Perelman addresses the whole range of problems with work and the work process within capitalism: the way it stifles the creativity of the worker, the waste of social productive powers by the many jobs and technical applications created solely to safeguard the managerial power of capital, the superior knowledge workers have of the work process and the struggle over the extraction of this knowledge, the inefficiencies of production all these combine to generate within capitalism, and finally the various kinds of theoretical apologetics generated within economic theory to justify this sorry state of affairs.
In the 1980s and 90s, renowned Polish economist Tadeusz Kowalik played a leading role in the Solidarity movement, struggling alongside workers for an alternative to “really-existing socialism” that was cooperative and controlled by the workers themselves. In the ensuing two decades, “really-existing” socialism has collapsed, capitalism has been restored, and Poland is now among the most unequal countries in the world. Kowalik asks, how could this happen in a country that once had the largest and most militant labor movement in Europe?
What was “real socialism”—the term which originated in twentieth-century socialist societies for the purpose of distinguishing them from abstract, theoretical socialism? In this volume, Michael A. Lebowitz considers the nature, tendencies, and contradictions of those societies. Beginning with the constant presence of shortages within “real socialism,” Lebowitz searches for the inner relations which generate these patterns. He finds these, in particular, in what he calls “vanguard relations of production,” a relation which takes the apparent form of a social contract where workers obtain benefits not available to their counterparts in capitalism but lack the power to decide within the workplace and society.
Heinrich’s modern interpretation of Capital is now available to English-speaking readers for the first time. It has gone through nine editions in Germany, is the standard work for Marxist study groups, and is used widely in German universities. The author systematically covers all three volumes of Capital and explains all the basic aspects of Marx’s critique of capitalism in a way that is clear and concise. He provides background information on the intellectual and political milieu in which Marx worked, and looks at crucial issues beyond the scope of Capital, such as class struggle, the relationship between capital and the state, accusations of historical determinism, and Marx’s understanding of communism. Uniquely, Heinrich emphasizes the monetary character of Marx’s work, in addition to the traditional emphasis on the labor theory of value, thus highlighting the relevance of Capital to the age of financial explosions and implosions.
The Wisconsin Uprising in February-March 2011 was one of the most exciting events in a long time in this country’s history. People mobilized on a scale not seen since the early 1970s, initially to protest a draconian assault on working people and public services intended to serve them, but it developed into a larger protest over the meaning of “democracy” in the contemporary United States. And though the protests ultimately failed to stop passage of an unjust law, it served and still serves as an inspiration to people in Wisconsin and around the world.
Our friends at LINKS: International Journal of Socialist Renewal have posted an exclusive excerpt of Michael A. Lebowitz’s forthcoming title, The Contradictions of “Real Socialism”: The Conductor and the Conducted. Click here to read it, and look for the book later this month!
This anthology provides an illuminating insight into the writings and philosophy of Peruvian thinker and journalist, José Carlos Mariátegui. A pioneer for more contemporary thinkers such as Ernesto Che Guevara, and analyst of continuous struggles such as the Indigenous “problem,” Mariátegui sought to rethink Marxism in a manner which would provide Peru and Latin America with its own Marxist reality. Mariátegui’s non-dogmatic thought transcends history to reflect current reality.
This collection of 17 essays by 19 writers is a serious attempt by seasoned activists in the North American labour movement to come to grips with the phenomenon that swept Wisconsin in the late winter and spring of 2011. The writers clearly share a passionate commitment to building support for oppositional movements in the States, identify organised labour as an essential component of this project, and see active participation as a necessary part of their commitment. Beyond this, they bring a variety of experiences and political analyses to bear in their contributions.
The global impact of Asian production of the wage goods consumed in North America and Europe is only now being recognized, and is far from being understood. Asian women, most only recently urbanized and in the waged work force, are at the center of a process of intensive labor for minimal wages that has upended the entire global economy. First published in 1997, this prescient study is the best available summary of this crucial process as it took hold at the very end of the twentieth century. This new edition brings the discussion up to 2011 with an extensive introduction by world-famous economist Jayati Ghosh of Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University.
I found The God Market vital reading for a number of reasons (and that’s my favorite kind of book: one that has multiple uses and educates me on several subjects at once). You will get a quick primer on the history of Indian government and foreign and domestic policy from 1947 to the present (you certainly won’t have been taught any of that in high school). You will get an excellent summary of what “globalization” actually means in practice and how it is affecting and changing religion and ideology the world over, with India as a star example … But what I found most useful of all is the picture I saw throughout of what actual, contemporary Hinduism is and is like (and how it has changed, and is changing).
In an important new book entitled Cocaine, death squads, and the war on terror: U.S. imperialism and class struggle in Colombia, scholars Oliver Villar and Drew Cottle expose the sinister motivations behind—and manifestations of—the “U.S. war on drugs and terror” in Colombia. Refuting USAID’s seemingly charitable concern for the cultivation of morally upstanding crops, the authors provide a succinct but detailed history of the United States’ alliances with drug traffickers and paramilitaries and its contributions to Colombian state repression and the institutionalization of the cocaine industry.
The ‘Tea Party’ comes in for close scrutiny in a new book by Anthony DiMaggio, which exposes that faction’s pretensions to be a real social movement as false, dominated as it is from the top-down by established right-wing forces, argues William Alderson.
Since the creation of the Venezuelan health mission Barrio Adentro, thousands of Cuban medical professionals have provided quality health care for some of Venezuela’s poorest communities. In Revolutionary Doctors: How Venezuela and Cuba Are Changing the World’s Conception of Health Care, author Steve Brouwer highlights the revolutionary health care practiced by Venezuela and Cuba. Brouwer lived in Venezuela in 2007-08 where he witnessed the results first hand.
These videos were recorded at a lecture on May 19, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They feature Irv Kurki, coordinator for essential discussions of advanced theory, discussing “Capital’s (Dis)organizing Systems and the Socialist Alternatives”; and Doug Enaa Greene, member of the Kasama Project and an activist at Occupy Boston, on “Critiquing Capital from Capital’s Viewpoint: Meszaros’s Critique of Sartre and the Occupy Movement.”
MORE THAN A year has passed since the mass protests of February-March 2011, at Madison and elsewhere across Wisconsin, erupted in response to Republican Governor Scott Walker’s effort to bust the state’s public employee unions. The three-week occupation of the State Capitol building and truly massive outdoor demos in the surrounding streets drew the attention of the entire country and much of the world. Ongoing rallies, with crowds sometimes numbering well over a hundred thousand, drew organized labor and the unorganized, private and public sector workers, high school and college kids, farmers, the elderly and the young, retirees, the unemployed and recently returned veterans, and whole families with kids and grandkids — from every city, town and county in the state.