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May 2001 (Volume 53, Number 1)

» Notes from the Editors
May 2001 (Volume 53, Number 1)

In September 1969 Monthly Review published Margaret Benston’s article, “The Political Economy of Women’s Liberation”—one of the most important early intellectual contributions to the current wave of feminist struggle in the United States. In the more than three decades since we have continued to publish articles by socialist feminists (along with a steady flow of important feminist texts through Monthly Review Press’ New Feminist Library).

Much of the credit for MR’s contributions to feminist thought in the 1970s and ’80s was due to Associate Editor, Bobbye Ortiz. Her untimely death in 1990 was deeply felt. In a personal assessment of MR on the occasion of its fortieth anniversary, published in the May 31, 1989 issue of the Guardian, Bobbye acknowledged MR’s achievements in this and other areas while stressing that the magazine needed to give greater “encouragement and space to socialist-feminist theoretical work.”

It is against this background that we are publishing Barbara Epstein’s probing article “What Happened to the Women’s Movement?” as the Review of the Month in this issue. Epstein, whose involvement with radical activism goes back to the sixties, has written widely about feminism and contemporary social movements. A former editor of Socialist Review, she has in recent years been a close advisor and supporter of Monthly Review. The questions that she raises in this article with regard to the feminist movement are ones that we believe all radicals ought to be asking.

In June an article on feminism and the left by the distinguished poet and essayist Adrienne Rich will appear in this magazine. Rich is the author of numerous volumes of poetry and prose; in 1993 her work was anthologized in a Norton Critical Edition. Her latest work is the collection, Arts of the Possible, published this month. Rich, who read from her poetry at MR’s fiftieth anniversary celebration, is one of the most eloquent voices for feminism in our time.

We offer these articles not only in furtherance of MR’s long-standing commitment to feminism, but also to help revive socialist-feminist discourse.

Many of you have had contact over the last few years with Vicki Larson, who was Assistant Editor of Monthly Review from January 1999 to February 2001, and may be wondering about her whereabouts. Vicki left her position at MR, where she had been doing an exemplary job, to devote more of her time to social activism. She is currently working at MADRE, an international women’s human rights organization located in Manhattan. Vicki traveled from Mexico City to Chiapas during a month-long stay in Mexico in January and spent time in a Zapatista community doing human-rights observation. The June issue of MR will carry a correspondence piece by Vicki on her experiences with the Zapatistas, as well as a piece by Rachel Neumann (MR’s proofreader) on her own direct experiences on the Zapatista caravan.

Recently, we learned from one of our readers that although he was an enthusiastic admirer of MR he felt that the magazine was relatively closed to contributions by “outsiders.” It has occurred to us that our practice, where appropriate (as in the case of four out of the five authors to the present issue), of signaling that an individual is a “frequent contributor,” “longtime contributor” or “close friend” (all of which we consider honorific titles) may have encouraged the view that articles in MR are mainly written by “insiders.” We like to think of MR as a community of socialist and radical writers and readers, and to take advantage of every opportunity to celebrate our community, indeed “family,” connections. Yet, it remains true that almost all articles in MR, even those by authors with longtime connections to us, are unsolicited—the main exception being our special issues every July-August (and on certain other rare occasions).

MR does not have a set of regular columnists. All contributions—even those by longtime authors and close friends of the magazine—are carefully reviewed and selected by an informal editorial committee, which includes the editors (with whom final responsibility rests). Our goal has always been one of encouraging the flowering of independent socialist thought and practice both in the United States and on a world scale, and for this purpose we remain open to, and indeed desirous of, contributions from all of those who share our political and intellectual commitments. Submissions to the magazine should preferably be short (4000 words or less) and be written in a style shorn as much as possible of technical and ideological jargon and academic paraphernalia (please see our guidelines). Manuscripts should be sent in triplicate to the editors at 122 West 27th Street, New York, NY 10001, or use our contact form for submissions

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