This 51st annual Socialist Register completes the investigation of class formation and class strategies on a global scale begun with last year’s volume. Deploying an understanding of class as an historical social process—rather than an abstract sociological category or statistical artifact—the essays here investigate the concrete ways that working classes are being made and remade in the struggles against neoliberalism, austerity, and authoritarian governments. Taking stock of the changing balance of class forces as well as old and new forms of workplace, household and political organization, they uncover the class strategies being debated and adapted in different zones of the world.
Gerald Horne discusses his two books, The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America (published by New York University Press) and Race to Revolution: The U.S. and Cuba during Slavery and Jim Crow (published by Monthly Review Press), at Eso Won Books in Los Angeles, California.
According to Senator Bernie Sanders, “Robert McChesney reveals once again why he is one of the thinkers who really matter to American society. Whether he is analyzing military spending or the explosive growth of prisons, whether he is critiquing the destructive power of the wealthy on American democracy through massive political donations or the perils the monopolistic control of the media present for the future of our nation, McChesney shines a bright light on what the wealthy and powerful want to remain hidden. While I many not agree with every one of his conclusions, few have shown as powerfully how American democracy is at risk in the 21st century.”
The United States unique today among major states in the degree of its reliance on military spending and its determination to stand astride the world, militarily as well as economically. No other country in the post–Second World War world has been so globally destructive or inflicted so many war fatalities. Since 2001, acknowledged U.S. national defense spending has increased by almost 60 percent in real dollar terms to a level in 2007 of $553 billion. This is higher than at any point since the Second World War (though lower than previous decades as a percentage of GDP). Based on such official figures, the United States is reported by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) as accounting for 45 percent of world military expenditures. Yet, so gargantuan and labyrinthine are U.S. military expenditures that their true magnitude reached $1 trillion in 2007.
Marsh shares his affection for Walt Whitman in this gentle, thoughtful consideration of the poet’s relevance to 21st-century America. Beset by moral malaise in his 30s, the author “suffered from fully-grown doubts, not just growing doubts, about the meaning of life and the purpose of our country.” Whitman’s insights on death, money, sex and democracy buoyed his spirits …. Marsh confesses his love for the legendary poet, and by the end of this insightful homage, readers are likely to feel the same.
Ursula Huws ties together disparate economic, cultural, and political phenomena of the last few decades to form a provocative narrative about the shape of the global capitalist economy at present. She examines the way that advanced information and communications technology has opened up new fields of capital accumulation: in culture and the arts, in the privatization of public services, and in the commodification of human sociality by way of mobile devices and social networking. These trends are in turn accompanied by the dramatic restructuring of work arrangements, opening the way for new contradictions and new forms of labor solidarity and struggle around the planet.
José Carlos Mariátegui, a creative Marxist thinker and activist from Peru, who was born in 1894 and died in 1930, was once not widely known in the English-speaking world. Over the last few decades, however, more and more people have learned about his life and works, and in 2011, MR Press was proud to publish a comprehensive anthology of his writings, edited and translated by the scholars Harry E. Vanden and Marc Becker. Now, we’re pleased to present José Carlos Mariátegui: An Anthology as our November book of the month. Receive 35% off when you use the coupon code BOM1114 at checkout.
Join Gerald Horne, author of Race to Revolution: The U.S. and Cuba during Slavery and Jim Crow, at these upcoming events in Los Angeles, California! Friday, 7 November, 7 PM, a book signing at Eso Won Bookstore, and on Saturday, 8 November, Noon to 3PM, a “Black Brown Unity Event” at the Holman United Methodist Church.
Want political economy that soberly unpacks power and wealth? Read two recent books by Samir Amin who defines the system’s current stage as “generalized-monopoly capitalism.” His study of it reveals what standard economics conceals and distorts. The two books under review study the economy within the parameters of social change. Amin takes a Marxist, historic view of the system’s “grow or die” imperatives in developed and emerging nations.
Foster (Univ. of Oregon) is editor of Monthly Review and one of the leading experts in Marxian political economy. In this new edition, Foster explains that the increasing tendency of monopolistic companies to control a large share of the financial industry since the 1980s has created a “financialization-stagnation trap” that is negatively affecting economies of all countries around the world.