In The Contradictions of Real Socialism Lebowitz provides an insightful and penetrating analysis of the problems with the ‘vanguard’ leadership and he offers a partial blueprint for the socialism of the future. This new type of socialism will be founded upon the full and democratic participation of the workers and its goal will be the production of richly developed human beings. While scholars of Marxism and socialism are likely to be more appreciative of the complexities and details of Lebowitz’s book, its overall outlines are sufficiently clear to the general reader. Furthermore, this book seems to be intended not just for the socialist audience, but appears to be designed for an even larger group of readers. Anyone interested in the complimentary problems of real leadership and of involving workers in determining their own destinies will find Lebowitz’s thought-provoking book of considerable interest.
Join Bruce Neuburger, author of Lettuce Wars: Ten Years of Work and Struggle in the Fields of California for three upcoming events in the Bay Area. Ann López, Executive Director of the Center for Farmworker Families, calls Lettuce Wars “compelling and often spell-binding … surely one of the most important contributions to the social justice literature exposing farmworker injustice at all levels,” and will be joining Bruce at one event.
In this incisive account, scholar Horace Campbell investigates the political and economic crises of the early twenty-first century through the prism of NATO’s intervention in Libya. He traces the origins of the conflict, situates it in the broader context of the Arab Spring uprisings, and explains the expanded role of a post-Cold War NATO. Campbell points out that while political elites in the West were quick to celebrate the intervention in Libya as a success, the NATO campaign caused many civilian deaths and destroyed the nation’s infrastructure. Furthermore, the instability it unleashed in the forms of militias and terrorist groups have only begun to be reckoned with, as the United States learned when its embassy was attacked and personnel, including the ambassador, were killed. Campbell’s lucid study is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand this complex and weighty course of events.
Nancy Stout is interviewed about her new biography of the Cuban revolutionary Celia Sánchez, One Day in December, on Vancouver Cooperative Radio. Click here to listen to her conversation with Mordecai Briemberg of the Redeye Collective.
The 2013 edition of Socialist Register is titled The Question of Strategy. However, because of the themes which this edition addresses, it could be titled ‘What is to be Done?’ The editors have designed this volume in conjunction with the Registers for 2011 and 2012. The aim of those two volumes was to analyze the global financial and economic crisis. The 2013 volume extends that analysis, but offers a more concentrated focus on the ‘choices faced by the Left today, the models of strategy available to it, and the innovations that are being made by groups as they organize in diverse
Many people will be aware that our economy is in trouble. And many will also be aware that it will stay in trouble for some time to come. The British government keeps on pushing its austerity agenda, which, in addition to wrecking the lives of hundreds of thousands of families and individuals who have their benefits slashed, further sucks demand out of the economy, making a speedy recovery increasingly unlikely. The developments in mainland Europe are similar. As European leaders force austerity policies on indebted countries, the outlook for the people across the continent is grim, and many will indeed think that what we have been living through since 2007 is an ‘endless crisis’.
For much of the 20th century, there was a curious mirror effect between orthodox Soviet and Chicago School ideologies — both saw the other as the only other possible economic system. Although both time and the ongoing global crisis of capitalism has begun to chip away at such a ridiculous binary, to a maddening degree this ideological straitjacket continues to assert itself. A straitjacket that does not spontaneously materialize but is crafted for the maintenance of power.
Few figures rival Ronnie Kasrils in personifying South Africa’s revolutionary trajectory from the day the armed struggle was launched in 1961 through to the messy, post-Apartheid present. Almost twenty years ago, no less a figure than Rusty Bernstein declared of Kasrils and the African National Congress’s armed wing, “You can cover the whole history of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) in the life and adult adventures of Ronnie Kasrils.” This year, activist scholar Patrick Bond noted that Kasrils is Africa’s “highest-profile white revolutionary.”…The Unlikely Secret Agent – his biography of his late wife, Eleanor – suggests however that Kasrils’ achievements are woven into his relationships. Even a cursory reading of this book provides often surprising insights into the material, political and emotional resources that South African revolutionaries drew on to resist the burgeoning Apartheid state of the 1960s.
Professor Tadeusz Kowalik (1926-2012) was one of the few Polish economists who consistently criticized Poland’s transformation to a market economy for failing to satisfy the material and social needs of the majority of the population. From Solidarity to Sellout presents a compilation of Kowalik’s writings on the subject over the past twenty years. As one of the leading intellectuals who supported the Polish working-class movement since the ’70s (especially during the Solidarity period), the author has an extensive knowledge of both the economic debate and the political meandering that took place in Poland after 1989.
It is impossible to fully understand Cuba today without also understanding the economic sanctions levied against it by the United States. In this concise and sober account, Salim Lamrani explains everything you need to know about U.S. economic sanctions against Cuba: their origins, their provisions, how they contravene international law, and how they affect the lives of Cubans. He examines the U.S. government’s own official documents to expose what is hiding in plain sight: an indefensible, vicious, and wasteful blockade that has been roundly condemned by citizens around the world.