Episode 27: Reading “American Civilization on Trial” in Costa Rica

Raya Dunayevskaya’s pamphlet, “American Civilization on Trial: Black Masses as Vanguard” (ACOT) argues that the pivotal moments of forward movement in the US have always been those moments when white working people took their lead from the black masses and coalesced with them. When some young Costa Rican progressives read Marxist-Humanist Initiative’s (MHI’s) editorial on the uprising following George Floyd’s murder, which drew attention to Dunayevsakaya’s argument, they decided to read ACOT. They formed a study group, in which Anne Jaclard of MHI also participated.

In this episode, which leads off Year 2 of Radio Free Humanity, Anne and the co-hosts interview three members of the study group—Arturo, Ellian, and Francisco. They discuss their reasons for studying the pamphlet; what they learned about the freedom struggle of American Blacks and about the US generally; differences and points of similarity between race relations and social struggles in the US and those of Costa Rica; their thoughts about Marxist-Humanism; and more.

This episode’s current-events segment focuses on Trump and the Republicans’ mad dash to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court before the presidential election. The co-hosts make implicit reference to Anne Jaclard’s recent talk, “Desperation is Driving the Trumpite Republican Party. Prepare for the Worst.”

Radio Free Humanity is a podcast covering news, politics and philosophy from a Marxist-Humanist perspective. It is co-hosted by Brendan Cooney and Andrew Kliman. We intend to release new episodes every two weeks. Radio Free Humanity is sponsored by MHI, but the views expressed by the co-hosts and guests of Radio Free Humanity are their own. They do not necessarily reflect the views and positions of MHI.

We welcome and encourage listeners’ comments, posted on this episode’s page.

Please visit MHI’s online print publication, With Sober Senses, for further news, commentary, and analysis.

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September 26, 2020

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