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Cuba, the Media, and the Challenge of Impartiality by Salim Lamrani

Cuba, the Media, and the Challenge of Impartiality reviewed by The Progressive Standard

In Cuba, the Media, and the Challenge of Impartiality, Salim Lamrani, a French journalist and professor of Latin-American studies at the University of Paris-Sorbonne Paris IV, raises important questions about the condition of journalism today and the role played by privately owned, centrally controlled media cartels. As an important addition to his previous work, The Economic War Against Cuba, Lamrani, examines media treatment of Cuba taking an investigative journalist’s approach to dissecting a variety of claims made about life and politics on the island since the revolution of 1959.… | more…

Reconstructing Lenin by Tamás Krausz

Reconstructing Lenin reviewed by Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

With the end of the Cold War and the victory of capitalism, and the seeming defeat of “Marxism-Leninism” in 1991, it appeared we could at last bury Lenin. And certainly, who will mourn for the death of a Lenin encased in granite monuments with his words turned into a dogmatic religion to legitimise the Eastern Bloc regimes? However, there is another Lenin who remains very much alive. This Lenin has been unearthed in recent years with the “Lenin renaissance”. Different scholars and political activists such as Lars Lih, Paul Le Blanc, Slavoj Zizek, Kevin Anderson, to name just a few have explored what remains very much alive in Lenin. While they don’t necessarily agree on all their conclusions, all of them have challenged Soviet-era mythology and anti-communist historiography by revealing the Lenin who fused a creative and dynamic Marxist theory to develop a revolutionary political practice to change the world.… | more…

E.P. Thompson and the Making of the New Left reviewed in Radical Ruminations

Winslow produced an excellent book. The essays hang together as proposals for, and responses to, the first New Left and as evidence of the intimate connection between Thompson’s historical writing and his politics. They provide a twofold intellectual history of those dramatic years. Thompson is powerful and elegant; Winslow is as passionate about intellectuals in socialist politics as Thompson was when he wrote these indispensable essays. But we need to understand what they built on.… | more…

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…

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…

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

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 by Ralf Dose

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…

Race to Revolution by Gerald Horne

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…

Reconstructing Lenin by Tamás Krausz

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…

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