Saturday December 20th, 2014, 10:49 am (EST)

2005

2005 issues

William Hinton on the Cultural Revolution

Ever since the major reversals of socialism in the twentieth century, first in the Soviet Union and then in China, leftists internationally have been faced with a serious question: After the initial victory of the people’s revolutionary forces, what can be done to keep on the “socialist road”? What measures can be taken to restrict the class differences inherited from the old society, fend off imperialist hostility and intervention, and prevent a new capitalist class from developing within socialist society itself? … | more |

Bound for Glory—Indeed!

Ed Cray, Ramblin’ Man: The Life and Times of Woody Guthrie (New York: W. W. Norton, 2004), 488 pages, cloth $29.95.

Ed Cray’s new biography of Woody Guthrie marks another step in a growing interest in the left-wing Okie troubadour. In 1997, historian Charles J. Shindo published Dust Bowl Migrants in the American Imagination, which includes analysis of Woody Guthrie’s work along with that of John Ford and John Steinbeck. Joe Klein’s enthusiastic biography of Guthrie, first published in 1980, was reissued in 1999, the year after Ed Cray began the new biography. Elizabeth Partridge’s book for young readers, This Land Was Made for You and Me: The Life and Songs of Woody Guthrie was published in 2002… | more |

Committed Chronicler: Eleanor Marx’s Biographer

Yvonne Kapp, Time Will Tell: Memoirs (New York: Verso, 2003), 296 pages, cloth $25.00.

Yvonne Kapp is best known for her biography of Eleanor Marx (1855–1898). Published in two volumes in 1972 and 1976, it rescued the youngest daughter of Karl Marx from the obscure corner she occupied in biographies of her famous father and restored her to a position of prominence among the major players in the development of late nineteenth-century British socialism. In bringing her subject to life, Kapp manages at the same time to provide a panoramic view of the rise of the progressive movement, in all its variety and complexity. Upon its release, Eric Hobsbawm praised the work as “one of the few unquestionable masterpieces of twentieth century biography.” Verso has now reissued the books in one volume and has published this memoir of its author for the first time… | more |

February 2005 (Volume 56, Number 9)

February 2005 (Volume 56, Number 9)

The battle over the future of Social Security, the site of continual skirmishes since the Reagan era, is now being waged in earnest (for a history of this struggle see The Editors, “Social Security, the Stock Market, and the Elections,” Monthly Review, October 2000; see also, “Social Seceurity: The Phony Crisis” by Jacob Morris). President Bush began his second term by declaring that partial privatization of Social Security through the creation of personal investment accounts was at the top of the domestic agenda of his administration. This would require an estimated $2 trillion in additional borrowing over the next ten years, and even more after that (New York Times, January 3, 2005), to be coupled with drastic cuts in future Social Security benefits. The White House is counting on the Republican majority in both houses of Congress, the backing of Wall Street, and years of unrelenting ideological warfare against Social Security as the bases on which to effect this change… | more |

India, a Great Power?

With a population of over a billion, approaching that of China, and an economic growth rate above the world average, India is now frequently identified as one of the prospective great powers of the twenty-first century. The purpose of this article is to question this prognosis, as the conditions necessary for India to become a great modern power seem to me far from assured.… | more |

The Achievement of Malcolm X

The life of Malcolm X, who was murdered forty years ago this month, spanned a trajectory from oppression and victimization to inchoate rebellion and revolutionary autonomy. His was a voyage from resistance to an informed radicalism. It was a journey from which he ultimately gathered political and historical insight which, combined with his tools of persuasion and skills at leadership, made him at the time of his death arguably the most dangerous figure in this country’s history to confront its ruling class. For us, forty years later, Malcolm’s life is also informative: both about the destructive encounters that Africans, Asians, Latins, and indigenous peoples have had with this country, its culture and its history, and how deeply domestic resistance to that oppression is embedded in the global anti-imperialist struggle… | more |

Interview with Malcolm X

The Muslims, as the Nation of Islam is called, stress the futility of the integrationist program. They argue that there is no precedent for the absorption of Negroes into the greater white American mainstream in fact or in history, that integrationists are asking for something the American socioeconomic system is inherently unable to give them—mass class mobility, so that at best Negroes can expect from the integrationist program a hopeless entry into the lowest levels of a working class already disenfranchised by automation… | more |

The Murder of Malcolm X

By publishing this article, we do not mean to imply endorsement of the view that Malcolm X’s actual murderers, the men who wielded the fatal weapons, were politically motivated. On the basis of what little evidence is available, it would seem as reasonable to assume that he was the victim of a vendetta in which the murderers were mere tools. But in a deeper sense, the only sense that has historical meaning, we have no doubt that Malcolm’s assassination was a profoundly political event. It was because of his ideas and his politics that he represented a threat to the privileges and vested interests of powerful groups, both white and black. Whatever the immediate pretext, it was certainly this threat in the background which caused his enemies to wish to be rid of him… | more |

A Cup of Tea, Summer of ‘72

My sister was the only one who had sensed something about the issue. I had just stepped into the room from the terrace one day when she jumped in front of me and said, “What the heck is going on with you? Every time the bell rings you grab your briefcase and step out on the terrace.” She was loud and her tone was angry. I don’t remember her exact words. She may have added, “Do you think that you can just grab your briefcase and jump over the wall if they suddenly show up?”… | more |

Inspiration from Behind the Walls

David Gilbert, No Surrender: Writings from an Anti-Imperialist Political Prisoner (Montreal: Abraham Guillen Press, 2004), 283 pages, paper $15.00.

