Welcome to With Sober Senses, the new on-line publication of Marxist-Humanist Initiative! It seems that people increasingly think of the internet as a place to obtain information, and themselves as consumers of information. We’re trying to do something different here.
We envision WSS not mainly as a provider of information, but as a space to aid struggles for human freedom through the development of ideas. For that to happen, we need you to become participants, colleagues, not consumers. Ideas develop dialectically––and that means, first and foremost: through dialogue.
MHI is now the world’s only organization dedicated to the task of rebuilding an organization that can renew the philosophy of Marxist-Humanism by concretizing and developing it as a collectivity. What we’re taking responsibility for is what Raya Dunayevskaya called “the organization of Marxist thought.” We certainly don’t think we have a monopoly on Marxist thought, or that it can develop adequately without sustained, broad, global, discussion with many working people, intellectuals, and others.
So whether or not you’re currently a member or Supporter of MHI, please contribute to WSS. Submit articles, comment on articles in the space provided below them, and write to us by clicking the “Contact” tab and typing a message in the “Comments” box.
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The name of this publication reflects our commitment to reason as a force for social change. We don’t think a new, free society will emerge automatically, solely through the unfolding of capitalism’s contradictions, or spontaneously, or by the Left marketing “its message” in more appealing ways, or by inspiring people with a grand narrative or the dream of a socialist pie in the sky. We think it will emerge when the vast majority of the world’s population, which doesn’t benefit from the current system, thinks through and works out, with sober senses, what changes must be made in order to have a free and viable non-capitalist society—one that won’t collapse because it’s unworkable, and one that won’t revert to capitalism or something worse because it’s unworkable.
“Agora,” a beautiful film that has just come to the U.S., brings to life the real meaning of and motivation behind philosophy. Hypatia (played by Rachel Weisz) tells a former student that she, as a philosopher, has to question what she believes, while he, as a Christian, must not. Also, when asked about her religious beliefs, she replies, “I believe in philosophy.” Since, as the film makes clear, philosophy and things like astronomy weren’t separate sciences back then, what Hypatia means is that she believes in the power of rational thought. So do we. The film as a whole is an unflinching and brave defense of reason that warns us about the barbarism into which we might well descend–as the Alexandria of Hypatia’s day descended–if belief is allowed to prevail over the processes of rational thinking.
The first act of changing the future is to face the present with sober senses.