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Marxism & Socialism

Marxism and Socialism

Internal Debate within the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)

This past winter we heard reports of a heated dispute within the leadership of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), the guiding party of the revolutionary struggle in Nepal. The old regime in Nepal, a brutal military dictatorship under King Gyanendra Shah, on February 1st, 2005, carried out a coup against the remnants of legality within that part of the country it still controlled—the central valley of Nepal (containing the capital Kathmandu), and the area immediately surrounding the army’s fortified bases elsewhere, primarily in district towns. The rest of the country has been liberated, and is self-governing under revolutionary leadership, with the CPN(M) playing the leading role. But Nepal’s limited communication links with the rest of the world are concentrated in Kathmandu, and the royal military government was able to sever all links not under its control at the time of the February 1st coup. Under these circumstances it was not possible to determine the trustworthiness of the various reports of the dispute with the CPN(M) leadership … | more |

July-August 2005, Volume 57, Number 3

July-August 2005, Volume 57, Number 3

» Notes from the Editors

Even regular readers of Monthly Review may be unaware that the magazine appears in Spanish, Greek, and Indian editions. Moreover, a Turkish edition is currently in the works. Analytical Monthly Review (“AMR”), published from Kharagpur in West Bengal, reproduces monthly all (or nearly all) the contents of MR in English, together with editorial comment on matters of current interest in India. It is in its tenth year of publication. Supported by longtime friends of Monthly Review from all over India, it is available at a small fraction of the cost of the edition printed in the United States. From the early ’70s to the late ’80s editions of Monthly Review appeared in Spanish, Italian, and Greek (the Greek edition was founded by Andreas Papandreou before he became prime minister of Greece). A small but cheering sign of ebbing global counter-revolution is the reappearance in the last two years of Spanish and Greek editions. The Spanish edition of MRMonthly Review: Selecciones en castellano—published in Barcelona, appears twice a year with translations of selected articles. The Greek language Monthly Review translates several MR articles each month and also presents a range of political commentary of particular interest in Greece. In addition, they have released two books in their book-publishing arm, Monthly Review Imprint, one consisting mainly of Papandreou’s writings in MR and another on Is Iraq Another Vietnam?—also drawing on the magazine. The very first Turkish language edition of Monthly Review is scheduled to appear by the end of this year… | more |

The Renewing of Socialism: An Introduction

Articles in Monthly Review often end by invoking the socialist alternative to capitalism. Readers in recent years have frequently asked us what this means. Didn’t socialism die in the twentieth century? Wasn’t it defeated by capitalism? More practically: if socialism is still being advocated what kind of socialism is it? Are we being utopian in the sense of advancing a pleasant but impossible dream?… | more |

Approaching Socialism

Among the arguments against socialism is that it goes against human nature. “You can’t change human nature” is the frequently heard refrain. That may be true of basic human instincts such as the urge to obtain food to eat, reproduce, seek shelter, make and wear protective clothing. However, what has usually been referred to as “human nature” has changed a great deal during the long history of humankind. As social systems changed, many habits and behavioral traits also changed as people adapted to new social structures. Anatomically modern humans emerged some 150,000 to 200,000 years ago. Over the tens of thousands of years since, many different kinds of social organizations and societies have developed. Initially, most were based on hunting and gathering, while for about the last 7,000 years many have been based on agriculture. These societies were organized as clans, villages, tribes, city-states, nations, and/or empires… | more |

The Knowledge of a Better World

There is an old saying that if you don’t know where you want to go, then any road will take you there. I think that recent years, years of neoliberalism, imperialist outrages, and the virtual destruction of almost every effort to create an alternative, have disproved this saying. Our experience tells us that if you don’t know where you want to go, then no road will take you there… | more |

What is Socialist Feminism?

At some level, perhaps not too well articulated, socialist feminism has been around for a long time. You are a woman in a capitalist society. You get pissed off: about the job, the bills, your husband (or ex), about the kids’ school, the housework, being pretty, not being pretty, being looked at, not being look at (and either way, not listened to), etc. If you think about all these things and how they fit together and what has to be changed, and then you look around for some words to hold all these thoughts together in abbreviated form, you’d almost have to come up with “socialist feminism.” … | more |

The Utopian Vision of the Future (Then and Now): A Marxist Critique

Oscar Wilde said that any map that doesn’t have utopia on it is not worth looking at. There are few quotes I’ve cited as often or with as much pleasure as this one. Yet, there is something in the sweeping nature of the claim that has always left me unsatisfied. In examining utopian thinking, I will also try to distinguish what is valid and useful in Wilde’s claim from what is not… | more |

What is the Soul of Socialism?

