Commemorating Raya Dunayevskaya, 1910-1987:
Founder of Marxist-Humanism

by Travis Blute

Last month (9 June) marked the 30th anniversary of the death of Raya Dunayevskaya––possibly the greatest, but certainly one of the great, revolutionary thinkers of the 20th century. That is a big claim for a century that included Lenin, Trotsky and many other Marxists who were political giants with huge influence on the course of events in the last century. Dunayevskaya’s reputation does not match those of these leading figures, but I would suggest it deserves to do so––not for the sake of posterity, but as a basis in thought on which to work to overcome capitalism today. She produced four books, hundreds of articles and thousands of pages of archives. I am only going to touch on a small part of her work, concentrating on the early development of her philosophy which became Marxist-Humanism.

Dunayevskaya was born Rae Spiegel in 1910, in what is today’s Ukraine, then part of Russia. She emigrated with her family to the U.S. as a young girl. Read More

Lain Rejects, then Accepts, then Reneges on Terms of MHI’s Podcast Invitation

Last week, after an attack on Marxist-Humanist Initiative (MHI) instigated by Marxist entertainer Doug Lain, the organization invited him to be interviewed on a podcast to discuss his differences with MHI and his behavior. In response, Lain rejected the invitation, then accepted it, and then attempted retroactively to change the terms of the agreement.

In an April 4 Facebook post, Lain accused MHI of “acting inconsistently.” He provided no evidence or argument. He merely leveled the charge and invited his entourage to speculate about the cause of the alleged inconsistency.

None of the entourage asked Lain to back up his allegation with evidence or argument. They either took it or faith or embrace the “post-truth” ethos for which facts don’t matter. Instead, they called members and supporters of MHI “assholes” and “marginal personalities,” alleged that we are “mentally caged by orthodoxy” and not “smart,” and compared us to flies attracted to “shit.” C Derick Varn, Lain’s sidekick, proclaimed—again, without providing any evidence or argument—that we “are as guilty as those they critique of the things they critique.”

Lain did not invite us to respond to this attack. He even failed to inform us that it had taken place.  Read More

MHI Invites Doug Lain to Discuss Disagreements

Yesterday, Marxist-Humanist Initiative (MHI) invited Doug Lain to discuss his disagreements with MHI’s implacable opposition to Trump and Trumpism. Lain is publisher of Zero Books, and a science-fiction writer and podcaster. In the past, he has characterized himself as a Marxist-Humanist. Read More