On January 25, 2015, the left-wing party, SYRIZA, won a stunning victory in Greece’s national elections. The new government, which says it intends to end the debilitating austerity measures forced upon Greece by the European Union, announced that the new Finance Minister is Yanis Varoufakis, a noted economist and good friend of Monthly Review (and MR author). We wish him well and trust that, unlike most economists, he will put his superb skills to work on behalf of the long-suffering Greek people and, indeed, all those oppressed by the policies imposed by the ruling classes of the European Union and United States.
As John Bellamy Foster writes in his foreword to the present book, “István Mészáros is one of the greatest philosophers that the historical materialist tradition has yet produced. His work stands practically alone today in the depth of its analysis of Marx’s theory of alienation, the structural crisis of capital, the demise of Soviet-style post-revolutionary societies, and the necessary conditions of the transition to socialism. His dialectical inquiry into social structure and forms of consciousness—a systematic critique of the prevailing forms of thought—is unequaled in our time.”
Join John Tully, author of Silvertown: The Lost Story of a Strike that Shook London and Helped Launch the Modern Labor Movement, for two upcoming book talks in Australia on February 10 in Melbourne and February 26 in Sydney.
This is a detailed book written by an academic who not only knows his subject and how to gather his research in a coherent way, but who also writes with an empathy and clear grasp of the desperations of these supposedly ordinary people who determined to take on a multinational British-based company at the centre of the British Empire and its establishment.
Critical insider examinations in English of the actual process of restoring capitalism from the “really existing” East European socialist economies are too rare. We have hindsight on the consequences of that restoration in several specific areas as, for example, on the weakness of their trade unions, and theoretical work by Janos Kornai and others. But now we have a genuine “insider” analysis by the prominent Polish political economist Tadeuz Kowalik (1926–2012) of how in his country an old economic system was created from the ashes of the new.
Winner of the 2013 Liberator’s Prize for Critical Thought! Over the last few decades Marta Harnecker has emerged as one of Latin America’s most incisive socialist thinkers. In A World to Build, she grapples with the question that has bedeviled every movement for radical social change: how do you construct a new world within the framework of the old? Harnecker draws on lessons from socialist movements in Latin America, especially Venezuela, where she served as an advisor to the Chávez administration and was a director of the Centro Internacional Miranda. For Harnecker, twenty-first century socialism is a historical process as well as a theoretical project, one that requires imagination no less than courage. She is a lucid guide to the movements that are fighting, right now, to build a better world, and an important voice for those who wish to follow that path.
Join Steve Early, author of Save Our Unions: Dispatches from A Movement in Distress for a panel discussion on Social Movement Unionism, with Mike Rotkin and Amanda Reyes. Friday Jan. 23, 1pm to 3pm, in the Redwood Lounge (across from the Baytree Bookstore), Quarry Plaza, 2nd Fl., University of California, Santa Cruz.
Mark Karlin: “In a Truthout Progressive Pick of the Week interview in 2013 about your book, Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism Is Turning the Internet Against Democracy, you reflected profound pessimism about the capture of the internet by large corporations – and the evolution of net consumers into marketing ‘products.’ Is the trend of the co-option of the web by a few large corporations accelerating?” Robert McChesney: “Whether the process is accelerating is a difficult question to measure or to answer. That the process exists and that it is the dominant fact about the internet is not controversial.”
In this volume, Screpanti (Univ. of Siena, Italy) offers a Marxist-inspired interpretation of the causes and consequences of the financial crisis that began in 2007. The author argues that the principal actors in the global economy are multinational firms and that, despite appearances to the contrary, national governments and international organizations largely serve their interests, while the citizens of the world are left to suffer the consequences.
The debate over how to save the labor movement suffers from a serious deficit of books written by organizers. Rarely do we get an entire book by someone who has been organizing for four decades, and is still actively engaged with union members, staff and leaders. Steve Early’s Save Our Unions doesn’t suffer from the luxury of being a memoir, but it is chock full of rich first-hand experience, as well as research, interviews, book reviews and labor history, followed by 26 pages of meticulous endnotes.
Young activists seeking an introduction to the contemporary US labor movement have few places to turn. There are countless histories of labor’s golden age in the middle of the twentieth century. But there are too few analyses which have the courage to be critical and the perspective to place the movement today in the context of the last 40 years of struggle. Fortunately for activists in search of such an introduction, one does exist now in Steve Early’s latest book, Save Our Unions (Monthly Review Press, 2013).
These are perilous times for capitalism, the reigning political economic system of the United States and the world. The economy is stagnating, and Mother Earth is gravely ill. In the second decade of the twenty-first century, we face widening economic inequality, plutocratic governance, endless militarism and mounting planetary ecological degradation. Not many years ago, this would have sounded hyperbolic to many people. But today, it is not just radicals who are sounding alarm bells.
In this concise and detailed work, Salim Lamrani addresses questions of media concentration and corporate bias by examining a perennially controversial topic: Cuba. Lamrani argues that the tiny island nation is forced to contend not only with economic isolation and a U.S. blockade, but with misleading or downright hostile media coverage. He takes as his case study El País, the most widely distributed Spanish daily. El País (a property of Grupo Prisa, the largest Spanish media conglomerate), has editions aimed at Europe, Latin America, and the U.S., making it a global opinion leader. Lamrani wades through a swamp of reporting and uses the paper as an example of how media conglomerates distort and misrepresent life in Cuba and the activities of its government.
In the last five years, three women have written biographies of Ernesto “Che” Guevara after five decades of his life story being solidly in the hands of men. The question is: do women write biography differently? Lucia Alvarez de Toledo is the most explicit about the issue of being a woman biographer. She points out that The Story of Che Guevara (Harper Collins, 2011), has been written by a Latin American, a native of Buenos Aires and a woman. Whatever the advantages of those territorial factors, it seems clear that her account benefits as well from her talent for critical analysis and willingness to go over old territory to find facts anew. No less important is its vantage point: a woman’s point of view. Partly because Alvarez was her subject’s contemporary and compatriot, this biography provides interesting details of and insights into Che’s youth and the environment that shaped him, information either unknown to or ignored by earlier biographers.
Wealthy and powerful countries have a variety of mechanisms available to them to control the fates of peoples in poor countries. These are not mutually exclusive, and most of poor countries have experienced more than one of these types of interventions. The use of propaganda, targeting populations both in the periphery and the metropole, was studied by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky in 1988, and since. The power of financial institutions in controlling the economies of dependent countries has been documented by many scholars, among them, for Haiti, Paul Farmer. US interventions specifically designed for electoral processes through State Department–sponsored organizations and others (called “democracy promotion”) have been analyzed by William Robinson and other scholars, including Nicholas Guilhot.