Raya Dunayevskaya

American philosopher (1910-1987)

Raya Dunayevskaya (May 1, 1910 – June 9, 1987), born Raya Shpigel, later Rae Spiegel, also known by the pseudonym Freddie Forest, was an American Marxist humanist.


  • Let me examine the alleged "distinction from capitalism" characteristic of the Soviet Union and see whether it isn't a distinction from a certain stage of capitalism rather than from capitalism as a whole. The determining factor in analyzing the class nature of a society is not whether the means of production are the private property of the capitalist class or are state-owned, but whether the means of production ... are monopolized and alienated from the direct producers. The Soviet Government occupies in relation to the whole economic system the position which a capitalist occupies in relation to a single enterprise. ... "Bureaucratic state socialism" is an irrational expression behind which there exists the real economic relation of state-capitalist-exploiter to the propertyless exploited.
    • "The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is a Capitalist Society" (1941), in Russia: From Proletarian Revolution to State-Capitalist Counter-Revolution (2017), p. 210

Quotes about Raya Dunayevskaya

  • Raya Dunayevskaya was a major thinker in the history of Marxism and of women's liberation-one of the longest continuously active woman revolutionaries of the twentieth century. In fierce intellectual and political independence, her life and work defied many mind-numbing labels that self-described conservatives, liberals, and radicals have applied to voices for political and social change.
  • But Sisyphus is not, finally, a useful image. You don't roll some unitary boulder of language or justice uphill; you try with others to assist in cutting and laying many stones, designing a foundation...Another was Raya Dunayevskaya, who wrote vividly and trenchantly of the concrete revolutionary lives of women, and whose fusion of Marx's humanism with contemporary feminisms expanded my sense of the possibilities of both.
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