You have that friend. You know, the well-intentioned liberal who thinks that by recycling your Coca Cola cans and composting your GMO fruits and vegetables, all of the sudden, everything will be okay. Capitalism? “Well, we can’t escape that,” they say “So I’m just going to keep drinking Naked Juice and wearing an obscene amount of patchouli.” Fred Magdoff and John Bellamy Foster’s “What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism,” is a remedy for this quixotic crusader. A “Citizen’s Guide to Capitalism and the Environment,” Magdoff and Foster write with great lucidity the case against a “green capitalism.”
The Economic War Against Cuba: A Historical and Legal Perspective on the U.S. Blockade, Race in Cuba: Essays on the Revolution and Racial Inequality, and One Day in December: Celia Sánchez and the Cuban Revolution, all recently published by Monthly Review Press, are reviewed by Dominic Alexander for Counterfire.
Jeb Sprague is the author of Paramilitarism and the Assault on Democracy in Haiti from Monthly Review Press. Political dysfunction on the Island of Hispaniola is rife, mired in clientelist networks (as in the Dominican Republic) and the blatant manipulation of elections (as in Haiti). Whereas the populations are interlocked in many ways, historical divisions remain and are readily exploited by dominant national and transnational groups.
While not covering the entirety of Marxism today, Monthly Review, since its inception, has been carrying on some of the best works of Marxism today. The foundations for this type of analysis was set out by the economists Paul Baran, Paul Sweezy, and Harry Magdoff. Truly insightful analytic and theoretical works like Monopoly Capital and Magdoff’s work on Imperialism (along with Harry Braverman’s work on Labor and Monopoly Capital) help bring Marx’s political-economic insights into the twentieth and twenty-first centuries… John Bellamy Foster and Robert W. McChesney continue this strong tradition of analytically sharp Marxian political economy.
Join author Alan Wieder for a discussion of his new book, Ruth First and Joe Slovo in the War against Apartheid, at one of these locations in the U.S. and London. This engaging and richly detailed work recounts the extraordinary lives of First and Slovo, their contributions to the anti-apartheid struggle, and their sometimes tumultuous relationship.
Watch a video of the lecture, “The Great Rift: Capitalism and the Metabolism of Nature and Production.” John Bellamy Foster is editor of Monthly Review and professor of sociology at the University of Oregon. His latest book, written with Robert W. McChesney, is The Endless Crisis: How Monopoly-Finance Capital Creates Stagnation and Upheaval from the USA to China. This talk was given at the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation’s salon in Berlin on 28 May 2013.
Professor Emeritus of Political Economy of the University of Havana, Morales Domínguez, who continues to live in and write from Cuba, is a prolific social scientist and a leading scholar of race. With this collection of articles, essays, and interviews, he demonstrates how one can both be a supporter of the Revolution as well as a critic of its shortcomings primarily where it comes to race… This is an extraordinary addition to Cuban Studies
The appearance of these essays in English translation is an important milestone, because Esteban Morales Domínguez (Cuban Academy of Sciences) is one of the most important and influential commentators on Cuban race relations today. This book brings together, in essay and interview form, Morales’s thinking from the past decade … Morales takes complex, thoughtful, and sometimes unexpected positions; his is a voice that ought to be heard in North American discussions about race. Summing Up: Essential.
Join author Joseph Varga and MR Press for a book launch celebrating Hell’s Kitchen and the Battle for Urban Space, Thursday, September 26, 7 pm, at The New School for Social Research, 80 5th avenue (at 14th street and 5th ave), in New York City.
“Celia Sanchez is not a familiar name beyond Cuban borders but that should change with this, the first comprehensive biography of her life. As a committed soldier of social justice, she was instrumental in driving the one of the greatest revolutions of the 20th century and US writer Nancy Stout retells the story of an inspirational female revolutionary . . . This is an extraordinary biography, charting Sanchez’s involvement from initial organisation of Fidel’s landing to her remarkable transformation of a thorny thicket – marabuzal – into a preliminary training ground for rebel soldiers.”
When Cesar Chavez died in 1993, he was a cultural icon and progressive hero. Cast into poverty at a young age, he worked the fields as a youth before he went on to fuse his brand of Catholicism and grassroots organizing into the United Farm Workers, a union that sought to raise his Mexican farm laborer base out of poverty and into power. Chavez built a fighting union from the ground up — Si se puede! (“Yes we can!”) was its battle cry — but by the time of his death he left an organization gutted of its farm worker base, purged of its organizing core and tattered from relentless grower assaults.
While in part biography, Bruce Neuburger’s Lettuce Wars is really a history of life and work for agricultural labourers in California in the early 1970s. At its heart is the day to day struggle to make ends meet for tens of thousands of workers, mostly immigrant labour. But this is also a celebration of the struggle of those workers to get organised, and their victories against the bosses. Sometimes, this is in spite of their trade union leaders, and often it was because of a few individuals like Neuburger, prepared to stand up and be counted.
This is another book from the Monthly Review stable defending and extending the theoretical work of Baran and Sweezy, two redoubtable Marxist economists who along with Harry Magdoff kept the flame of Marxist economics alive in the United States through some pretty arduous domestic and international times. Readers may recall another title reviewed in Spokesman 111, The Great Financial Crisis: Causes and Consequences, in which the idea of capitalist stagnation was explained with particular reference to the present crisis. This new book takes on the task of defending and extending the same thesis on a broader theoretical basis, with additional material including substantial pieces on the international division of labour and China’s political economy.
Hell’s Kitchen is among Manhattan’s most storied and studied neighborhoods. A working-class district situated next to the West Side’s middle- and upper-class residential districts, it has long attracted the focus of artists and urban planners, writers and reformers. Now, Joseph Varga takes us on a tour of Hell’s Kitchen with an eye toward what we usually take for granted: space, and, particularly, how urban spaces are produced, controlled, and contested by different class and political forces.
The Endless Crisis breathes new life into the once-prominent analysis of monopoly capitalism and rescues it from the quiet oblivion of discarded academic thought. The book has no interest in being a political pamphlet for social movements or focusing on the sociological ramifications of our moribund economy. Foster and McChesney demonstrate tremendous reserve by not filling the pages with polemical calls to action and discussing thorny questions of political strategy. Rather, the authors issue a wake-up call to the leftist intelligentsia who have largely abandoned the critiques of capitalism and retreated from the field of economics altogether. Marxists have been largely driven out of economics since allowing “capitalism,” a term embedded with history and sociological conflict, to be replaced with the sterilized and ahistorical term, “market economy.” The Endless Crisis is a focused and muscular work that ranks alongside the works of John Kenneth Galbraith, Paul Sweezy, Paul Baran and other great political economists who were unafraid to deliver sobering criticisms of modern capitalism. It is a robustly researched testament to the enduring relevance of Marxist theory in the 21st century.