Tuesday October 21st, 2014, 3:05 am (EDT)

History

The Reichstag Fire Trial, 1933-2008: The Production of Law and History

In the opening decade of the twentieth century the German national state united the great majority of the German speaking population of Europe, excluding only those in Switzerland and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and was among the leading states of the world. It boasted technologically advanced industry, among the highest per capita GDP, and the second largest army and third largest navy in the world. Germany was at peace, save for minor military operations against disobedient natives in Southwest Africa. It was a state that was among world leaders in providing basic social insurance, yet held sacred private property and the rule of law, except only in strictly prescribed areas of national security. In the opening decade of the twenty-first century the German national state unites the great majority of the German speaking population of Europe, excepting only those in Switzerland and Austria, its industry is technologically advanced and its per capita GDP high. Its military budget is the sixth largest in the world, and it is at peace, save for minor military operations against disobedient natives in Afghanistan. Despite cutbacks, few states in the world have better provision of basic social insurance, and Germany today prides itself on holding private property to be sacred and on its adherence to the rule of law, except for a few strictly prescribed areas of national security. In the fourth and fifth decades of the twentieth century the German national state committed crimes universally agreed to be the most horrendous in human history.… | more |

The Rise and Fall of the Third World

Vijay Prashad, The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World (New York: New Press, 2008), 384 pages, paper, $19.95.

Vijay Prashad’s The Darker Nations opens with the assertion that the third world was not so much a place as a project. His goal is to provide an account of the anticolonial and nonaligned movement rather than a full history of the under-developed world in the last half of the twentieth century. However, in this remarkable book, he does both. Born in the wake of the upheavals of the Second World War, the third world movement that took form at the Bandung Conference in 1955 was championed by the likes of Nehru, Nasser, Tito, Sukarno, and Nkrumah. Its leaders collectively called for national independence, economic development, and Cold War nonalignment while basing themselves on the support of millions of followers in the under-developed nations.… | more |

The Heights of the Ridiculous

Oh, I’m so scared! I just about died when I read the statements made by the U.D.I (Independent Democratic Union).… | more |

Chávez’ Article

It was 2006. I was really very ill but very much aware of what was happening. During those days around the middle of September, the XIV NAM Summit where Cuba was elected to the Presidency was ending. I could barely sit up and take my place at a table. That’s how I received some important heads of state or government. The Prime Minister of India was among them. The highest ranking visitor I received in that emergency room in the Presidential Palace was the Ghanaian Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations, who a few days later would be ending his mandate.… | more |

Che Guevara: His Revolutionary Legacy

Che Guevara

His Revolutionary Legacy

In this masterful new study, Besancenot and Löwy explore and situate Guevara’s ethical, revolutionary, and humanist legacy. They explicate Guevara’s emphasis on the importance of the individual coming to understand and accept socialism at a personal level. For Guevara, Besancenot and Löwy show, the revolutionary project demands more than a transformation of the mode of production; it demands a profound transformation of the individual, the birth of what Guevara termed the ‘new man.’ Besancenot and Löwy also explore Guevara’s pragmatic approach to the question of state power and unique theoretical contributions to the question of the transition to socialism.… | more |

Rahm Emanuel

What a strange surname! It appears Spanish, easy to pronounce, but it’s not. Never in my life have I heard or read about any student or compatriot with that name, among tens of thousands.… | more |

America Right or Wrong: Anglo-American Relations Since 1945

British subordination to the United States, the so-called special relationship as it is optimistically known in London, is so taken for granted that it is seldom subjected to critical scrutiny. Why is it that the British ruling class and its agents have since 1945 come to embrace a junior partnership in the U.S. empire so wholeheartedly? Most recently, the “special relationship” has seen the New Labor government actively support and take part in the invasion and occupation of Iraq in the face of a hostile public opinion. Indeed, the largest demonstration in British history, on February 15, 2003, was against British participation in this unprovoked war of imperialist aggression. The lying, dishonest pretext for the invasion together with… | more |

The Unknown Cultural Revolution

The Unknown Cultural Revolution

Life and Change in a Chinese Village

The Unknown Cultural Revolution challenges the established narrative of China’s Cultural Revolution, which assumes that this period of great social upheaval led to economic disaster, the persecution of intellectuals, and senseless violence. Dongping Han offers a powerful account of the dramatic improvements in the living conditions, infrastructure, and agricultural practices of China’s rural population that emerged in this period. Drawing on extensive local interviews and records in rural Jimo County, in Shandong Province, Han shows that the Cultural Revolution helped overthrow local hierarchies, establish participatory democracy and economic planning in the communes, and expand education and public services, especially for the elderly. Han lucidly illustrates how these changes fostered dramatic economic development in rural China.… | more |

