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The American War in Vietnam: Crime or Commemoration?

“Back to the realm of remembering…” The American War in Vietnam reviewed in Counterpunch

In classical mythology, the Acheron is one of the rivers of the Underworld. It marks the boundary between the living and the dead. The ferryman Charon ferries the dead across the Acheron to a place where they lose memory. Nothing of what made them human remains—happiness, suffering, love, hatred, guilt, regret, redemption, betrayal, forgiveness. ¶ John Marciano’s recently published book, The American War in Vietnam, functions as such a Charon in reverse. It ferries readers back to the realm of remembering. This slim volume could not have come at a more opportune moment. American political culture is punch-drunk with the pursuit of war. The altered state is reaching the point of delirium tremens. Thwarted in the neocolonial scheme of annexing Syria by Russia’s legal intervention, the American elite are pushing for confrontation.… | more…

Silvertown: The Lost Story of a Strike that Shook London and Helped Launch the Modern Labor Movement

Lost Strike Revisited: John Tully’s Silvertown reviewed by Socialism & Democracy

The importance of revisiting past strikes lies not only in recovering the often hidden memory of working-class mobilisations, but also in revealing the dynamics of those strikes—whether victorious or not—so as to draw conclusions for future collective action. This is clearly the purpose of John Tully’s study of the great strike of labourers at the Silvertown rubber and electrical factory in London in 1889. Not only is this strike a forgotten chapter in the history of the New Unionism that ultimately gave rise to the modern British labour movement; in addition, the tactics first developed by the employers at Silvertown also ‘became a blueprint for British union busters to follow.… | more…

facing the anthropocene

“Live issue on the eco-left”: Facing the Anthropocene reviewed by Socialist Resistance

This book is the best I have seen, from a Marxist point of view, on the issue of the Anthropocene and its implications for life on this planet. It combines a clear warning of the scale of the crisis we face with a well informed exposition of what the Anthropocene is and why we need to take it seriously. ¶ It is an unequivocal declaration the Anthropocene is here, at that its implications, in terms life on this planet, including our own, are dangerous in the extreme, and that it now determines the framework in which the struggle to save the biosphere of the planet as a habitable space now takes place.… | more…

Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century

Imperialism in the 21st Century: “novel forms, old problems”: International Socialism review

The significance of John Smith’s book lies in his powerful critique of mainstream economics and official statistics as he attempts a renewal of dependency theory. Mobilising Marxist value theory to this end he argues that the Global South’s formal independence masks an abiding economic and political subordination to the imperialist powers and powerful Northern capitals. The book’s impact is reflected in the critical commentary that it has provoked, including on Michael Roberts’s blog.… | more…

Cuba: Its Hidden History and the U.S. Empire: 2 MRP books reviewed in International Socialism

A Hidden History of the Cuban Revolution: How the Working Class Shaped the Guerrillas’ Victory
By Steve Cushion
Cuba and the U.S. Empire: A Chronological History
By Jane Franklin
The last year and a half have left no doubt that the history of the Cuban Revolution will need to be revisited and probably rewritten. From the moment that Raúl Castro and Barack Obama met, and the American president visited the island, everything changed.… | more…

Facing the Anthropocene

Facing the Anthropocene reviewed in Socialism and Democracy

This book underscores the depth of the environmental crisis and, with its thorough grounding in the scientific literature, situates the onset of the crisis in geological as well as historical time. These two time-scales now converge, signifying the end of the ecological conditions that allowed the human species to flourish. ¶ Herein lies the drama—and, with it, the challenge—that we are now living….… | more…

Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century

“Open Veins of the Global South”: Imperialism in the 21st Century reviewed by Left Voice

Dhaka, April 24, 2013. On that day, the capital of Bangladesh hit the headlines around the world after the collapse of Rana Plaza, a monstrous eight-story building that housed several textile factories, a bank, and a few shops. It was one of the worst disasters ever seen in a workplace, causing the tragic death of 1,133 garment workers and injury of another 2,500. ¶ This crime is the starting point of the recently-published Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century: Globalization, Super-Exploitation, and Capitalism’s Final Crisis, in which John Smith presents the key pillars on which the current world capitalist system rests.… | more…

The American War in Vietnam: Crime or Commemoration?

“When memory yields to pride”: The American War in Vietnam reviewed by Counterfire

Professor John Marciano, long-time activist, campaigner and author, has been documenting this assault on the mind for decades. The American War in Vietnam: Crime or Commemoration? is his latest work, a slim but estimable text that offers a wide-ranging history of the war, the lies told then and now to justify and palliate it, and current perceptions of the conflict. ¶ This book truly sets the record straight, and tells the story of Vietnam as it should have been told all along – and should be forevermore.… | more…

Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century

“Humanity destroys capitalism or capitalism destroys humanity”: Imperialism in the 21st Century reviewed by Political Economy

In 2002 Anne Daly produced a documentary called Race to the Bottom, provoked by a fire that killed fifty-two workers in a garment factory in Bangladesh. John Smith’s book begins with the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013, when another garment factory collapsed and 1,131 workers died. Clearly, the race to the bottom continues…. ¶ Along with other examples of intensified exploitation, smartphone manufacture, and coffee-growing, John Smith connects the outsourcing of production to the lowest-wage economies with the nature of capitalism today.… | more…

Studs Terkel: Politics, Culture, But Mostly Conversation

Remembering Studs Terkel via Alan Wieder and Alternet

One of three sons of immigrant jews from Bialystok, Poland, Louis “Studs” Terkel was born on May 16, 1912, in New York City. In 1922, Studs moved with his parents and his two brothers to Chicago, where he lived for the rest of his life. Actor, disc jockey, author, raconteur, husband and father, Studs is probably best known as host of the The Studs Terkel Show from 1952 to 1997 on Chicago’s WFMT. The program earned him the title of ‘Mr. Chicago’ and many people in the city have said they always knew it was between ten and eleven in the morning if they caught an earful of his radio program….… | more…

Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century

John Smith’s “Rigorous Exposé Of Neoliberalism” in Britain’s The Morning Star

This seminal and original study of contemporary imperialism should be on every militant’s bookshelf, not least because it is tightly argued, exhaustively researched and unashamedly Marxist throughout. ¶ John Smith’s central argument is that the decline in manufacturing in the Western industrialised countries, and its rise in the so-called Third World, are part of a deliberate strategy by transnational corporations to exploit low wages, underpinned by appalling working conditions, in order to realise super profits….… | more…