Alan Wieder is the author of Ruth First and Joe Slovo in the War Against Apartheid, forthcoming from Monthly Review Press. He was interviewed by Portland’s KBOO Community Radio about his book and the lives of Ruth First and Joe Slovo.
Two years after the failed NATO intervention, Libyan society is in chaos. Over 50,000 were killed in a mission that was meant to protect civilians, and there are reportedly more than 1,700 competing militias marauding the streets. One outcome of this chaos was the attack on U.S. mission in Benghazi which led to the death of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens on September 11, 2012. There have been Congressional hearings on this attack, and on May 8, U.S. Representative Darrell Issa, the California Republican who heads the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, called another inquiry into the September 11, 2012 event.
Marxist ecologists John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark, and Richard York compellingly argue that our perpetual ecological crises are a direct product of global capitalism. The relationships of dominance within capitalism are the main obstacle to ecological sustainability. At over 400 pages in length (and an additional 90 pages in footnotes alone), The Ecological Rift uses the disciplines of political economy, human ecology and sociology to mount a powerful indictment of capitalism’s destructive effects upon our fragile ecosystems.
Join Clairmont Chung, editor of Walter A. Rodney: A Promise of Revolution and director of the documentary W.A.R. Stories, for a film screening and book signing during Atlanta’s Caribbean Film Festival, 2 PM, Sunday June 9.
Since 9/11, the war on terror and the campaign for homeland security have increasingly mimicked the tactics of the enemies they sought to crush. Violence and punishment as both a media spectacle and a bone-crushing reality have become prominent and influential forces shaping U.S. society. As the boundaries between “the realms of war and civil life have collapsed,” social relations and the public services needed to make them viable have been increasingly privatized and militarized. The logic of profitability works its magic in channeling the public funding of warfare and organized violence into universities, market-based service providers, Hollywood cinema, cable television, and deregulated contractors. The metaphysics of war and associated forms of violence now creep into every aspect of U.S. society.
For many years, I’ve been inspired to read about the lives of revolutionaries. These are people who had been raised in a more or less typical environment, and transformed themselves into leaders of political movements. These political movements didn’t merely attempt to reform one or another aspect of society. No, these leaders attempted to form a new kind of government that would have completely different priorities. The list of some of these leaders would include, Spartacus, Thomas Paine, Tecumseh, Frederick Douglass, Jose Martí, Ida Wells, Mother Jones, Vladimir Illyich Lenin, Eugene Debs, Malcolm X, Ernesto Che Guevara, and Nelson Mandela. Looking at this list we see that most of these leaders were men. Nancy Stout spent ten years researching her biography of Celia Sánchez. Reading Stout’s book, we can see why the name Celia Sánchez clearly needs to be added to this list. In this biography we see a woman who overcomes unbelievable odds to put in place a government that transformed the lives of the Cuban people.
Salim Lamrani is the author of The Economic War Against Cuba: A Historical and Legal Perspective and a journalist specializing in Latin American affairs. He will be speaking and signing books throughout the UK from May 21 to 29. Organized and sponsored by the Cuba Solidarity Campaign.
America’s latest war, according to renowned social critic Henry Giroux, is a war on youth. While this may seem counterintuitive in our youth-obsessed culture, Giroux lays bare the grim reality of how our educational, social, and economic institutions continually fail young people. Their systemic failure is the result of what Giroux identifies as “four fundamentalisms”: market deregulation, patriotic and religious fervor, the instrumentalization of education, and the militarization of society. Giroux sets his sights on the war on youth and takes it apart, examining how a lack of access to quality education, unemployment, the repression of dissent, a culture of violence, and the discipline of the market work together to shape the dismal experiences of so many young people.
In The Contradictions of Real Socialism Lebowitz provides an insightful and penetrating analysis of the problems with the ‘vanguard’ leadership and he offers a partial blueprint for the socialism of the future. This new type of socialism will be founded upon the full and democratic participation of the workers and its goal will be the production of richly developed human beings. While scholars of Marxism and socialism are likely to be more appreciative of the complexities and details of Lebowitz’s book, its overall outlines are sufficiently clear to the general reader. Furthermore, this book seems to be intended not just for the socialist audience, but appears to be designed for an even larger group of readers. Anyone interested in the complimentary problems of real leadership and of involving workers in determining their own destinies will find Lebowitz’s thought-provoking book of considerable interest.
Join Bruce Neuburger, author of Lettuce Wars: Ten Years of Work and Struggle in the Fields of California for three upcoming events in the Bay Area. Ann López, Executive Director of the Center for Farmworker Families, calls Lettuce Wars “compelling and often spell-binding … surely one of the most important contributions to the social justice literature exposing farmworker injustice at all levels,” and will be joining Bruce at one event.
In this incisive account, scholar Horace Campbell investigates the political and economic crises of the early twenty-first century through the prism of NATO’s intervention in Libya. He traces the origins of the conflict, situates it in the broader context of the Arab Spring uprisings, and explains the expanded role of a post-Cold War NATO. Campbell points out that while political elites in the West were quick to celebrate the intervention in Libya as a success, the NATO campaign caused many civilian deaths and destroyed the nation’s infrastructure. Furthermore, the instability it unleashed in the forms of militias and terrorist groups have only begun to be reckoned with, as the United States learned when its embassy was attacked and personnel, including the ambassador, were killed. Campbell’s lucid study is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand this complex and weighty course of events.
Nancy Stout is interviewed about her new biography of the Cuban revolutionary Celia Sánchez, One Day in December, on Vancouver Cooperative Radio. Click here to listen to her conversation with Mordecai Briemberg of the Redeye Collective.
The 2013 edition of Socialist Register is titled The Question of Strategy. However, because of the themes which this edition addresses, it could be titled ‘What is to be Done?’ The editors have designed this volume in conjunction with the Registers for 2011 and 2012. The aim of those two volumes was to analyze the global financial and economic crisis. The 2013 volume extends that analysis, but offers a more concentrated focus on the ‘choices faced by the Left today, the models of strategy available to it, and the innovations that are being made by groups as they organize in diverse
Many people will be aware that our economy is in trouble. And many will also be aware that it will stay in trouble for some time to come. The British government keeps on pushing its austerity agenda, which, in addition to wrecking the lives of hundreds of thousands of families and individuals who have their benefits slashed, further sucks demand out of the economy, making a speedy recovery increasingly unlikely. The developments in mainland Europe are similar. As European leaders force austerity policies on indebted countries, the outlook for the people across the continent is grim, and many will indeed think that what we have been living through since 2007 is an ‘endless crisis’.
For much of the 20th century, there was a curious mirror effect between orthodox Soviet and Chicago School ideologies — both saw the other as the only other possible economic system. Although both time and the ongoing global crisis of capitalism has begun to chip away at such a ridiculous binary, to a maddening degree this ideological straitjacket continues to assert itself. A straitjacket that does not spontaneously materialize but is crafted for the maintenance of power.