Ecological Crises and the Agrarian Question in World-Historical Perspective

We are here to talk about the Agrarian Question, or rather, Agrarian Questions. The plural is important. We live in a modern world-system of unprecedented unevenness and complexity. This much, we all know. At the same time, it is no less important, I should add, to see this diversity from what Lukács once called the “point of view of totality.”1 The Agrarian Questions are not exclusive but rather mutually constitutive. However, they are not constitutive of each other in the fashion that has gained such widespread circulation these days within critical social science—that the local shapes the global no less than the other way around. Yes, local-regional transformations have always generated powerful contradictions that shaped in decisive ways the geography and timing of world accumulation and world power. The parts shape the whole. The whole shapes the parts. But never equally so… | more |

The Russian Orthodox Church

It is a spiritual force. In the critical moments of Russian history it played an important role. When the Great Russian War began after the treacherous Nazi attack, Stalin turned to it in support of the workers and peasants that the October Revolution made owners of the factories and the land.… | more |

The truth in battle and Martin Blandino’s book Part II

The intensity of the actions by the small group of MiG-21 pilots was related by the author as follows:… | more |

The Challenge and Burden of Historical Time

The Challenge and Burden of Historical Time

Socialism in the Twenty First Century

A breakthrough in the development of socialist thought, The Challenge and Burden of Historical Time is both a companion volume to Mészáros’s seminal Beyond Capital and a major theoretical contribution in its own right. Mészáros, one of the foremost Marxist thinkers of our age, focuses on the tyranny of capital’s time imperative and the necessity of a new socialist time accountancy, and provides a strong refutation of the popular view that there is no alternative to the current neoliberal order.… | more |

The two Koreas – Part 1

The Korean nation, with its unique culture that differentiates it from its Chinese and Japanese neighbors, has existed for three thousand years. These characteristics are typical of societies in that Asian region, including those of China, Vietnam and others. There is nothing like it in Western cultures, some of which are less than 250 years old.… | more |

Sincerity and the value of being humble

Any autobiographically-tinted writing forces me to clear up any doubts about decisions I made more than half a century ago. I am talking about subtle details, since the essential points are never forgotten. This is true for what I did in 1948, sixty years ago.… | more |

Pax Romana

I basically drew these data from statements made by William Brownfield, US ambassador to Colombia, from that country‘s press and television, from the international press, and other sources. It“s impressive the show of technology and economic resources at play.… | more |

The true story and the challenge of the Cuban journalists

Seven days ago I wrote about one of the great men in history: Salvador Allende, a man the world remembered with deep emotion and respect on his first centennial. However, no one quivered or even recalled the date of October 24, 1891, when the Dominican despot Rafael Leonidas Trujillo was born, eighteen years before our admired Chilean brother.… | more |

Salvador Allende: His Example Lives On

He was born one hundred years ago in Valparaiso, in southern Chile, on June 26, 1908. His father, a middle-class lawyer and notary, was a member of Chile’s Radical Party. When I was born, Allende was already 18 years old. He was pursuing secondary studies in high school in his native city.… | more |

Remembering Andre Gunder Frank While Thinking About the Future

Andre Gunder Frank’s very long itinerary as a critical social sci­entist was marked by one unbudgeable constant. He was always com­mitted to a left political agenda, and he was always analyzing the evolving current world situation as a left scholar-activist. I be­lieve that the best tribute I can offer him is to do the same. Gunder’s father, Leonhard Frank, a distinguished novelist and man of letters, wrote toward the end of his life a novel based on his own life. Its title was Links, wo das Herz ist (“My Heart Is on the Left”). This would have been the most appropriate title for Gunder’s own never-written autobiography.… | more |

Aimé Fernand Césaire (1913-2008): The Clarity of Struggle

The poet, dramatist, and politician, Aimé Césaire, who died on April 17, aged ninety-four, saw this work, indeed all his work, as a weapon, perhaps best exemplified in Une Tempète. In his introduction to it, Robin G. D. Kelley, wrote “the weapon of poetry may be Césaire’s greatest gift to a world still searching for freedom.”… | more |

Fanshen

Fanshen

A Documentary of Revolution in a Chinese Village

More than forty years after its initial publication, it is a rare, concrete record of social struggle and transformation, as witnessed by a participant. Fanshen continues to offer profound insight into the lives of peasants and China’s complex social processes. Rediscover this classic volume, which includes a new preface by Fred Magdoff.… | more |

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