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2001

Anarchism and the Anti-Globalization Movement

Many among today’s young radical activists, especially those at the center of the anti-globalization and anti-corporate movements, call themselves anarchists. But the intellectual/philosophical perspective that holds sway in these circles might be better described as an anarchist sensibility than as anarchism per se. Unlike the Marxist radicals of the sixties, who devoured the writings of Lenin and Mao, today’s anarchist activists are unlikely to pore over the works of Bakunin. For contemporary young radical activists, anarchism means a decentralized organizational structure, based on affinity groups that work together on an ad hoc basis, and decision-making by consensus. It also means egalitarianism; opposition to all hierarchies; suspicion of authority, especially that of the state; and commitment to living according to one’s values. Young radical activists, who regard themselves as anarchists, are likely to be hostile not only to corporations but to capitalism… | more…

Marxism and the Social Sciences

I should like to begin by saying something about the intellectual climate in which Marx’s thought was reared; since a doctrine generally appears more clearly delineated when it is contrasted with other contemporary doctrines or with ideas in critique of which the doctrine was born… | more…

Refusing to Cooperate

Morton Sobell, On Doing Time (San Francisco: Golden Gate National Parks Association, 2001), 416 pages and CD-ROM, $15.95 paper.

When the Rosenbergs received the death penalty for what J. Edgar Hoover called “the crime of the century,” Morton Sobell was sentenced to a term of thirty years. A second edition of On Doing Time, his memoir of one of the most controversial cases in U.S. legal history, is now published in paperback by the Golden Gate National Parks Association. Included with this new edition is an exciting CD-ROM containing selections from Sobell’s partially released FBI file, as well as a new preface and additional photographs. His lawyer, the late Marshall Perlin, fought over the course of more than twenty-five years to obtain the files under the Freedom of Information Act. They provide important supplementation to the book.… | more…

U.S. Militarism and Imperialism and the Japanese “Miracle”

Aaron Forsberg, America and the Japanese Miracle: The Cold War Context of Japan’s Postwar Economic Revival, 1950-1960(Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press, 2000), 332 pages, $45.

Historical research on postwar Japan and East Asia has produced a number of high quality studies that have contributed to the formation of a political and economic perspective not too distant from the Monthly Review conception of the transformation of modern capitalism. These works point out that the conditions for Japanese economic recovery were found not only in the willingness of Japan’s capitalist elites to reignite the process of industrial accumulation, but also in the propulsive role played by military spending and by actual wars.… | more…

July-August 2001 (Volume 53, Number 3)

Notes from the Editors

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… | more…

Prisons and Executions—the U.S. Model

A Historical Introduction

The prison is so prominent an institution in present-day society that it is difficult to remember that the prison as a place of punishment is only a little more than two hundred years old. It emerged first in the United States and soon after in Europe, and its early phase of development was that of 1789-1848, conforming to what historian Eric Hobsbawm has termed The Age of Revolution. It was thus a product of the dual revolution that formed the basis for modern capitalism: the industrial revolution centered in Britain and the political revolution that took place in the United States and France… | more…

Lawyers, Jails, and the Law’s Fake Bargains

Assume that Canada and the Western European countries have about the right number of people in jail. Assume that the social problem of crime is not terribly different in those countries than in the United States. Understand that our incarceration rate is five to eight times that of those other countries. If these assumptions, and this understanding, are even nearly valid, 80 percent of the people in American jails should not be there… | more…

Cruel but Not Unusual

The Punishment of Women in U.S. Prisons: An Interview with Marilyn Buck and Laura Whitehorn

After years of neglect, the issue of women in prison has begun to receive attention in this country. Media accounts of overcrowding, lengthening sentences, and horrendous medical care in women’s prisons appear regularly. Amnesty International—long known for ignoring human rights abuses inside United States prisons and jails—issued a report, two days shy of International Women’s Day 2001, documenting over 1,000 cases of sexual abuse of U.S. women prisoners by their jailers. However, we seldom hear from these women themselves. And we never hear from women incarcerated for their political actions… | more…

Disablement, Prison, and Historical Segregation

The story of disablement and the prison industrial complex must begin with a trail of telling numbers: a disproportionate number of persons incarcerated in U.S. prisons and jails are disabled. Though Census Bureau data suggest that disabled persons represent roughly one-fifth of the total population, prevalence of disability among prisoners is startlingly higher, for reasons we will examine later. While no reliable cross- disability demographics have been compiled nationwide, numerous studies now enable us to make educated estimates regarding the incidence of various disability categories among incarcerated persons. Hearing loss, for example, is estimated to occur in 30 percent of the prison population, while estimates of the prevalence of mental retardation among prisoners range from 3 to 9.5 percent… | more…

Teaching in Prison

If prisons were places people who have committed serious crimes were sent to pay a debt to society, and to be rehabilitated to return to society as healthy members of it, then at least the following things would be true. First, people who had not committed serious crimes would not be in prison at all. Drug users and persons with mental illnesses would receive treatment and would live in their communities, either at home or in safe and hospitable facilities run as public entities. Those who had committed minor criminal offences, such as shoplifting, would be given non-prison sentences involving counseling and community service. As much as possible, communities would be involved in both setting the penalties and organizing and participating in the treatment. Ironically, this was typically the case in American Indian communities, now so ravaged by the U.S. criminal injustice system… | more…

June 2001 (Volume 53, Number 2)

Notes from the Editors

In response to the massive popular protests against the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) in Quebec City on April 20-21, the mainstream media has adopted as one of its favorite lines that the protesters, while frequently well meaning, are ignorant of basic economics. What this means is that the protesters are refusing to bow down before the alleged virtues of unregulated free trade. In his column on the Op-Ed page of the New York Times (April 24, 2001), Thomas Friedman quoted Harvard economist Jeffrey Sachs as saying, “There is not a single example in modern history of a country successfully developing without trading and integrating with the global economy.” … | more…

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