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October 2002 (Volume 54, Number 5)

» Notes from the Editors
October 2002 (Volume 54, Number 5)
In late August and early September a number of MR and Socialist Register authors (including Patrick Bond, John Bellamy Foster, Gerard Greenfield, Naomi Klein, and John Saul) participated in forums in Johannesburg related to the World Summit on Sustainable Development. On August 24, they joined in a march led by antiprivatization activists from the black townships (in particular by Trevor Ngwane and Virginia Setshedi—whose role in the struggle in South Africa is discussed in Ashwin Desai’s new MR Press book, We Are the Poors). The march was organized to protest the arrest and jailing of political activists. The marchers lit candles and proceeded peacefully but were met within minutes by the South African police who exploded percussion grenades, injuring three of the protestors. The harsh and unprovoked actions of the police on this occasion pointed to the increasingly antipopular character of the South African state, which is imposing neoliberal economic policy on the society. It also underscored the repressive measures now commonly utilized at world summits in general. We will address the Johannesburg summit and the economic and environmental problems of southern Africa in an upcoming issue of MR.

It is an inherent feature of the academic world in capitalist society that the intellectual contributions of socialist and radical scholars are rarely accorded the honors they so often richly deserve. Those exceptional cases in which such honors are proffered are therefore especially noteworthy. This August the Environment and Technology Section of the American Sociological Association awarded its 2002 Distinguished Contribution Award—given to an individual “deemed extraordinarily meritorious by the Section”—to MR Co-editor John Bellamy Foster. The following excerpts are from remarks delivered during the presentation by the Secretary-Treasurer of the Environment and Technology Section, Ken Gould:

Over the last ten years, John Bellamy Foster has made remarkable strides in expanding the field of enquiry within environmental sociology. His work as co-editor in building Organization & Environment into a cutting-edge social science journal concerned with the environment is particularly noteworthy….His book The Vulnerable Planet, translated into a number of languages, and used as a college course book around the world, set the stage for a re-envisioning of environmental history through the lens of Marxist sociology in a manner both accessible and analytically solid. The Vulnerable Planet offers a superb introduction to the problems addressed by environmental sociology. [H]is second book Marx’s Ecology, is a power-packed tour de force of western materialism, its philosophical development and, most critically, its maturation into an ecologically grounded theory of human society in the work of Karl Marx. This book will make a lasting impact on debates not just in environmental studies, however broad that may be, but also among scholars engaged in critical theory and Marxism across the social sciences and humanities….John’s sheer volume of publications addressing issues concerning the environment over the last few years is, well, quite extraordinary. Yet his publication record is not simply a matter of quantity. The quality, the care of historical research, and the timely contribution of “Marx’s Theory of Metabolic Rift” in AJS [American Journal of Sociology, September 1999] is particularly exceptional.

Elizabeth “Betita” Martinez writes that in her article “A View from New Mexico: Recollections of the Movimento Left,” July-August 2002, pp. 79-86, she mistakenly wrote (on p. 79) “In 1680, some of the Indians joined with Mexican workers in Santa Fe and drove out the Spanish for twelve years.” That sentence should have read, “In 1680, some of the Mexican workers in Santa Fe joined the Pueblo Indians and drove out the Spanish for twelve years.”

For similar reasons of fairness and accuracy, she would like MR readers to note the following change made at her request to the web version of her article. On page 84, near the bottom of the page, the original text has been changed to read:

In 1976, there was a major split when ATM members in New Mexico with ultra-left politics broke off from others in the organization. They also denounced the bilingual book published that year by the CCC and popular with other ATM members, 450 Years of Chicano History (reprinted later as 500 Years of Chicano History). After taking over the CCC, this group had the entire second printing shredded. This act was not approved by other members who knew ATM as a sincere organization with many grassroots organizers of working class background, from leadership on down.

[Beginning of next paragraph] Soon after the ATM takeover, the CCC dissolved [the rest as before].

On October 8 at 6pm, Monthly Review Press will co-host a book party for Andy Merrifield’s Dialectical Urbanism: Social Struggles and the Capitalist City, described by Marshall Berman as offering “a fresh vision of the totality of modern life.” The occasion will also launch Andy’s other new book, Metromarxism, published by Routledge. The event takes place at CUNY Grad Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, 6th Floor, New York. All are welcome; for more information call (212) 817-1876 or e-mail: mlamb [at] gc.cuny.edu.

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