Monthly Review Press author Steve Early first met Bernie Sanders in 1976 during a Vermont political campaign. Today, writing in Jacobin magazine and interviewed on Alternative Visions radio, Early reflects on how organized labor should respond to Sanders’s bid for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.
The ‘left’ has been reborn many times over the last two centuries. Every renewal has carried with it traditions from past phases, with greater or lesser degrees of continuity, while establishing new relations and alliances in response to the changing structures of capitalism. This can be seen in the transition between radical Jacobinism and early forms of socialism, or between the Chartist movement and later nineteenth-century trade-union and socialist movements, and in other moments in the history of working-class politics. E. P. Thompson was a figure who both recaptured these transitions in his historical writing, and participated in a major re-orientation of left politics after the Soviet Union’s suppression of the Hungarian revolution in 1956.
In 1969, Ferdinand Marcos won a second term as president, in one of the dirtiest campaigns in Philippine history. That same year, Edgar Jopson was elected president of the National Union of Students of the Philippines, in a campaign to keep the Communists out of the student movement. Thirteen years later Jopson was gunned down by the military during a raid on an underground safe house. He was by then one of the most wanted people in the country, with a price on his head, a leading Communist Party cadre and member of the urban underground.
Join Monthly Review authors and many others at the Left Forum 2015 in New York City. This year’s conference theme is “No Justice, No Peace: Confronting the Crises of Capitalism and Democracy.” A unique phenomenon in the U.S. and the world, Left Forum convenes the largest annual conference of a broad spectrum of left and progressive intellectuals, activists, academics, organizations and the interested public. Conference participants come together to engage a wide range of critical perspectives on the world, to discuss differences, commonalities, and alternatives to current predicaments, and to share ideas for understanding and transforming the world.
At the end of the 1980s, the mood among anti-Apartheid activists was gloomy. Many of them considered the situation in South Africa to be as bad as ever, and chances of abolishing the racist system seemed slim. Two years later, Nelson Mandela was a free man, and a couple of years after his release, he was the first president of post-Apartheid South Africa. Robert McChesney tells this episode at the beginning of his latest book to point out a lesson of which we need to remind ourselves every so often: social change is rarely accurately predicted.
The major premises of the media reform movement remain unchanged: communication systems develop largely as a result of policies, since there is no such thing as a natural “default” course of development. From the development of copyright and postal subsidies for newspapers at the dawn of the Republic to the licensing of telephone, broadcasting, and cable TV monopolies, the state has been in the middle of the creation of the media. For example, the Internet’s shift from an anti-commercial, egalitarian institution in the early 1990s to a “whoever makes the most money by any means necessary wins” undertaking was not foreordained by the gods. It was the province of politics.
Steve Early, author of Save Our Unions: Dispatches from A Movement in Distress, discusses the fight for a higher minimum wage, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, labor law reform, and more on Your Call with Rose Aguilar, on KALW radio in San Francisco.
Activist University of Illinois scholar Robert McChesney has for some time now been a compelling voice on the “political economy of communication,” an emerging new discipline that’s probing how our media go about entrenching “the privileges of those at the top.” This field, McChesney argues in this engaging new book, belongs on our political center stage. Our deeply unequal social order, he explains, has simply ceased working for average people.
Who is the cybertariat? Why care? Ursula Huws, author of Labor in the Global Digital Economy: The Cybertariat Comes of Age (Monthly Review Press, 2014), has answers as a class-based technology shapes our world. An historical continuity emerges in her writing. This approach casts context on the current moment.
Hell’s Kitchen’s tenements have long captured the attention of reformers, scholars, and the American public. In Hell’s Kitchen and the Battle for Urban Space, Joseph J. Varga combines a sophisticated use of critical space theory, with a nuanced investigation of social relations among residents, reformers, and state agencies, to shed light on development in this notorious neighborhood during the Progressive Era’s transformative years. Utilizing Henri Lefebvre’s understanding of space as “lived, conceived and perceived,” Varga reveals that the physical features of the area, social relationships of work and home, reform efforts, ethnic and racial alliances, and government allotment of funds played a role in creating and giving meaning to space on Manhattan’s Middle West Side.
In the late 1850s, Walt Whitman wrote a series of poems celebrating what he called “manly love,” the love men had for other men. Whitman included the poems in the 1860 edition of Leaves of Grass under the heading “Calamus,” a plant with a suggestive, phallic-shaped flowering spike growing out of it. As I discuss in the next chapter, the exact nature of this manly love—essentially, whether it involved genitals or not—remains very much unsettled.
Announcing a New York City benefit for AK Press at The Brooklyn Commons, Friday, May 8, at 6:30 PM. Funds will go to AK Press to help them recover from a devastating fire in their Oakland, CA warehouse. Supporters include Haymarket Books, The Indypendent, Institute for the Radical Imagination, The Marxist Education Project, Monthly Review, Situations, and Verso Books.
No later than the Wilsonian propaganda campaign to bring ordinary US citizens and the world to support US intervention in World War I, did the inhabitants—at least the “white” ones—become convinced that not only was their nation the new Eden but that merely by virtue of being an American one was loved and/or envied throughout the world. It is crucial to mention this ideological transformation because until 1917, when the US entered the war on the side of the British elite, most inhabitants of the US could be seen as despised. Ex-slaves were despised because of their skin-colour and despite the 13th amendment, previous condition of servitude, and all the rest but the tiny in-bred colonial elite were absorbed from countries whose regimes were glad to be rid of them.
Join Monthly Review Press author Cal Winslow for a discussion of his new book E.P. Thompson and the Making of the New Left. 7 PM, April 9, 2015, at Elliott Bay Books in Seattle, WA. Cal Winslow will consider the legacy of the late historian E.P. Thompson, the writer and activist widely considered the outstanding historian writing in English in the Twentieth Century.
In Walt We Trust is a sprightly, extended essay or first-person peroration by a young lit prof who felt a ton of frustration and heartache, or at least headache (self-medicating with alcohol, he tells us), and in despair, threw himself at Whitmania. That is, the poetry, the life, the setting and the aura. The project was obviously successful and not only because of the resulting book. He feels, he insists, better about life, death and even sex – the trifecta that pretty much wraps up human earthly possibilities. But he had to take a gloomy field trip to Camden, New Jersey, to get his mind in place.