At midnight on January 1, 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement took effect. Years in the making, the treaty was designed to solidify the rule of capital over the lives of millions of people from Calgary to Guadalajara. It would smooth the way for capital investment across borders, while blunting labor and environmental laws and reducing the governments’ ability to tax and regulate businesses… | more |

The Soul of Socialism: Connecting with the People’s Values

“Theory becomes a material force,” wrote Karl Marx, “once it seizes the masses.” The obverse is also true: if theory does not “seize the masses,” it becomes impotent and irrelevant. Today, in the United States and many other countries, a socialist critique has been excluded from political and popular debate regarding critical economic and social problems. One reason for this is the domination of the mainstream media by corporations, but the existence of a capitalist propaganda mill does not absolve socialists for failing to translate their trenchant and sound observations about the existing social and political order into language that will resonate with the values of the readers or listeners who are the putative beneficiaries of any socialist transformation… | more |

June 2005, Volume 57, Number 2

June 2005, Volume 57, Number 2

» Notes from the Editors

Andre Gunder Frank, one of the leading radical social scientists of the late twentieth century and a long-time friend and contributor to Monthly Review and Monthly Review Press, died on April 23, 2005, at age seventy-six… | more |

André Gunder Frank (1929-2005)

Who is the most cited and discussed economist in the world? Don’t waste time looking among Nobel Prize winners and other stars of the mainstream media. André Gunder Frank is by far the most cited and most discussed, as shown by a number of studies on the subject and by the more than 30,000 entries he has on the Internet … | more |

A Note on the Death of André Gunder Frank (1929-2005)

I met André Gunder Frank and his wife Marta Fuentes in 1967. Our long conversation convinced us that we were intellectually on the same wavelength. “Modernization Theory,” then dominant, ascribed the “underdevelopment” of the Third World to the retarded and incomplete formation of its capitalist institutions. Marxist orthodoxy, as represented by the Communist Parties, presented its own version of this view and characterized Latin America as “semi-feudal.” Frank put forward a new and entirely different thesis: that from its very origins Latin America had been constructed within the framework of capitalist development as the periphery of the newly arising centers of Europe’s Atlantic seabord. For my part, I had undertaken to analyze the integration of Asia and Africa into the capitalist system in light of the requirements of “accumulation on a global scale,” a process that by its inner logic had to produce a polarization of wealth and power … | more |

Dr. Baburam Bhattarai on the Royal Dictatorship and the Need For a Democratic Republic in Nepal

We have over the last four years periodically brought to your attention documents from the leadership of the revolutionary struggle in Nepal, together with our comments attempting to summarize the context. The first such document and commentary was posted in June 2001, on the occasion of the massacre of King Birendra and his family in the Narayanhiti palace in Kathmandu. It was followed in January 2002 with a discussion of the resumption of civil war that followed once the new King Gyanendra had established his personal control over the army. The growing success of the revolutionary forces, soon to bring the royal government to the negotiating table with a new truce early in 2003, was marked by a February 2003 document on the role of women leadership in the struggle. The breakdown of the truce, caused by a massacre of unarmed political workers by the U.S. “advised” Royal Nepalese Army (“RNA”) on August 19, 2003, was analyzed in September 2003 … | more |

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 |

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 |

Farewell, Comrade Paul

If I belong anywhere today, it is with you. But to my great regret, I cannot be physically present. No doubt other speakers will deal with Paul as a major theoretician, a worldwide influential thinker and struggler for the sake of humanity. And there is much to say about Paul the human being. Not to monopolize the stage, I have selected two areas to dwell on: Paul as a friend and Paul as a coworker… | more |

The Commitment of an Intellectual: Paul M. Sweezy (1910–2004)

The following brief intellectual biography of Paul Sweezy was drafted in September 2003 shortly before I saw Paul for the last time. It conveys many of the basic facts of his life. But as with all biographies of leading intellectuals it fails to capture the brilliance of his work, which must be experienced directly through his own writings. Nor is the warmth of Paul’s character adequately conveyed here. A short personal note is therefore needed. What was so surprising about Paul was his seemingly endless generosity and humanity. Paul gave freely of himself to all of those seeking his political and intellectual guidance. But a few, such as myself, were particularly blessed in that they experienced this on a deeper, more intense level. For decades Paul was concerned that Monthly Review not perish as had so many socialist institutions and publications in the past. He recognized early on that the continuance of the magazine and the tradition that it represented required the deliberate cultivation of new generations of socialist intellectuals. I was fortunate to be singled out while still quite young as one of those. For decades Paul wrote me letter after letter—no letter that I wrote to him ever went unanswered—sharing his knowledge, intellectual brilliance, and personal warmth. It was an immense, indescribable gift… | more |

Paul M. Sweezy

Described by the Wall Street Journal as “the ‘dean’ of radical economics,” Paul Sweezy has more than any other single person kept Marxist economics alive in North America.* One work would be sufficient to have achieved this—The Theory of Capitalist Development (first published in 1942). During the period of the 1950s and 1960s, this was the book to which one turned to learn about Marxist economics… | more |

On the Role of Mao Zedong

In 1995 a foreign reporter interviewed me about Mao. She sought me out as someone who had met the man in person and openly admired him over the years. She asked, “What about all the people he killed? What about all those famine deaths? And what about all the suffering and destruction of people in the Cultural Revolution?” With these questions she lined herself up with the current media line on Mao, the line of conventional wisdom, which is to present him as a monster—Mao, the monster. The usually more enlightened BBC reached a new low that week with their Mao centenary program. It made him out to be not only a monster but also a monstrous lecher far gone into orgies with teenage girls. Such a low level of attack! It cheapened the BBC and should have backfired, but you never can tell these days… | more |

July-August 2004, Volume 56, Number 3

July-August 2004, Volume 56, Number 3

» Notes from the Editors
We regret to announce the death of William Hinton, one of the greatest fighters for Chinese socialism (and socialism in general) in the 20th century, and a beloved member of the MR family. This fall we will publish one of his last public lectures on the role of Mao Zedong. What follows is a tribute written by Monthly Review Foundation board director, John Mage, posted earlier on the MR Web site