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Monthly Review Press

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Blowing the Roof Off the Twenty-First Century reviewed in the Progressive Populist

Blowing the Roof Off the Twenty-First Century reviewed in the Progressive Populist

The Web makes the press better, right? Not quite, writes Robert W. McChesney in Blowing the Roof Off the Twenty-First Century: Media, Politics, and the Struggle for Post-Capitalist Democracy (Monthly Review Press, 2014). A media scholar, he unpacks the demise of commercial journalism and its potential rise as a public good in the online era. Meanwhile, ad revenue plummets, as digital journalism appears, falsely, as a savior for print journalism. McChesney dissects the strengths and weaknesses of so-called new media.… | more |

NEW! In Walt We Trust: How a Queer Socialist Poet Can Save America from Itself by John Marsh

NEW! In Walt We Trust: How a Queer Socialist Poet Can Save America from Itself by John Marsh

Marsh identifies four sources for our contemporary malaise (death, money, sex, democracy) and then looks to a particular Whitman poem for relief from it. He makes plain what, exactly, Whitman wrote and what he believed by showing how they emerged from Whitman’s life and times, and by recreating the places and incidents (crossing Brooklyn ferry, visiting wounded soldiers in hospitals) that inspired Whitman to write the poems. Whitman, Marsh argues, can show us how to die, how to accept and even celebrate our (relatively speaking) imminent death. Just as important, though, he can show us how to live: how to have better sex, what to do about money, and, best of all, how to survive our fetid democracy without coming away stinking ourselves. The result is a mix of biography, literary criticism, manifesto, and a kind of self-help you’re unlikely to encounter anywhere else.… | more |

Read an excerpt from In Walt We Trust: How a Queer Socialist Poet Can Save America from Itself on UTNE Reader Online

Read an excerpt from In Walt We Trust: How a Queer Socialist Poet Can Save America from Itself on UTNE Reader Online

Walt Whitman was born in 1819 in West Hills, New York, on Long Island, and moved with his family to Brooklyn when he was not quite four years old. Like many children from working-class families (his father was, at various times, a farmer, carpenter, and house builder), Whitman left school before he turned twelve. He worked as an office boy, and at age thirteen he was apprenticed to a printer. In his late teens and early twenties, he taught school in various Long Island small towns. There he made his first tentative steps into journalism and Democratic Party politics.… | more |

Magnus Hirschfeld reviewed in New Politics

Magnus Hirschfeld reviewed in New Politics

In the mostly forgotten history of early twentieth-century movements for sexual freedom, Magnus Hirschfeld’s name is one of the most familiar—and one of the most contested. As a Jewish scientist who championed sexual deviants, he made a perfect target for the Nazis, who were tragically successful in extirpating much of his life’s work. In Western Europe today, where gay rights is virtually a civic religion, he risks becoming one of its plaster saints; the Federal Republic of Germany established an official, publicly funded Magnus Hirschfeld Foundation in 2011. … | more |

"A fascinating history of an important historic neighborhood and a provocative analysis of the ways in which interest groups vie for control of urban geography."
—Tyler Anbinder, author, Five Points

Hell’s Kitchen and the Battle for Urban Space reviewed in American Journal of Sociology

In its detailed analysis of the production of everyday life in the Middle West Side and its overall combination of spatial theory and historical research, Hell’s Kitchen and the Battle for Urban Space is a solid contribution to urban studies and a welcome addition to the sociological literature on New York City.… | more |

"Path-breaking ... Their story is our story, and thanks to Horne, we can now study its flow in a single, and profound, narrative."
—Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Race to Revolution reviewed in the Progressive Populist

Race to Revolution: The United States and Cuba During Slavery and Jim Crow by Gerald Horne (Monthly Review Press, June 2014) enters a crucial, if little known, period of chattel bondage and its aftermath for islanders and mainlanders. What people of African descent do and say to be free is his special focus. Horne leaves mainstream history in the starting blocks. His book is a guided tour of people freeing themselves on both sides of the Florida Straits. He fleshes out that history. It should inform the current phase of relations between Uncle Sam and Cuba. The book’s context flows from the centrality of the slave trade and traders to what Immanuel Wallerstein calls the “world-system.” In Spanish Florida and Cuba, antebellum and post-bellum America, skin color signifies class status, creating and challenging the dominant political economy.… | more |