David Gilbert is serving a seventy-five year to life prison sentence for his participation in the 1981 holdup of a Brinks armored truck in which three persons were killed, two police officers and a security guard. The attempted robbery was an effort to raise money for the Black Liberation Army (BLA), an underground offshoot of the Black Panther Party. By the time of the Brinks events, David had been a committed revolutionary for nearly twenty years. In 1965 he founded the Committee Against the War in Vietnam while a student at Columbia University; he was a founding member of the Columbia chapter of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in 1967; he was a leader of the famous student strike at Columbia in 1968; and he was an early member of the Weathermen faction of SDS in 1969, whose members soon went underground to wage war against U.S. imperialism and racism, renaming themselves the Weather Underground. They hoped to support all those around the world actually fighting against U.S. imperialism and even to ignite a popular uprising in the United States through a series of spectacular bombings of government facilities (including the Pentagon) and corporate offices and banks, as well as by written propaganda and analysis… | more |

A Man for All Seasons

Carl Marzani, The Education of a Reluctant Radical, Book 5, Reconstruction (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2001), 285 pages, cloth $24.95, paper $16.95.

In recent years four remarkable and quite disparate stalwarts of the left have died, but not without each leaving his own quintessential and characteristic hallmark. Although each was profoundly different from the others, they had much in common for, as I will argue, their core was identical… | more |

January 2005 (Volume 56, Number 8)

January 2005 (Volume 56, Number 8)

An essential aspect of any modern democratic society is a communications system that enables rather than disables public debate. Yet the mass media in the advanced capitalist societies are highly concentrated, controlled by a few owners (on the extent of this control in the United States and its implications see Robert W. McChesney, The Problem of the Media [Monthly Review Press, 2004]). Further, the United States has witnessed the emergence of what is undoubtedly the most sophisticated propaganda system ever developed, making it possible for control of the media to translate into the power to sway large parts of the society. An understanding of this problem is crucial if one is to grasp the changes occurring in U.S. society today: from war to privatization to the suppression of human rights… | more |

The Failure of Empire

The United States is facing the prospect of a major defeat in Iraq that is likely to constitute a serious setback in the ongoing campaign to expand the American empire. Behind the pervasive war propaganda as evidenced in the “victorious” attack on Fallujah lies the reality of a U.S. war machine that is fighting a futile battle against growing guerrilla forces, with little chance for a stable political solution to the conflict that could possibly meet U.S. imperial objectives. Nevertheless, the U.S. ruling class, though not unaware of the dangers, is currently convinced that it has no choice but to “stay the course”-a slogan adopted by both political parties and accepted by virtually the entire economic, political, military, and communications establishment. The reason for this seemingly irrational determination to stick it out at all costs can only be understood through an analysis of the logic and limits of capitalist empire… | more |

Possibility and Hope: Getting from Here to There

Pete Seeger is one of the world’s quintessential activists, having played such an important role in singing the songs and engaging in the struggles of civil rights, free speech, human rights, anti-Vietnam War, environmental, peace, anti-nuclear, and social justice movements. (David Kupfer, “Longtime Passing,” Whole Earth Magazine, 104, 2001, p. 19.) … | more |

What is Social Medicine?

The past two decades have seen a rapid expansion of the corporate agenda in the field of health and health care. Rather than moving toward a system of universal access to medical care in the United States, the access to and quality of clinical services is being turned over increasingly to the insurance industry. Patients are now “clients” and clinical services are “product lines.” More clinical research is now funded by the pharmaceutical industry than the National Institutes of Health; pharmaceutical dollars pay the salaries of top academics and set the national research agenda. Clinicians and patients alike are wooed by sophisticated advertising campaigns (often disguised as education) that promote expensive drugs of dubious efficacy. The insertion of “market rationality” into health care has not brought the hoped for curbing of health care costs. The United States, despite spending more per capita on medical care than any other country in the world, continues to perform poorly on many health indicators, with a life expectancy at birth that ranks twenty-seventh in the world… | more |

Prevention and Solidarity: Democratizing Health in Venezuela

Halfway up the hill, in a semi-finished, rustic house, a sheet divides the consulting room from the treatment room. Rarely is there a need to identify oneself upon arrival. “How are you Mr. Antonio, has your pressure decreased?” says the fifty-three-year-old Venezuelan nurse Carlota Núñez. Antonio goes in and, little by little, the inhabitants of the neighborhood Las Terrazas de Oropeza Castillo, municipality Sucre, Caracas move through the waiting room… | more |

On Revolutionary Medicine

This simple celebration, another among the hundreds of public functions with which the Cuban people daily celebrate their liberty, the progress of all their revolutionary laws, and their advances along the road to complete independence, is of special interest to me… | more |

Martinique

Mountains of smoking ruins, heaps of mangled corpses, a steaming, smoking sea of fire wherever you turn, mud and ashes—that is all that remains of the flourishing little city which perched on the rocky slope of the volcano like a fluttering swallow. For some time the angry giant had been heard to rumble and rage against this human presumption, the blind self-conceit of the two-legged dwarfs. Great-hearted even in his wrath, a true giant, he warned the reckless creatures that crawled at his feet. He smoked, spewed out fiery clouds, in his bosom there was seething and boiling and explosions like rifle volleys and cannon thunder. But the lords of the earth, those who ordain human destiny, remained with faith unshaken—in their own wisdom… | more |

Perpetual War for a Lasting Peace

Thomas P. M. Barnett, The Pentagon’s New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2004), 320 pages, hardcover $26.95.

The geopolitics of war are theorized in a Pentagon-centered system of war colleges, defense universities, academic departments, institutes of strategic and international studies, and quasi-private think tanks. Together these make up a powerful, rightist military-ideological complex. For the most part, waging war is discussed behind closed doors by people sharing similar attitudes, beliefs, and values—of patriotism for their beloved country, and antagonism toward its circle of enemies, real and supposed… | more |

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