Friday August 29th, 2014, 1:18 am (EDT)

History

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 |

The Chinese victory (Part II)

When World War I broke out in 1914, China joined the allies. As recompense, China was promised that the German concessions in the province of Shandong would be returned to them at the end of the war. After the Treaty of Versailles, which President Woodrow Wilson imposed on friends and foes alike, the German colonies were transferred to Japan, a more powerful ally than China.… | more |

Never Forget the Class—or the Racial—Struggle

Peter Cole, Wobblies on the Waterfront: Interracial Unionism in Progressive-Era Philadelphia (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2007), 256 pages, hardcover, $40.00.

Peter Cole has offered an excellent historical examination of a poorly explored moment in labor history. His book, Wobblies on the Waterfront, explores the period (1913–22) when Local 8 of the National Industrial Union of Marine Transport Workers (of the Industrial Workers of the World [IWW]) was the preeminent force on the Philadelphia waterfronts.… | more |

Who Really Won the Space Race?

Last October’s anniversary of the launch of the Sputnik artificial satellite has led to much discussion as to who won the space race. Usually it is argued that the United States unproblematically “won.” But this is a very simplistic picture and one that should be challenged. Above all, the focus on nations “winning” or “losing” needs to be rejected. It is the rich and powerful who are doing the winning. And they can come from any country.… | more |

The War for Control of the Periphery

Steven Hiatt, ed., with introduction by John Perkins, A Game as Old as Empire: The Secret World of Economic Hit Men and the Web of Global Corruption (San Francisco: BK Currents, 2007), 310 pages, paper $24.95.

Just before John Perkins, author of the bestselling Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, decided it was no longer possible to remain silent about his intimate involvement in the economic warfare waged against the Global South, he sat despondently before the ruins of Ground Zero, totally incapable of visualizing the tragedy: all he could see was a U.S. contractor delivering millions of dollars of weapons to the mujahadeen in Afghanistan. Perkins understood himself—a former economic advisor for a multinational utilities contractor, similar to Bechtel—and others like him, to be products of a “system that promotes the most subtle and effective form of imperialism the world has ever witnessed.” Mainstream commentators addressing Perkins’s book ignored the vivid recounting of his own personal involvement as an economic hit man. This is undoubtedly because Perkins used this experience to emphasize the substantial connections between U.S. intelligence agencies, multinational corporations, and political elites of the Global South, laying bare the true motives of “development.” As an “economic hit man,” Perkins fabricated nearly every economic forecast he was asked to produce—as his bosses clearly expected him to do. This led him to repeatedly attack U.S. economic dogma in Confessions… | more |

On the Global Waterfront

On The Global Waterfront

The Fight To Free The Charleston 5

Longshoremen stand at the nexus of the global economy, handling nearly every cargo container that enters or leaves any country. Even in the face of the “containerization” of cargo in the 70s and 80s, a development that decimated longshore unions, they have managed to win contracts that provide exceptional benefits and high wages.… | more |

The Death and Life of Che

By the time Ernesto Che Guevara (1928–67) was executed on October 8, 1967, in La Higuera, Bolivia by soldiers under the direction of an agent of the Central Intelligence Agency, he had become a kind of ideological “fetish” for his Washington adversaries. For them Guevara was not simply some “terrorist” or “insurgent”—words used to describe him and his Cuban revolutionary comrades then, just as they are used to describe those who resist Western imperial designs today. He was something new in the context of the post-Second World War Cold War. The United States and its clients claimed they were engaged in a struggle to staunch “Soviet aggression” Moscow saw itself as engaged in a contest of competing systems: capitalism versus socialism. But from the outset of his political life, Che’s perspective was burnished in and energized by the immiseration and oppression he confronted in the “Third World.” … | more |

Magic Death for a Magic Life

I believe in the armed struggle as the only solution for peoples who fight to free themselves, and I am consistent with my beliefs. Many will call me an adventurer, and that I am; but of a different kind—of those who risk their skins to test their truths. It may be that this will be the end. I don’t seek it, but it is within the logical calculus of probabilities. If it should be so, I send you a last embrace. I have loved you much, but I have not known how to express my affection; I am extremely rigid in my actions, and I think that sometimes you did not understand me. Besides, it wasn’t easy to understand me, but just believe me today. Now, a will that I have polished with an artist’s loving care will sustain weak legs and tired lungs. I will do it….Give a thought once in awhile to this little soldier of fortune of the 20th century