philosophy, Summer, 1970.

33 The "Proceedings of the First International Telos Conference, Oct. 8-11, 1970", held in Waterloo Ontario were published in book-form in Towards a New Marxism, edited by Bart Grahl and Paul Piecone (St. Louis, Mo., Telos Press, 1973).

34 See our Pamphlet, Black, Brown and Red which links these movements and has a bilingual section in Spanish.

35 The paper is included in Art and Logic in Hegel's Philosophy, edited by Warren E. Steinkraus and Kenneth L. Schmitz and published by Humanities Press in 1980.

36 See our Editorial Article, "Politics of Counter-Revolution: Watergate and the 'Year of Europe'", in the June-July, 1973 issue of N&L.

37 Isobel de Carmo, leader of the PRP BR, raised both this question and the relationship of theory to practice. In defining her group she wrote: "It is also the organization capable of making a synthesis between theory and revolutionary practice". See Portugal: Key Documents of the Revolutionary Process, published by People's Translation Service, Berkeley, Cal. 94703.

38 The various left parties, after the revolution, tried to take credit for freeing the author's of The Three Marias from Caetano's jails, but the truth is that it was the international women's movement that forced their release - and it preceeded the revolution. See "Maria Barreno Speaks for Herself", N&L, April, 1975.

39 Working Women For Freedom was co-authored by three Marxist-Humanist working women: electrical worker Angela Terrano: office worker Marie Dignan: and autoworker Mary Holmes.

40 The analyses include: (from News & Letters and Political-Philosophic Letters, 1967-1973), "The Arab-Israeli collision, the world powers, and the struggle for the minds of men" (June 1967): "Anti-Semitism, anti-revolution, anti-philosophy: U.S. and Russia enter Middle East cockpit" (February 1969): "The Middle East erupts" (November 1973): "The U.S., global politics and the Mideast War" (December 1973). Also included are: (from The Political-Philosophic Letters of Raya Dunayevskaya, 1976), "The UN Resolution on Zionism - and ideological obfuscation also on the Left" and "Lebanon: The test not only of the P.L.O. but the whole Left": (from News & Letters, 1978), "War, peace or revolution: Shifting alliances in the Middle East" and "Camp David Summit: Peace in Middle East - or extension of U.S. imperialism?".

41 Indeed the new militancy of workers white and Black raised again the question that has predominated the struggles ever since Automation: what kind of labor should human beings do? It was in 1974 that a white production worker in California, Felix Martin, joined our Black worker-editor Charles Denby, as his West Coast editor.

42 See the Introduction, "Today's Epigones Who Try to Truncate Marx's Capital", to my pamphlet Marx's Capital and Today's Global Crisis. The battle of the ideas of the 1970s led to the translation of such great works as Marx's Grundrisse, and to a new translation of Marx's Capital. It did not, however, induce either academia or the New Left to give the objective, scholarly Introductions. The worst was the Introduction to the new Pelican edition of Capital, written by the so-called "specialist on Marxism", Ernest Mandel, who tried to saddle Marx with an approval of that state-capitalist monstrosity, Russia, as if it were a form of workers state. See also my review of Mandel's Marxist Economic Theory ("True Rebirth or Wholesale Revision of Marxism?", in N&L, May and June-July, 1970).

43 This article was printed under the title, "Struggle for a Class Dictatorship of the Proletariat", in the dissident paper, People's Voice, in Canton. It was reprinted in Intercontinental Press, Dec. 10, 1979.

44 See "Post-Mao China: What Now?" in New Essays, by Raya Dunayevskaya. This 1977 pamphlet included, as well, "Leon Trotsky as Man and as Theoretician" (published also in Studies in Comparative Communism, USC, 1977) and "Dialectics of Liberation in Thought and in Activity: Absolute Negativity as New Beginning" (see also footnote 35).

45 This pamphlet by M. Franki and J Hillstrom revealed the untold story of the true creators of independence - the workers, yeomanry, Blacks and women.

46 Terry Moon and Ron Brokmeyer had not only discovered, in their research for this study, the forgotten women Hegelian philosophers, Anna C. Brackett and Susan E. Blow, but presented the relationship both to the Black dimension, and to Marx's First International.

47 See the report compiled by our Youth columnist, Peter Wermuth, carried as the Lead in our March 1977 issue.

48 The film, produced by the Women's Labor History Film Project, was nominated later for an Academy Award. Our Banner, "The Struggle Continues", which triggered the protest when it was unfurled from the balcony, is pictured on p. 20.

49 This work was published by The 70s, 30 Queens Road West, I/F, Hong Kong, and is available from them directly, or through News & Letters.

50 The year 1977 was an active one for the Women's Liberation Movement throughout the world. The May and June issues of N&L carried reports or new revolutionary movements in Italy and Portugal as well as a report from England. The following year our WL-N&L Committee (which had functioned since 1971 as an autonomous committee) issued one of its most popular pamphlets. Revolutionary Feminism, which included a critique of the British SWP writer, Joan Smith: a report on International Women's Day: a view of Rosa Luxemburg on the 59th anniversary of her murder: as well as the unusual combination of "The Paris Commune and Black Women's Liberation". It was no accident, either, that our Native American columnist, Shainape Sheapwe, devoted her May, 1977 column to the issue of sterilisation abuse.

51 Indignant Heart: A Black Worker's Journal was published by South End Press, Boston. 1978. A British edition was published by Pluto Press, London, in 1980.

52 In 1963 Frondizi had tried to get a Spanish publisher for Marxism and Freedom and had begun a correspondence with me. That, however, is not what gives this exchange of correspondence an historic value and connects it to 1978. Rather, it is the fact that the pull of the Cuban Revolution on Marxists in Latin America included even those who did see Russia as a state-capitalist society, but resisted labeling Cuba as such. Cuba, before and after Russia's entry into that sphere, had become a focal point for U.S. imperialism. But by 1962 it had reached the ominous, world-shaking missile confrontation between the two nuclearly-armed giants - U.S. and Russia.

53 Lawrence Krader transcribed Marx's Notebooks, which were published in 1972 under the title, The Ethnological Notebooks of Karl Marx, by Van Gotcum. Assen.

54 It must be stated here that Olga Domanski, who has been our National Organizer since 1963, has edited this whole history.

55 Interestingly enough, there was also a new interest in and new translations of Luxemburg's writings. We published the first translation ever of her Theory and Practice by David Wolff.