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Hell’s Kitchen and the Battle for Urban Space

NEW! Hell’s Kitchen and the Battle for Urban Space by Joseph J. Varga

Hell’s Kitchen is among Manhattan’s most storied and studied neighborhoods. A working-class district situated next to the West Side’s middle- and upper-class residential districts, it has long attracted the focus of artists and urban planners, writers and reformers. Now, Joseph Varga takes us on a tour of Hell’s Kitchen with an eye toward what we usually take for granted: space, and, particularly, how urban spaces are produced, controlled, and contested by different class and political forces.… | more…

The Endless Crisis

The Endless Crisis reviewed in New Politics

The Endless Crisis breathes new life into the once-prominent analysis of monopoly capitalism and rescues it from the quiet oblivion of discarded academic thought. The book has no interest in being a political pamphlet for social movements or focusing on the sociological ramifications of our moribund economy. Foster and McChesney demonstrate tremendous reserve by not filling the pages with polemical calls to action and discussing thorny questions of political strategy. Rather, the authors issue a wake-up call to the leftist intelligentsia who have largely abandoned the critiques of capitalism and retreated from the field of economics altogether. Marxists have been largely driven out of economics since allowing “capitalism,” a term embedded with history and sociological conflict, to be replaced with the sterilized and ahistorical term, “market economy.” The Endless Crisis is a focused and muscular work that ranks alongside the works of John Kenneth Galbraith, Paul Sweezy, Paul Baran and other great political economists who were unafraid to deliver sobering criticisms of modern capitalism. It is a robustly researched testament to the enduring relevance of Marxist theory in the 21st century.… | more…

Ruth First and Joe Slovo in the War Against Apartheid

Read another excerpt from Ruth First and Joe Slovo in the War against Apartheid on LINKS

JOE’S FIRST IMPRESSION of Ruth was that she and her intellectual friends at the University of the Witwatersrand were “just too big for their boots.” It was 1946, Joe was just returning from the army and the Second World War, and Ruth was in the midst of her social science studies at the university. They were both engaged in political protests and actions through the Communist Party of South Africa,already committed militants and engaged intellectuals, each looking toward a life of struggle for justice and equality. … | more…

Ruth First and Joe Slovo in the War Against Apartheid

Read an excerpt from Ruth First and Joe Slovo in the War against Apartheid on Truthdig

RUTH FIRST IS BURIED in Llanguene Cemetery in a dusty Mozambican suburb. Her grave lies next to those of other members of the African National Congress who were killed by the apartheid government in a 1981 raid, referred to as the Matola Massacre, where South African soldiers in blackface committed cold-blooded murder. Ruth’s killing was no less brutal: the South African regime sent a letter bomb that detonated in her hands and sent shrapnel into the bodies of her colleagues at Eduardo Mondlane University. Joe Slovo is one of two white South Africans that lie in rest at Avalon Cemetery in Soweto, one of Johannesburg’s massive black townships. His funeral, a national event, took place before a crowd of over 40,000 people packed into Orlando Stadium, home of Soweto’s premier soccer club, where he was eulogized by among others, the Chief Rabbi of South Africa, Cyril Harris.… | more…

John Bellamy Foster

John Bellamy Foster at the Left Forum Closing Plenary [video]

John Bellamy Foster, editor of Monthly Review and author, most recently, of The Endless Crisis (with Robert W. McChesney), gave an address at the closing plenary of the Left Forum on June 9, 2013, in New York City. He was joined by Alvaro Garcia Linera, Vice President of Bolivia; Catherine Mulder, John Jay College of Criminal Justice-CUNY and CUNY’s Murphy Institute; and Tadzio Muller, political scientist, climate justice activist, and translator, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.… | more…

Ruth First and Joe Slovo in the War Against Apartheid

NEW! Ruth First and Joe Slovo in the War against Apartheid by Alan Wieder; foreword by Nadine Gordimer

Ruth First and Joe Slovo, husband and wife, were leaders of the war to end apartheid in South Africa. Communists, scholars, parents, and uncompromising militants, they were the perfect enemies for the white police state. Together they were swept up in the growing resistance to apartheid, and together they experienced repression and exile. Their contributions to the liberation struggle, as individuals and as a couple, are undeniable. This book, the first extended biography of Ruth First and Joe Slovo, is a remarkable account of one couple and the revolutionary moment in which they lived. Alan Wieder’s heavily researched work draws on the usual primary and secondary sources but also an extensive oral history that he has collected over many years. By intertwining the documentary record with personal interviews, Wieder portrays the complexities and contradictions of this extraordinary couple and their efforts to navigate a time of great tension, upheaval, and revolutionary hope.… | more…

Ruth First and Joe Slovo in the War Against Apartheid

Read Nadine Gordimer's foreword to Ruth First and Joe Slovo in the War against Apartheid in Guernica Magazine

Joe Slovo and Ruth First. We are entering their paths. Both grew up unbelievers in Jewish or any religious faith. They met when Ruth was at the University of the Witwatersrand, Joe just returned from the South African Army in the war against Nazi Germany. His motivation for volunteering, eighteen years old, unemployed, lying about being underage for military call-up—his early alliance with communism, and so to the Soviet Union under attack—was decisive in the act. But there remained the devastating racial dilemma in South Africa. He wrote: “How do you tell a black man to make his peace with General Smuts—butcher of Bulhoek and the Bondelswarts?”… | more…

One Day in December: Celia Sánchez and the Cuban Revolution by Nancy Stout

One Day in December reviewed in Green Left Weekly

One Day in December shows that Sanchez’s greatness was the greatness of thousands. Likewise, it recasts the other leaders in a similar light. Castro’s leadership role is obvious, but he depended on Sanchez and her networks to operate. Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos led famous guerrilla contingents, but they were dependent on the peasants who made up these columns, their guides, and the local underground networks that helped them establish new revolutionary structures as they liberated towns. This is the real strength of One Day in December … a book that should be read for all those who want to truly understand the Cuban revolution.… | more…

Lettuce Wars: Ten Years of Work and Struggle in the Fields of California

Lettuce Wars reviewed in Z Magazine

What happens when farm workers try to form unions? Bruce Neuburger in Lettuce Wars: Ten Years Of Work And Struggle In The Fields Of California has answers in a memoir of sympathy, solidarity, and wry humor. Upon losing a job as a cook in 1971, the author migrated to the Salinas Valley, a vast agribusiness area in the Golden State where the maltreatment of farm laborers—a tale of long, precarious hours for low pay—does not stop when the working day ends. Their national and racial oppression in the U.S. is 24/7.… | more…

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