Michael A. Lebowitz is the author, most recently, of The Contradictions of “Real Socialism”: The Conductor and the Conducted. This lecture was recorded at the Critical Social Research Collaborative (CSRC) Fourth Annual Conference in Critical Social Research: Faultlines of Revolution!, May 4th, 2012, Carleton University.
It isn’t enough to blame the tragedy on the inadequate development of productive forces or on the belligerence of imperialism (what, after all, do we expect from imperialism?) Nor is a formulaic response sufficient, to simply decry 20th Century socialism as “state capitalism” or even “deformed and degenerated workers states.” What is needed instead is a serious Marxist analysis of the social relations that pertained in ‘real socialism’. In writing this book Lebowitz has made an important contribution to developing such an analysis, and one that deserves to be read and discussed widely on the left.
The Great Recession has ended, unlike slow/no growth. For a deeper sense of why, get a copy of The Endless Crisis: How Monopoly-Finance Capital Produces Stagnation and Upheaval from the USA to China by John Bellamy Foster and Robert W. McChesney. The duo of scholars and professors connect the dots in a radical critique of modern-day capitalism. Theirs is a rigorous analysis, empirical and theoretical, of the twin trends of slowing growth and growing tumult.
Drawing upon first-hand interviews with both paramilitaries, elites and their victims, and with corroboration provided by thousands of U.S. State Department documents (obtained through Freedom of Information Act document requests), Sprague’s incisive contribution to the historical record makes it all too clear how the U.S. government and a collection of local elites have consistently undermined democracy in Haiti – from the nineteenth century right through to the present day.
Join Clairmont Chung, editor of the new book Walter A. Rodney: A Promise of Revolution and director of the documentary W.A.R. Stories: Walter A. Rodney, for a book launch and film screening on Sunday, Dec. 2nd, 7:30pm, at the Maysles Institute in New York City.
The ABCs of the Economic Crisis by Fred Magdoff and Michael D. Yates, despite its small size, is packed with direct, concise and simple facts as the cause of the United States’ recession in 2007. Written with the academic audience in mind, Magdoff and Yates have produced a read that is essential to all those confused by the rhetoric of economists, the media and politicians.
Join MR Press author Steve Brouwer as he discusses his book, Revolutionary Doctors: How Venezuela and Cuba are Changing the World’s Conception of Health Care, in Ithaca, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Madison.
There are an increasing number of helpful introductions to Capital to make it more accessible for those reluctant to jump in feet first. The German Marxist Michael Heinrich wrote this introduction in 2004, and it is very welcome that it is now available in English. One aspect of Capital that could well seem daunting is the number of terms with quite precise meanings, such as the various concepts of value, their distinction from price, or surplus value, which is not quite the same thing as profit, or even further, the various specific forms of capital. An understanding of these is not in fact difficult to acquire and Heinrich’s short book is a crisp and clear introduction to all the relevant concepts, and the very exact ways in which Marx uses them.
Watch Jeb Sprague, author of Paramilitarism and the Assault on Democracy in Haiti, interviewed by David Zlutnick in San Francisco for Upheaval Productions. The conversation focuses on paramilitarism and its consequences in Haiti, but also touches on the roles of outside powers and their influence, Haiti’s vibrant social movements, and the country’s most recent developments.
This book is part of Michael Lebowitz’s larger project of demonstrating the ever-existing necessity of a socialist transformation as the revolutionary resolution of class struggle in capitalism. It builds a theoretical foundation for such revolutionary praxis in the specific objectivity of the 21st century. Lebowitz’s previous book, Build it Now, captured and described the specificities of socialist praxis and possibilities in the Bolivarian experience of Venezuela. The Socialist Alternative can be seen as building a coherent model of an alternative by gathering and arranging the elements that are found scattered in that experience.
The increasing trend of monolithic companies taking over large shares of industry has created a “financialization-stagnation trap” that’s negatively affecting economies across the world, particularly in the Global South. That’s John Bellamy Foster and Robert W. McChesney’s argument in The Endless Crisis: How Monopoly-Finance Capital Produces Stagnation and Upheaval from the USA to China (Monthly Review Press, 2012). In this excerpt from the book’s introduction, Foster and McChesney explain how understanding the rise of financialization stagnation is essential to understanding global class struggle.
This landmark book, first published in 1979, met acclaim as a doubly important work of radical philosophy. Its subject, Jean-Paul Sartre, was among the twentieth century’s most controversial and influential philosophers; its author, István Mészáros, was himself establishing a reputation for profound contributions to the Marxian tradition, which would continue into the next century. The Work of Sartre was thus considered essential for its insights on Sartre and as a piece of Mészáros’s developing politico-philosophical project.
The days of boom and bubble are over, and the time has come to understand the long-term economic reality. Although the Great Recession officially ended in June 2009, hopes for a new phase of rapid economic expansion were quickly dashed. Instead, growth has been slow, unemployment has remained high, wages and benefits have seen little improvement, poverty has increased, and the trend toward more inequality of incomes and wealth has continued. It appears that the Great Recession has given way to a period of long-term anemic growth, which Foster and McChesney aptly term the Great Stagnation.
Join Ronnie Kasrils, author of The Unlikely Secret Agent, anti-apartheid leader, and international solidarity activist, for a talk and book signing at Busboys & Poets in Washington, DC, on Oct 19.
In the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti, certain media outlets painted a picture of a country overrun by looters and at the mercy of gang members and other criminals, including thousands of prisoners jolted free by the quake. Relevant details were ignored, such as the contention by prominent Haitian human rights attorney Mario Joseph that 80 per cent of said prisoners had never been charged. The media effort perhaps aided in rendering less incongruous in the eyes of the international public the deployment of a sizeable US military force to deal with quake-affected people who did not seemingly require military attention.