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A Freedom Budget for All Americans

A Freedom Budget for All Americans reviewed by Paul Buhle in CounterPunch

This remarkable book brings back into view a radical vision for victory within the mainstream, armed with the kind of expectation glimpsed briefly in the 2008 election race but this time without the support of a grassroots movement long since vanished. The Civil Rights movement, rightly called “the Freedom Movement” by participants themselves, had built up a head of steam by the 1963 March on Washington recently so much in the news again recently, for fiftieth anniversary events. But even this momentum would not likely itself have accounted for the expectation, during an extended political moment, that Democrats might boldly seek to end poverty. The impulse rested also in the surprising prestige of one very unique socialist intellectual, Michael Harrington, who with his supporters glimpsed the opportunity to apply their revolutionary visions of social transformation to the practical (or seemingly practical) prospects before them.

Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya

Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya reviewed by A World to Win

The current chaos in Libya, with striking army units blockading oil ports, widespread violence from the militias and with a wave of bombings and kidnappings, goes largely unreported.

An excellent new account of the war, Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya, by Horace Campbell, places the NATO adventure firmly in the context of the global capitalist crisis. Western leaders were looking for an opportunity to intervene in North Africa.

Ruth First and Joe Slovo in the War Against Apartheid

Ruth First and Joe Slovo in the War Against Apartheid reviewed by Paul Buhle for Swans Commentary

This remarkable book bears the tale of two South African (white) Communists who threw their lives into the cause of overthrowing the tyrannical system so effectively supported by the U.S. and Israel (among others) until the veritable end. To say they were courageous is a vast understatement…. The telling of their story is an achievement for which author Alan Wieder deserves great credit. Writing as an oral history field worker and teacher, I conclude that the book could not have been done by someone who lacked the skill and patience of an oral historian such as Wieder. The entirety of this book has the personal touch and will reward reading and rereading.

Capitalist Globalization: Consequences, Resistance, and Alternatives

Capitalist Globalization reviewed in The Progressive Populist

Martin Hart-Landsberg thinks big. His book Capitalist Globalization: Consequences, Resistance, and Alternatives (Monthly Review Press, 2013) is proof of that. A world economy of, by, and for transnational corporations (TNCs) is a problem. So what? The author’s answer is clear. TNC-led production flows from the imperatives of businesses to produce goods and services at lower prices than rivals do. A theme throughout his book documents the interests of TNCs to the detriment of working majorities experiencing declines in their living standards.

Ruth First and Joe Slovo in the War Against Apartheid

Ruth First and Joe Slovo in the War against Apartheid reviewed in the LSE Review of Books

It was a stormy relationship that only a bomb planted by an apartheid agent could blow up. Ruth First was a great researcher and thorn-in-the-side of the apartheid government before her assassination by letter bomb in 1982; Joe Slovo was the lawyer turned guerilla mastermind, who blew up power stations and military headquarters before becoming a minister in Mandela’s first government, and laid to rest in Soweto’s Avalon Cemetery. Together, they were two of the most famous and important of South Africa’s anti-apartheid activists, and lived the sort of lives that made for great stories and even greater myths.

Ruth First and Joe Slovo in the War Against Apartheid

Ruth First and Joe Slovo in the War against Apartheid reviewed in Z Magazine

Ruth and Joe, white secular Jews in apartheid South Africa, did not have to fight against that society of skin-color privilege. Yet they did because that social system doomed scores of people to lives of misery and poverty. We discover the complexities of place, space, and time in Ruth and Joe’s lives among those with and without name recognition to overthrow white-minority rule in South Africa.

Hell’s Kitchen and the Battle for Urban Space

Hell’s Kitchen and the Battle for Urban Space reviewed by Resolute Reader

In the period this book considered, Hell’s Kitchen, or “Manhattan’s Middle West Side” was considered by many commentators to be an area of poverty, corruption, crime and unsavoury types. In reality of course it was a home to thousands of working class people who carved their own lives out of the limited opportunities that they had … Subtitled, Class Struggle and Progressive Reform in New York City, 1894-1914, Joseph J. Varga’s new book is a detailed examination of the development of this district in New York, but more importantly, an attempt to understand, using the concept of the “production of space” how that urban space was shaped and, in turn, shaped those who inhabited it.

An Introduction to Marx's Capital

Michael Heinrich interviewed by Xiaoping Wei

Michael Heinrich is the author of An Introduction to the Three Volumes of Marx’s Capital, published last year by Monthly Review Press. Here, he discusses his work and his interpretation of Capital with Xiaoping Wei, director of History of Marxism Philosophy in the Philosophy Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vice-director of History of Marxism Philosophy Society of China, and vice-director of Western Marxism Society of China.