[Marxism] Marxists and Human Rights Violations

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Tue Apr 6 22:10:39 MDT 2004

Human rights violations are occurring in epidemic pro-
portions in our world. The primary human right that I'm
concerned with is the right to live, to eat, and to have
an effective voice in the direction of our world today.

As we're writing, a massive violation of human rights is
being perpetrated in Iraq where the United States is
trying to impose its rule on a foreign country to which
it wasn't invited and which should have its right to
self-determination respected.

Human rights, including a range of political rights, are
important, but shouldn't be seen or demanded abstractly
outside of the context of broader social rights. What
good is it to have the right to have opposition parties
if you cannot read, eat or have a place to say? Recall
the big hue and cry earlier this year about Cubans who
supposedly don't have internet access. They omitted to
mention that 95% of the human race doesn't have access
to the internet. We could go on and on and on.

Without the ability to eat, to read, and to walk down a
street in relative safety, how important is the right to
form a political party against the government? Not much.

The separation of human rights, and the elevation of the
right to political opposition over and against the right
to live, eat and to learn is an abuse which the major
powers, especially the United States, are perpetrating
everywhere. Look at the spectacle they're carrying out
at the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva
where they mount an international campaign every year to
have Cuba condemned as a violator of human rights.

Some of these questions were discussed yesterday in an
on-the-record interview by news editors from the US
Associated Press meeting with Ricardo Alarcon, who is
the President of Cuba's National Assembly. Read that:

As part of its campaign to explain a broader and more
socially-based conception of human rights, the Cuban
government has just posted a book-length explanation
of this matter at the website of its foreign ministry.
I think this can help shed light on their HR conception.
http://makeashorterlink.com/?O3E0425F7 for the final
chapter, but you can scroll back to see the entire
document from that chapter.

Walter Lippmann

How do you think that Marxists should deal with the issue
of human rights violations? Do you see a baseline
universalist vision of human rights as basic to the Marxist
(and democratic socialist) project? Do you believe that a
non-democratic state can in any sense be an authentically
Marxist one? Recall that Marx himself said "Je ne suis pas

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