Among the strengths of Gerald Horne’s Race to Revolution: The United States and Cuba During Slavery and Jim Crow is its timing; it arrives at the moment of the first real movement in US–Cuban diplomatic relations since the imposition of the blockade in 1962, and at the beginnings of what some are calling the third major US civil rights movement, in the wake of the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.… | more |
The Council on Foreign Relations is the most influential foreign-policy think tank in the United States, claiming among its members a high percentage of government officials, media figures, and establishment elite. For decades it kept a low profile even while it shaped policy, advised presidents, and helped shore up U.S. hegemony following the Second World War. In 1977, Laurence H. Shoup and William Minter published the first in-depth study of the CFR, Imperial Brain Trust, an explosive work that traced the activities and influence of the CFR from its origins in the 1920s through the Cold War.
Now, Laurence H. Shoup returns with this long-awaited sequel, which brings the story up to date. Wall Street’s Think Tank follows the CFR from the 1970s through the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union to the present.
In both of these books John Tully gives us histories of remarkable businesses and their human consequences seen from the vantage point of a red–green critic of capitalism. Rubber and its cousin gutta-percha were exploited long before plantation businesses sprang up.… | more |
Race in contemporary Cuba is a delicate and hotly contested issue. What most agree is that pre-1959 Cuba was characterized by a stark racial inequality which, rooted in a relatively recent history of slavery (abolished only in 1886), was addressed after January 1959 by legally eliminating its more evident institutional manifestations, by a social program which particularly benefited those at the bottom of the old social structure, and by a mass emigration which initially was predominantly (83.5%) white. More recently, we know that after the 1990s’ traumatic crisis (following the Soviet and socialist bloc collapse) and the unprecedented changes to counter that crisis (including increased tourism and toleration of the U. S. dollar), inequality partly returned, as remittances from relatives abroad disproportionately benefited whites.… | more |
Reconstructing Lenin is a thoughtful and compelling study of Lenin. Tamás Krausz reveals Lenin as an activist revolutionary whose thoughts were shaped by immediate political events but who also at the same time never strayed far from a coherent theoretical framework. As a work of scholarship it deserves to be up there with Lars Lih’s Lenin Rediscovered.… | more |
Paul Le Blanc and Michael D. Yates have recently identified a political point of entry that has the potential to galvanize wide public support and focus political discussion and debate on the most glaring (historical) weaknesses of capitalism as a mode of production and to begin to nudge public awareness toward the deep contradictory ontology that is capitalism.… | more |
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.… | more |
To his credit, the first African-American president, Barack Obama, recently took a bold step towards normalizing relations between the United States and Cuba, thereby challenging a decades-long failed policy intent on isolating the island nation. Undoubtedly, with this change in U.S. foreign policy, there will likely be a renewed interest in both nations’ shared history.
That an African American took the initiative in spearheading this long overdue policy change is also important, as it is only the most recent illustration of a unique relationship between Blacks in the “slaveholders’ republic” and their African kin in Cuba, the renowned slave depot and former Spanish colony… | more |
The 21st century has witnessed a significant revival of interest in the ideas of Karl Marx among both the general public and left-leaning academics. No doubt this reflects a desire among many to examine solutions from the greatest and best-known critic of the system to capitalism’s recurrent bouts of economic contraction and social polarisation. There has been a notable lack of concomitant interest, however, in one of the few figures within the Marxist canon who can rival the founder for breadth and depth of analysis.… | more |
Available for the first time in English, the essays collected in Esteban Morales Domínguez’s “Race in Cuba” describe the problem of racial inequality in Cuba, provide evidence of its existence, constructively criticize efforts by the Cuban political leadership to end discrimination, and point to a possible way forward. To buy his book, use the coupon code BOM715 and receive 35% off at check out.… | more |
Lebowitz explores the obvious but almost universally ignored fact that as human beings work together to produce society’s goods and services, we also “produce” something else: namely, ourselves. Human beings are shaped by circumstances, and any vision of socialism that ignores this fact is bound to fail, or, at best, reproduce the alienation of labor that is endemic to capitalism. But how can people transform their circumstances in a way that allows them to re-organize production and, at the same time, fulfill their human potential? Lebowitz sets out to answer this question first by examining Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Programme, and from there investigates the experiences of the Soviet Union and more recent efforts to build socialism in Venezuela. He argues that socialism in the twenty-first century must be animated by a central vision, in three parts: social ownership of the means of production, social production organized by workers, and the satisfaction of communal needs and communal purposes. These essays repay careful reading and reflection, and prove Lebowitz to be one of the foremost Marxist thinkers of this era.… | more |
Few figures loom larger in the making of the first, late 1950s, New Left than E.P. Thompson and C. Wright Mills. Both were big. Both fit uneasily, to say the least, in the company of any established intelligentsia.… | more |
Who cares any more about Lenin? Time was, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1870–1924) was revered, at least in some quarters, as the founding father of the Soviet Union, head of the first revolutionary state, pioneer in building socialism to end capitalist exploitation and create a better world. In the Soviet Union, Stalin overshadowed him for a few decades, while claiming loyal discipleship. But then, in the thaw following Stalin’s death in 1953, Lenin was reinvoked as a corrective to Stalin’s excesses, the man who had offered the true socialist model.… | more |
Acts of violence assume many forms: they may travel by the arc of a guided missile or in the language of an economic policy decision that contaminates drinking water, and they may leave behind a smoldering village or a starved child. The all-pervasive occurrence of violence makes it seem like an unavoidable, and ultimately incomprehensible, aspect of the human world, particularly in a modern era. But, in this detailed and expansive book, Marc Pilisuk and Jennifer Rountree demonstrate otherwise. Widespread violence, they argue, is in fact an expression of the underlying social order, and whether it is carried out by military forces or by patterns of investment, the aim is to strengthen that order for the benefit of the powerful.… | more |
You are almost certainly reading this review on a computer screen, on a mobile device, tablet, laptop or PC. It’s probably one of many, many things you’ll read onscreen today. Some of your uses of new technology will be for leisure, recreation and education, and some will be work-related. The information, communication and technology industry (ICT) is all around us, almost like air or water.… | more |