As many of you know, we sent out an emergency appeal two months ago to raise $100,000 to make up for a cash deficit. We found ourselves in the paradoxical position of having experienced the largest increase in magazine circulation last year in more than a decade, while looking at a bank account that was pointing toward empty. MR’s very existence was threatened. The problem arose in part because we were without an editor for MR Press for over a year. As a result, book schedules were delayed and new projects put on hold. But a second, larger reason concerns the nature of our enterprise. Radical publishing is a financially risky proposition. In the absence of foundation grants, or an endowment, or the kind of institutional subsidy a university press receives, Monthly Review must rely on its readership. Your continuous support over the past half century has provided the money to keep us going and equally important served as a real morale booster.
The very good news is that you have responded once again the way a loving, devoted family would, and we have raised the money we need to bridge the gap. The outpouring was amazing. For example, Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative of Madison, Wisconsin—hardly a challenger to Borders or Amazon.com—made a generous donation, noting that their sales of MR have jumped over the past year.
This show of support has lifted our spirits and we are enthusiastically planning future issues of MR that will expose capitalism for the barbaric system it is, stick a massive thorn in the backside of the ruling class, and provide guidance and sustenance for the increasing number of brave souls who are organizing to build a humane and just social order. To all of you who gave us money, thank you very much, from the bottom of our hearts. To those of you who didn’t, please do! Most of our contributions are very small, but they add up, as we have just seen. While the immediate crisis has been eliminated, left publications operate in treacherous economic circumstances, so MR will always need the financial support of its readers.
This special issue of MR on Prisons and Executions: The U.S. Model was put together mainly through the efforts of Michael Yates. Michael has recently retired from his position as Professor of Economics at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and beginning with this issue is joining us on the MR masthead as Associate Editor. Those of you who are familiar with MR and MR Press will already know of Michael and his work. He is the author of two key MR Press books—Longer Hours, Fewer Jobs (1994) and Why Unions Matter (1998), and coeditor (with Ellen Meiksins Wood and Peter Meiksins) of another—Rising from the Ashes: Labor in the Age of ‘Global’ Capitalism (1998). For years now he has devoted part of his time to helping edit MR, while holding down a full-time job. He is also a long-time labor educator and union activist and has taught prison inmates.
Michael is the son of working class parents, the husband of a working class wife and the father of four working class children. His vision of socialism is of a society in which every person can do meaningful work, workers control their own workplaces and the entire society, no person suffers from an inability to satisfy basic needs, and no one has more than what he or she truly needs—a society so constituted that an injury to one is truly recognized as an injury to all. Such a society can be brought into being only through class struggle, through the efforts of the working class, broadly construed, to liberate itself.
We would only like to add that we share all of Michael’s commitments, many of which are evident in the present issue.
A Note from Bob McChesney:
Long before I became an editor at MR I had heard the stories of how much greater MR’s reputation was outside of the United States. There was the famous story of how when Robert Kennedy toured Latin America in the 1960s he was constantly questioned by students on MR’s critique of capitalism. (“What is all this stuff about monopoly capitalism?” he was heard asking his aides.) I got a sense of that when I helped arrange a speaking visit for Paul Sweezy in Seattle in 1979. The audience was packed with students from Third World nations, far out of proportion to their numbers on the University of Washington campus.
In May I was reminded of this phenomenon. I was in Stockholm to lecture to a conference of Nordic journalists and I was asked to make a presentation to the reporters and editors at Dagen Nyheter, Sweden’s most prestigious daily newspaper. To have comparable impact in the United States, it would take, say, rolling the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and Associated Press all into one. I was introduced by the paper’s top editor, Hans Bergström, who is known to be a proponent of the market and is no friend of the left. He mentioned some of my writings and academic positions in his introduction, and then concluded when he announced my highest accomplishment: being co-editor of Monthly Review, “arguably the most important socialist publication in the world.” MR has a rich legacy to draw upon as we go into the future.
There was an error in Table 1 in the Review of the Month for the June issue. In line 4 on Investment Income, a minus sign is missing before 54,294. All other figures plus the total of -89,678 are correct. A corrected version of the table is to be found on the MR web site.
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