"A work of exemplary scholarship, written with penetrating insights and steadfast commitment."
—István Mészáros

NEW! Reconstructing Lenin: An Intellectual Biography by Tamás Krausz

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin is among the most enigmatic and influential figures of the twentieth century. While his life and work are crucial to any understanding of modern history and the socialist movement, generations of writers on the left and the right have seen fit to embalm him endlessly with superficial analysis or dreary dogma. Now, after the fall of the Soviet Union and “actually-existing” socialism, it is possible to consider Lenin afresh, with sober senses trained on his historical context and how it shaped his theoretical and political contributions. Reconstructing Lenin, four decades in the making and now available in English for the first time, is an attempt to do just that.… | more |

Silvertown reviewed by Counterfire

Silvertown reviewed by Counterfire

Tully’s account is very readable. He is able to connect the features of the strike to the wider historical period and uses quotations from great thinkers such as Marx to explain the barbarity of the system and the actions of its participants. He rescues from obscurity the working-class fighters who made their mark, such as the strike leader Fred Ling whose energy and willingness to learn inspired Eleanor Marx; and the landlady of the Railway Tavern, Mrs Cundy, who let the pub be used as a strike HQ. Tully does an excellent job of introducing the reader unfamiliar with the history of the East End to the workers’ leaders: Tom Mann, Will Thorne, and especially to Eleanor Marx.… | more |

"Thompson's writings are indispensable weapons for a new generation of activists struggling to reinvent radicalism."
—Sheila Rowbotham

E. P. Thompson and the Making of the New Left reviewed by Mike Davis in Chartist

Cal Winslow’s thoughtful introduction to a selection of brilliant essays by Thompson summarises his quest for a new humanist socialist politics. This saw Thompson at the heart of working class self education (himself teaching in adult education) and facilitating ‘new left clubs’, with forensic historical research into the lives of working people producing The Making of the English Working Class (TMTEWC), the biography of William Morris & ‘Homage to Tom Maguire’ amongst others. … | more |

Robert McChesney interviewed on Tell Somebody, KKFI-FM Kansas City

Robert McChesney interviewed on Tell Somebody, KKFI-FM Kansas City

Robert McChesney, Gutgsell Endowed Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois, has a new book out, Blowing the Roof Off the Twenty-first Century: Media, Politics, and the Struggle for Post-Capitalist Democracy. McChesney talks about the book on the January 29, 2015 edition of Tell Somebody.… | more |

Yanis Varoufakis, MR author, named SYRIZA Finance Minister in Greece

Yanis Varoufakis, MR author, named SYRIZA Finance Minister in Greece

On January 25, 2015, the left-wing party, SYRIZA, won a stunning victory in Greece’s national elections. The new government, which says it intends to end the debilitating austerity measures forced upon Greece by the European Union, announced that the new Finance Minister is Yanis Varoufakis, a noted economist and good friend of Monthly Review (and MR author). We wish him well and trust that, unlike most economists, he will put his superb skills to work on behalf of the long-suffering Greek people and, indeed, all those oppressed by the policies imposed by the ruling classes of the European Union and United States.… | more |

NEW! The Necessity of Social Control by István Mészáros; foreword by John Bellamy Foster

NEW! The Necessity of Social Control by István Mészáros; foreword by John Bellamy Foster

As John Bellamy Foster writes in his foreword to the present book, “István Mészáros is one of the greatest philosophers that the historical materialist tradition has yet produced. His work stands practically alone today in the depth of its analysis of Marx’s theory of alienation, the structural crisis of capital, the demise of Soviet-style post-revolutionary societies, and the necessary conditions of the transition to socialism. His dialectical inquiry into social structure and forms of consciousness—a systematic critique of the prevailing forms of thought—is unequaled in our time.”… | more |

February: John Tully discusses Silvertown in Australia

February: John Tully discusses Silvertown in Australia

Join John Tully, author of Silvertown: The Lost Story of a Strike that Shook London and Helped Launch the Modern Labor Movement, for two upcoming book talks in Australia on February 10 in Melbourne and February 26 in Sydney. … | more |

