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Monthly Review Volume 72, Number 5 (October 2020)

October 2020 (Volume 72, Number 5)

Notes from the Editors

This special issue of Monthly Review, “China 2020,” is the product of a long period of cooperation with critical Chinese Marxist scholars. This has resulted in an extensive series of articles on contemporary Chinese social and economic relations since 2012, to which most of the authors in the present issue have previously contributed. It takes on a special significance due to the growing conflict between the United States and China, making critical Marxist analysis in this area all the more important. | more…

A clerk counts cash at a bank in Nantong, Jiangsu province

China 2020: An Introduction

In the twenty-first century, all signs are pointing to another period of hegemonic struggle over the world economy, this time between the United States and China, although complicated in this case by the unique, indeterminate aspects of the post-revolutionary Chinese social formation, which is neither entirely capitalist nor entirely socialist. | more…

Progress in phase-one trade deal talks signals hope

U.S.-China Trade War

Has the Real "Thief" Finally Been Unmasked?

In 2018, Washington launched the trade war against China. Measures included sharply increasing the customs tariffs borne by certain products imported from China, further barriers to imports from China, and sanctions against Chinese companies targeted by bans on the use of U.S.-made inputs. By June 2019, as tariff increases hit new sectors, China was no longer the United States’s largest trading partner. | more…

A Boeing factory in South Carolina, US, employs about 7,000 workers

Toward Delinking: An Alternative Chinese Path Amid the New Cold War

During the 1960s, China was effectively excluded from the two major camps: the Soviet camp and the U.S. camp. For about a decade, China was obliged to seek development within its own borders and thereby achieved some extent of delinking: a refusal to succumb to U.S.-eurocentric globalization and an embrace of a people’s agenda of development. While foreign relations were later normalized and China once again brought in foreign capital, since being explicitly targeted as the primary rival of the United States, however, the situation may again warrant moves toward delinking and searching for alternatives, with ups and downs along the way. | more…

New this week!
A farmer operates a harvester to reap rice in a field at Xiaogang Village in Fengyang County, east China's Anhui Province, on Sept. 27, 2018

Revisiting Collectivism and Rural Governance in China

The Singularity of the Zhoujiazhuang People's Commune

This article will be released in full online October 19, 2020.

Zhoujiazhuang is singular, being the only de facto people’s commune in China today. At present, Zhoujiazhuang still maintains the political, economic, and social structure that has been essentially in place since 1956. For over sixty years—since ten years before the Cultural Revolution and thirty-eight years after the dismantling of almost all people’s communes in 1982—Zhoujiazhuang has survived as an organizational unit over the same territory comprising the same six natural villages. | more…

Local staff members of Puhan cooperatives in the field

Negotiating Debt

The Making of Puhan Rural Community in North China

This article will be released in full online October 26, 2020.

Originally set up in 1998 in China, the Puhan Rural Community was the first peasant-initiated, cross-village organization established after the collapse of the top-down people’s communes and the implementation of the household responsibility system. Puhan learned a lesson about the exploitation of usurious microfinance and decided that it was capable of establishing a system of mutual aid credit by itself, changing the cultural emphasis on money. Its story of struggling with rural financial organizations opens up a debate on the trap of marketization and monetization, the root causes of loans and debts, the negotiating power of collectives, the production mode of ecological agriculture, and the redefinition of the commonwealth. | more…

Monthly Review Volume 72, Number 4 (September 2020)

September 2020 (Volume 72, Number 4)

Notes from the Editors

Climate change is just one part of a larger planetary emergency related to the crossing of planetary boundaries due to the system of capital accumulation. New diseases that can be transferred from animals to humans such as COVID-19 are another part. Knowledge of the overall planetary emergency in which the world is immersed, and its relation to capitalism, is thus crucial to our time. | more…

First climate demonstration in East Timor, in front of the government palace

The Renewal of the Socialist Ideal

Any serious treatment of the renewal of socialism today must begin with capitalism’s creative destruction of the bases of all social existence. Since the late 1980s, the world has been engulfed in an epoch of catastrophe capitalism, manifested today in the convergence of (1) the planetary ecological crisis, (2) the global epidemiological crisis, and (3) the unending world economic crisis. Added to this are the main features of today’s “empire of chaos,” including the extreme system of imperialist exploitation unleashed by global commodity chains; the demise of the relatively stable liberal-democratic state with the rise of neoliberalism and neofascism; and the emergence of a new age of global hegemonic instability accompanied by increased dangers of unlimited war. | more…

Demonstrators gesture as they attend a protest against police brutality and the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Frankfurt, Germany, June 6, 2020

COVID-19, Economic Depression, and the Black Lives Matter Protests

Will the Triple Crisis Bring a Working-Class Revolt in the United States?

Crisis reveals the fault lines in society. COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on our health and killing us in large numbers, bringing with it the most massive and steep economic collapse in U.S. history. Then, there was the murder of George Floyd and the resulting astonishing global protests against racism. Anyone can see that capitalism, facing no real opposition in decades, has reverted to its default position: only profit rules us and those with money will beat down those with none, without mercy or remorse. | more…

Indian and Chinese national flags flutter side by side at the Raisina hills in New Delhi, India, in this file photo

India, COVID-19, the United States, and China

Since the emergence of COVID-19, the United States has quite openly decided to use the crisis, at a global scale, as a weapon against its perceived rival, China. In this context, India has taken a number of steps to restructure its relation to China, asserting economic stances and implementing policies that are becoming more and more closely entwined with its geopolitical positions and aspirations. | more…

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