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Dunayevskaya, Raya (1910–1987)

Jin H. Han


Raya Dunayevskaya devoted her life to the philosophical study of Karl Marx and others, including G. W. F. Hegel, Rosa Luxemburg, and Mao Zedong . Commonly described as a Marxist humanist, she was one of the most consistent twentieth-century interpreters of Marxism and her work was quite influential in numerous major protest and social movements. Her life centered on philosophy and revolution. In the 1930s, Dunayevskaya was Trotsky's secretary during his exile in Mexico. During that time, along with C. L. R. James, a Marxist philosopher from Trinidad, she led the Johnson-Forest Tendency, which redefined the Soviet Union as a form of capitalism run by the state. She perceived Stalinist Russia as a subverted form of the communist revolution in which the mode of production was owned not by the people but by the Communist Party. In contrast to Marxism as “a theory of liberation,” she argued that “Russian Communism … is the practice of enslavement” (1956). She founded the News and Letters Committees and continued to publish her ideas through its newspaper, News & Letters (currently online at http://www.newsandletters.org ). In Marxism and Freedom (1958), she expounded the genesis and history of Marx's philosophy that emerged from Hegel's dialectic. She outlined Marxism as a force of political movement formulated by Marx and further developed by Leon Trotsky. Vladimir ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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