Silvertown reviewed in The Spokesman

Silvertown reviewed in The Spokesman

This is a detailed book written by an academic who not only knows his subject and how to gather his research in a coherent way, but who also writes with an empathy and clear grasp of the desperations of these supposedly ordinary people who determined to take on a multinational British-based company at the centre of the British Empire and its establishment.… | more |

"An authoritative account of how the Polish transformation betrayed the Polish working class and its aspirations."
—Jan Toporowski, SOAS, University of London

From Solidarity to Sellout reviewed in Science & Society

Critical insider examinations in English of the actual process of restoring capitalism from the “really existing” East European socialist economies are too rare. We have hindsight on the consequences of that restoration in several specific areas as, for example, on the weakness of their trade unions, and theoretical work by Janos Kornai and others. But now we have a genuine “insider” analysis by the prominent Polish political economist Tadeuz Kowalik (1926–2012) of how in his country an old economic system was created from the ashes of the new.… | more |

NEW! A World to Build: New Paths toward Twenty-First Century Socialism by Marta Harnecker

NEW! A World to Build: New Paths toward Twenty-First Century Socialism by Marta Harnecker

Winner of the 2013 Liberator’s Prize for Critical Thought! Over the last few decades Marta Harnecker has emerged as one of Latin America’s most incisive socialist thinkers. In A World to Build, she grapples with the question that has bedeviled every movement for radical social change: how do you construct a new world within the framework of the old? Harnecker draws on lessons from socialist movements in Latin America, especially Venezuela, where she served as an advisor to the Chávez administration and was a director of the Centro Internacional Miranda. For Harnecker, twenty-first century socialism is a historical process as well as a theoretical project, one that requires imagination no less than courage. She is a lucid guide to the movements that are fighting, right now, to build a better world, and an important voice for those who wish to follow that path.… | more |

"This book shows what it takes to defend democracy, workers rights, and social justice unionism."
—Dolores Huerta

Jan 23: Steve Early on Social Movement Unionism at UC Santa Cruz

Join Steve Early, author of Save Our Unions: Dispatches from A Movement in Distress for a panel discussion on Social Movement Unionism, with Mike Rotkin and Amanda Reyes. Friday Jan. 23, 1pm to 3pm, in the Redwood Lounge (across from the Baytree Bookstore), Quarry Plaza, 2nd Fl., University of California, Santa Cruz.… | more |

Robert McChesney interviewed in Truthout: "We Need to Advocate Radical Solutions to Systemic Problems"

Robert McChesney interviewed in Truthout: “We Need to Advocate Radical Solutions to Systemic Problems”

Mark Karlin: “In a Truthout Progressive Pick of the Week interview in 2013 about your book, Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism Is Turning the Internet Against Democracy, you reflected profound pessimism about the capture of the internet by large corporations – and the evolution of net consumers into marketing ‘products.’ Is the trend of the co-option of the web by a few large corporations accelerating?” Robert McChesney: “Whether the process is accelerating is a difficult question to measure or to answer. That the process exists and that it is the dominant fact about the internet is not controversial.” … | more |

"Well researched, well-argued ... a tremendous accomplishment."
—Edward Nell

Global Imperialism and the Great Crisis reviewed in Choice

In this volume, Screpanti (Univ. of Siena, Italy) offers a Marxist-inspired interpretation of the causes and consequences of the financial crisis that began in 2007. The author argues that the principal actors in the global economy are multinational firms and that, despite appearances to the contrary, national governments and international organizations largely serve their interests, while the citizens of the world are left to suffer the consequences.… | more |

"This book shows what it takes to defend democracy, workers rights, and social justice unionism."
—Dolores Huerta

Save Our Unions reviewed in Against the Current

The debate over how to save the labor movement suffers from a serious deficit of books written by organizers. Rarely do we get an entire book by someone who has been organizing for four decades, and is still actively engaged with union members, staff and leaders. Steve Early’s Save Our Unions doesn’t suffer from the luxury of being a memoir, but it is chock full of rich first-hand experience, as well as research, interviews, book reviews and labor history, followed by 26 pages of meticulous endnotes.… | more |

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