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June 1999 (Volume 51, Number 2)

» Notes from the Editors
June 1999 (Volume 51, Number 2)

We celebrated our fiftieth anniversary with a dinner on May 7. It was a really marvellous occasion, and we were delighted to see so many of you there. The space was filled to capacity, with 350 people seated, and some who couldn’t get seats at the tables were standing—just to enjoy the atmosphere. We even had a waiting list.

The event was brilliantly organized by Kira Brunner, with the help of other members of the MR staff and the fiftieth anniversary planning committee (Abigail Anzalone, Wesley Aten, Beth Kling, Vicki Larson, Martin Paddio, Renee Pendergrass, Marta Petrusewicz, Esther Rowland, and Judith Socolov), whom we would like to thank for all of their hard work in helping to put together a wonderful evening. We would also like to extend a special thank you to Esther Rowland, whose continued enthusiasm, ideas, and effort have contributed not only to the fiftieth anniversary dinner celebration, but to MR in general.

The program—with Ossie Davis, Cornel West, Mike Tigar, Adrienne Rich, Phillip Officer, and MC Doug Dowd—was a wonderful blend of entertainment and political engagement. Noam Chomsky was scheduled to speak but had to cancel at the last minute (readers won’t be surprised that, with all his commitments arising from the war in Kosovo, he’s been overextended lately). He sent a very warm and supportive message, saying that he “first started reading MR as a college student, at the outset. It was a breath of fresh air in dark times, and has remained a source of enlightenment and just plain encouragement ever since.” The evening concluded with a few words from each of the three editors and an enthusiastic rendition, by everyone present, of the “Internationale” (with the help of Eric Canepa on organ).

We were struck not only by the numbers that turned out but by the terrific spirit that permeated the whole affair. There was just a very good feel about it, lots of warmth and a real buzz. It was clear that people weren’t only celebrating fifty years of past achievements but also expressing renewed hope for the future—the future of the magazine and of the socialist movement. When it was all over, Paul remarked privately that “This is the beginning of something.” And that’s certainly how it felt. We’ve thought for some time that there’s a change in the wind and, for us, MR’s anniversary dinner was a celebration of that, too.

We thought readers would like to see at least a representative sample of the congratulatory messages we’ve received from around the world:

From its beginning, Monthly Review has always been a wonderfully steadfast source of socialist wisdom. I always appreciated its independence, its freedom from dogma, and, through all the unpredictable twists and turns of world affairs, its solidly rooted intelligent humanism.

Howard Zinn

It was at Harvard in the years of the Great Depression that I first came to know Paul Sweezy. He was a dominant figure in our young community; no one took a stronger position on the then obvious and extremely painful failure of the system. To repeat, his was a dominant voice. Mine, that of an intrinsically more cautious figure, was much less influential. Paul was the evident leader.

This leadership then became evident in the Monthly Review of which he was founder, editor, and permanent guide. I have been a reader for all these years; I have not always agreed—again the Galbraith caution—but I have always been informed. Accordingly my pleasure in sending my warm congratulations on this anniversary. May it later be regarded as the first fiftieth of many that followed.

John Kenneth Galbraith

We regret to announce the death of a longtime friend and contributor to MR, Dr. Eqbal Ahmad, who died unexpectedly on May 11 in Islamabad. Without question, Eqbal was considered the most distinguished intellectual in public life in Pakistan. In the last decade of his life, he wrote one of the most widely read columns in Pakistan’s principal newspaper, Dawn, while contributing regularly to Al-Ahram, Le Monde Diplomatique, and The Nation, among numerous other publications. Eqbal was born in 1933 and was brought to Pakistan by his brothers at the time of the partition of the Subcontinent. His doctoral research at Princeton University led him into contact with the Algerian FLN and Franz Fanon. He joined the FLN and ultimately served as part of the Algerian delegation during the final negotiations that led to Algerian independence.

Eqbal Ahmad is remembered in the United States for his prominent role as an advocate of the Vietnamese struggle against U.S. imperialism and his work in the civil rights movement. For more than a decade prior to returning to Pakistan, he taught at Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass. His best friend, Edward Said, who dedicated Culture & Imperialism to Eqbal, wrote in Al-Ahram: “He was perhaps the shrewdest and most original anti-imperialist analyst of the post-war world…A man of enormous personal charisma, incorruptible ideals, unfailing generosity and sympathy to others…his life was an epic and poetic one.”

We also regret the untimely death of Samori Marksman, program director of Pacifica’s WBAI in New York. Samori was a quintessential activist-journalist; he did not flinch from the truth, even as he always championed the liberation of the oppressed, at home and abroad.

And we are saddened by the death of Bill Doyle: Marxist historian, educator, union organizer, and radio host. He died on April 4 in New Mexico.

We would like to extend warm congratulations to Mike Wallace and Edwin G. Burrows, authors of Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898, which recently won the Pulitzer Prize.

Domitila Chungara, a key mining union leader in Bolivia and the author of Let Me Speak (Monthly Review Press, 1979), is in need of surgery. She must raise at least $2,000, and possibly as much as $10,000. Please send a check or money order to the Domitila Chungara Fund, 208 Utica Street, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA.

From time to time we receive bequests from readers who want to contribute to the continuance of Monthly Review, Monthly Review Press, or the Monthly Review Foundation. Those who wish to do the same may simply state in their wills that the bequest is to “The Monthly Review Foundation, 146 West 29th Street, #6W, New York, NY 10001.” For additional information contact Martin Paddio at (212) 691-2555 or use our contact page.

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