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November 2009, Volume 61, Number 6

November 2009, Volume 61, Number 6
» Notes from the Editors

The Monthly Review sixtieth anniversary celebration at the New York Society for Ethical Culture on September 17, 2009, was a great success. A large crowd turned out to hear Grace Lee Boggs, John Bellamy Foster, Robert W. McChesney, Fred Magdoff, Michael Tigar, Toshi Reagon (providing music), and the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and to celebrate MR’s birthday. We would like to thank all those who participated in this extraordinary event. Dr. Wright captured the tone of the evening, declaring that: “Militarism, capitalism and racism, domestic oppression, foreign military aggression, victims of neo-colonialism, victims of community and national racism, and the Cold War days in its infancy to the needless war in Vietnam in its [MR’s] second decade, through wars of greed in Afghanistan and Iraq in [its] sixth decade” were all incisively covered by the magazine. He spoke of Monthly Review’s indefatigable insistence on the need to put “people before profits,” and its unflinching criticisms of inequality, injustice, and the realities of capitalism. (See Daa’iya L. Sanusi, Amsterdam News, September 24-30, 2009).

On September 14, 2009, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez presented István Mészáros with the Libertador Award for Critical Thought 2008, also known as the Bolívar Prize, for his book, The Challenge and Burden of Historical Time (published in English by Monthly Review Press). Chávez declared in the ceremony that Bolívar was “one of the greatest thinkers of all time” and that Mészáros was “considered a son of Bolívar’s homeland, the son of Venezuela.” Venezuelan Minister of Culture, Héctor Soto Castellano, announced that the United Socialist Party of Venezuela would distribute 30,000 free copies of Mészáros’s Beyond Capital (also published in English by Monthly Review Press) to its school of cadres, to communal councils, and to public institutions. Photos of the event are available.Those wishing to purchase copies of Mészáros’s books, including his forthcoming December title, The Structural Crisis of Capital, should go to MR Press.

On Labor Day, the Wall Street Journal carried an article on the “Five Best” books on labor. Number one was Harry Braverman’s Labor and Monopoly Capital (Monthly Review Press, 1998). As the Wall Street Journal explained:

In this masterpiece of economic reflection, Harry Braverman shows that the central thrust of so-called “scientific management” is to dumb down jobs to the point where they can be performed by unskilled workers, who don’t need to be paid as much. An early result of this approach was the assembly line. Today, the logic that Braverman exposed has crept into many quarters of the white-collar world. Members of a learned profession are reduced to clerks, their personal judgment replaced by a system in which their actions are predetermined from afar. Ask a bank loan officer whose career spans the past 10 years, or any doctor who works in managed care. Welcome to the proletariat, Doc!

We couldn’t have said it better! Those interested in obtaining a copy of Braverman’s book (the 1998 edition containing additional materials) can do so by going to the Monthly Review Press Web site linked above.

Correction: In John Bellamy Foster and Robert W. McChesney, “Monopoly-Finance Capital and the Paradox of Accumulation,” end note 43, referring to the assessment of the Chinese economy offered by Martin Hart-Landsberg and Paul Burkett, mistakenly read: “For a more sanguine view.” This should have been: “For a less sanguine view.”

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