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Reconstructing Lenin reviewed in Australian Book Review

Who cares any more about Lenin? Time was, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1870–1924) was revered, at least in some quarters, as the founding father of the Soviet Union, head of the first revolutionary state, pioneer in building socialism to end capitalist exploitation and create a better world. In the Soviet Union, Stalin overshadowed him for a few decades, while claiming loyal discipleship. But then, in the thaw following Stalin’s death in 1953, Lenin was reinvoked as a corrective to Stalin’s excesses, the man who had offered the true socialist model.… | more…

The Hidden Structure of Violence by Marc Pilisuk with Jen Rountree

NEW! The Hidden Structure of Violence: Who Benefits from Global Violence and War by Marc Pilisuk and Jennifer Rountree

Acts of violence assume many forms: they may travel by the arc of a guided missile or in the language of an economic policy decision that contaminates drinking water, and they may leave behind a smoldering village or a starved child. The all-pervasive occurrence of violence makes it seem like an unavoidable, and ultimately incomprehensible, aspect of the human world, particularly in a modern era. But, in this detailed and expansive book, Marc Pilisuk and Jennifer Rountree demonstrate otherwise. Widespread violence, they argue, is in fact an expression of the underlying social order, and whether it is carried out by military forces or by patterns of investment, the aim is to strengthen that order for the benefit of the powerful.… | more…

Labor in the Global Digital Economy by Ursula Huws

Labor in the Global Digital Economy reviewed by Counterfire

You are almost certainly reading this review on a computer screen, on a mobile device, tablet, laptop or PC. It’s probably one of many, many things you’ll read onscreen today. Some of your uses of new technology will be for leisure, recreation and education, and some will be work-related. The information, communication and technology industry (ICT) is all around us, almost like air or water.… | more…

Race to Revolution by Gerald Horne

Race to Revolution reviewed by Counterfire

Gerald Horne’s new volume casts light on a ‘special relationship’ which is often ignored or forgotten: that of the United States and pre-revolutionary Cuba. Horne, a Marxist historian whose work has covered a multiplicity of themes including race, empire, revolution and communism, has been committed to the study of narratives and topics excluded from the (particularly US) mainstream. He describes the manner in which academic historians have generally dealt with communist history, for instance, as ‘incredibly biased, one-sided, deeply influenced by the conservative drift of the nation’.… | more…

E.P. Thompson and the Making of the New Left reviewed by Counterfire

The ‘left’ has been reborn many times over the last two centuries. Every renewal has carried with it traditions from past phases, with greater or lesser degrees of continuity, while establishing new relations and alliances in response to the changing structures of capitalism. This can be seen in the transition between radical Jacobinism and early forms of socialism, or between the Chartist movement and later nineteenth-century trade-union and socialist movements, and in other moments in the history of working-class politics. E. P. Thompson was a figure who both recaptured these transitions in his historical writing, and participated in a major re-orientation of left politics after the Soviet Union’s suppression of the Hungarian revolution in 1956.… | more…

Rebolusyon: A Generation of Struggle in the Philippines

Back in Print! Rebolusyon: A Generation of Struggle in the Philippines by Benjamin Pimentel

In 1969, Ferdinand Marcos won a second term as president, in one of the dirtiest campaigns in Philippine history. That same year, Edgar Jopson was elected president of the National Union of Students of the Philippines, in a campaign to keep the Communists out of the student movement. Thirteen years later Jopson was gunned down by the military during a raid on an underground safe house. He was by then one of the most wanted people in the country, with a price on his head, a leading Communist Party cadre and member of the urban underground.… | more…

left forum 2015

Monthly Review at the Left Forum, May 29-31, NYC

Join Monthly Review authors and many others at the Left Forum 2015 in New York City. This year’s conference theme is “No Justice, No Peace: Confronting the Crises of Capitalism and Democracy.” A unique phenomenon in the U.S. and the world, Left Forum convenes the largest annual conference of a broad spectrum of left and progressive intellectuals, activists, academics, organizations and the interested public. Conference participants come together to engage a wide range of critical perspectives on the world, to discuss differences, commonalities, and alternatives to current predicaments, and to share ideas for understanding and transforming the world. … | more…

Blowing the Roof Off the Twenty-First Century reviewed by Counterfire

At the end of the 1980s, the mood among anti-Apartheid activists was gloomy. Many of them considered the situation in South Africa to be as bad as ever, and chances of abolishing the racist system seemed slim. Two years later, Nelson Mandela was a free man, and a couple of years after his release, he was the first president of post-Apartheid South Africa. Robert McChesney tells this episode at the beginning of his latest book to point out a lesson of which we need to remind ourselves every so often: social change is rarely accurately predicted.… | more…

Read an excerpt from Robert McChesney’s Blowing the Roof Off the Twenty-First Century in Social Policy magazine

The major premises of the media reform movement remain unchanged: communication systems develop largely as a result of policies, since there is no such thing as a natural “default” course of development. From the development of copyright and postal subsidies for newspapers at the dawn of the Republic to the licensing of telephone, broadcasting, and cable TV monopolies, the state has been in the middle of the creation of the media. For example, the Internet’s shift from an anti-commercial, egalitarian institution in the early 1990s to a “whoever makes the most money by any means necessary wins” undertaking was not foreordained by the gods. It was the province of politics.… | more…

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