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Socialist Register 2013: The Question of Strategy

The Question of Strategy: Socialist Register 2013 reviewed in The Spokesman

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


The Endless Crisis

The Endless Crisis reviewed by Counterfire

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’.

From Solidarity to Sellout: The Restoration of Capitalism in Poland by Tadeusz Kowalik

From Solidarity to Sellout reviewed on Systemic Disorder

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.

The Unlikely Secret Agent reviewed in Socialism & Democracy

Few figures rival Ronnie Kasrils in personifying South Africa’s revolutionary trajectory from the day the armed struggle was launched in 1961 through to the messy, post-Apartheid present. Almost twenty years ago, no less a figure than Rusty Bernstein declared of Kasrils and the African National Congress’s armed wing, “You can cover the whole history of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) in the life and adult adventures of Ronnie Kasrils.” This year, activist scholar Patrick Bond noted that Kasrils is Africa’s “highest-profile white revolutionary.”…The Unlikely Secret Agent – his biography of his late wife, Eleanor – suggests however that Kasrils’ achievements are woven into his relationships. Even a cursory reading of this book provides often surprising insights into the material, political and emotional resources that South African revolutionaries drew on to resist the burgeoning Apartheid state of the 1960s.

From Solidarity to Sellout: The Restoration of Capitalism in Poland by Tadeusz Kowalik

From Solidarity to Sellout reviewed in Socialism & Democracy

Professor Tadeusz Kowalik (1926-2012) was one of the few Polish economists who consistently criticized Poland’s transformation to a market economy for failing to satisfy the material and social needs of the majority of the population. From Solidarity to Sellout presents a compilation of Kowalik’s writings on the subject over the past twenty years. As one of the leading intellectuals who supported the Polish working-class movement since the ’70s (especially during the Solidarity period), the author has an extensive knowledge of both the economic debate and the political meandering that took place in Poland after 1989.

NEW! The Economic War Against Cuba: A Historical and Legal Perspective on the U.S. Blockade by Salim Lamrani

It is impossible to fully understand Cuba today without also understanding the economic sanctions levied against it by the United States. In this concise and sober account, Salim Lamrani explains everything you need to know about U.S. economic sanctions against Cuba: their origins, their provisions, how they contravene international law, and how they affect the lives of Cubans. He examines the U.S. government’s own official documents to expose what is hiding in plain sight: an indefensible, vicious, and wasteful blockade that has been roundly condemned by citizens around the world.

Paramilitarism and the Assault on Democracy in Haiti by Jeb Sprague

Paramilitarism and the Assault on Democracy in Haiti reviewed on Eurasia Review

In his book, Paramilitarism and the Assault on Democracy in Haiti, Jeb Sprague focuses on the last two coups against a democratically elected leader, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Sprague demonstrates point-by-point how that violence mostly benefits the few who sponsor it. Even when recognizing potential critics’ accusation of bias against this document for ideological bias, the facts recounted by Jeb are irrefutable.

The Contradictions of “Real Socialism”

The Contradictions of “Real Socialism” reviewed in Z Magazine

Michael A. Lebowitz explores what did (not) happen in the former Soviet Union and central and eastern European nations during the three decades ended in the 1980s. Why write this book? In the 21st century, such recent history matters. Proof of that is the instability, ecologically and economically, that global humanity faces after the fall of Soviet-style communism. To this end, the author focuses on the daily realities and underlying structures of Real Socialism (RS).

Lettuce Wars: Ten Years of Work and Struggle in the Fields of California

Bruce Neuburger discusses Lettuce Wars in Sacramento, CA, April 18

Join Bruce Neuburger, author of Lettuce Wars: Ten Years of Work and Struggle in the Fields of California, just published by Monthly Review Press, for a book talk at the Sacramento Marxist School on Thursday April 18, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM, in Sacramento, CA.

Lettuce Wars: Ten Years of Work and Struggle in the Fields of California

NEW! Lettuce Wars by Bruce Neuburger

In 1971, Bruce Neuburger—young, out of work, and radicalized by the 60s counterculture in Berkeley—took a job as a farmworker on a whim. He could have hardly anticipated that he would spend the next decade laboring up and down the agricultural valleys of California, alongside the anonymous and largely immigrant workforce that feeds the nation. This account of his journey begins at a remarkable moment, after the birth of the United Farm Workers union and the ensuing uptick in worker militancy. As a participant in organizing efforts, strikes, and boycotts, Neuburger saw first-hand the struggles of farmworkers for better wages and working conditions, and the lengths the growers would go to suppress worker unity.

One Day in December: Celia Sánchez and the Cuban Revolution by Nancy Stout

"The Arrival of the Granma," an excerpt from One Day in December in LINKS: International Journal of Socialist Renewal

The Granma was approaching, slowly. The boat had lost nearly a day plowing through rough seas off the Yucatán peninsula, and only passed the western tip of Cuba, at the remote end of Pinar del Rio Province, at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 29. It then made even slower headway as it traveled east the length of Cuba, following a safe route, far to the south of the island and well out of view of the Coast Guard. Friday, while they were still on this route, their radio had picked up news of the Santiago uprising, but there was no way to increase speed and make up for lost time. Finally, they had seen their beacon, the light at Cabo Cruz, on the night of the 1st, and set course for it.

One Day in December: Celia Sánchez and the Cuban Revolution by Nancy Stout

NEW! One Day in December: Celia Sánchez and the Cuban Revolution by Nancy Stout, foreword by Alice Walker

Celia Sánchez is the missing actor of the Cuban Revolution. Although not as well known in the English-speaking world as Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, Sánchez played a pivotal role in launching the revolution and administering the revolutionary state. She joined the clandestine 26th of July Movement and went on to choose the landing site of the Granma and fight with the rebels in the Sierra Maestra. She collected the documents that would form the official archives of the revolution, and, after its victory, launched numerous projects that enriched the lives of many Cubans, from parks to literacy programs to helping develop the Cohiba cigar brand. All the while, she maintained a close relationship with Fidel Castro that lasted until her death in 1980.

An Introduction to Marx's Capital

An Introduction to the Three Volumes of Karl Marx’s Capital reviewed by Workers' Liberty

Michael Heinrich’s book, An Introduction to the Three Volumes of Karl Marx’s Capital, (Monthly Review Press 2012) is a lucid and refreshing theoretical interpretation of Marxist political economy. Apparently, it has gone through nine editions in Germany and is used widely in German universities. Heinrich takes inspiration from the “neue Marx Lektüre” (new Marx reading) of Capital. The result is one of best introductions to Capital for the new reader, but also many sophisticated clarifications for those who who’ve already read some Marx.

Walter A. Rodney: A Promise of Revolution

Walter A. Rodney reviewed by A World to Win

The book is a tribute to Walter Rodney’s short but inspiring life which started and ended in Guyana, with periods in Jamaica, London and Tanzania as well as brief visits to the USA and Zimbabwe before his brutal assassination in 1980, aged only 38. Walter A Rodney: A Promise of Revolution is a collection of personal memories of friends and revolutionaries from around the world.