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People line up to vote in the European elections at the Central Station in Amsterdam, Netherlands May 23, 2019

The Elephant in the Room

Left Parties and the European Union

This article will be released in full online December 7, 2020.

European left parties have, over the last couple of decades, become increasingly critical of political developments in the European Union, particularly as a response to the austerity policies that followed the financial crisis of 2007–08 and the subsequent euro crisis. These were accompanied by high and sustained unemployment and promises of a social pillar that never materialized. Nevertheless, even if criticism of the European Union has sharpened, this has not been well reflected in the political strategies of the left. | more…

The Political Economy of Growth

Paul Baran’s Economic Surplus Concept, the Baran Ratio, and the Decline of Feudalism

This article will be released in full online December 14, 2020.

Recently published and estimated historical data illustrate that economic surplus declined during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries in England, helping explain the “crisis of feudalism” that started in the thirteenth century. It was not until several centuries later, when capitalism became the dominant economic system, that the economic surplus began to rise on a consistent basis, due to the reinvestment of a portion of the surplus into productive activities, a greater ratio of capital income to rental income, and a greater ratio of investment to economic surplus. | more…

Salmon and Acorns Feed Our People: Colonialism, Nature, and Social Action

Decolonization in Practice

Lessons from Karuk Nation

This article will be released in full online December 21, 2020.

Fundamental to Kari Marie Norgaard’s Salmon and Acorns Feed Our People is the seizure of land most evident in the overtly violent era of state-sanctioned frontier genocide and forced relocation of the Karuk. Settler colonialism, Norgaard reminds us, is an ongoing state-led project up to this day—it is not just a moment relegated to the past and, thus, the inherent treatment of Native Americans as relics of U.S. history must be challenged. | more…

The Long Deep Grudge: A Story of Big Capital, Radical Labor, and Class War in the American Heartland

The Left and the Class Struggle

This article will be released in full online December 28, 2020.

Both Toni Gilpin’s The Long Deep Grudge and Michael Goldfield’s The Southern Key offer ample evidence that the grand era of U.S. labor history scholarship is not yet past. The Long Deep Grudge is in equal parts labor history and family reminiscence as Gilpin seeks the fuller story of her father, who played a leadership role in the United Auto Workers union. The Southern Key is in many ways a study of a different variety, but very much of a similarly militant kind. Goldfield, a labor activist veteran himself, draws the big picture of what he sees as the central failure of the U.S. left: the failure to organize the South. | more…

Monthly Review Volume 72, Number 6 (November 2020)

November 2020 (Volume 72, Number 6)

In this issue of Monthly Review, we publish two articles marking the two-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Frederick Engels. In the attempt to address our planet’s ecological crisis, Engels’s work has once acquired a renewed importance. His analysis of the dialectics of nature was to play a formative role in the development of modern ecological and evolutionary views and is now being rediscovered in that context. | more…

A famous early photograph of Frederick Engels

Engels’s Dialectics of Nature in the Anthropocene

Today, two hundred years after his birth, Frederick Engels can be seen as one of the foundational ecological thinkers of modern times. Engels’s contributions to our understanding of the overall ecological problem remain indispensable, rooted in his own deep inquiries into nature’s universal metabolism. It is because of the very comprehensiveness of his approach to the dialectic of nature and society that Engels’s work can help clarify the momentous challenges facing humanity in the Anthropocene epoch and the current age of planetary ecological crisis. | more…

Portrait of Frederick Engels

Engels’s Emergentist Dialectics

In grasping emergent qualities and laws on various levels of organization of matter, dialectical theory employs its own conceptual structure, scientific language, and investigation method, and takes a categorially open-ended shape. In this context, Engels provides a remarkable illustration that not only argues for the interconnection and interpenetration of distinct spheres such as chemistry and biology, but also draws on a generative feature of self-organizing systems. | more…

Signs in Hamburg, Germany, April 11, 2020

The COVID-19 Pandemic Exposes Fatal Health Inequities

As stated in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, health is a fundamental human right. However, we find ourselves in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic with a shortage of both human and material health resources, most of which must be sourced from the private sector. Some of the wealthiest countries—France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States—have proved unable to respond rapidly. The evolution of public health over the past four decades, during which government health policies have reduced health services to commodities and objects of speculative investment, has led to the current crisis. | more…

A Grubhub delivery person checks his phone during the coronavirus pandemic on May 3, 2020 in New York City.

The Commodification of Online Cooperation

The story of the consumer’s involvement in the sphere of production is not new, as consumers have been providing unpaid labor to and otherwise subsidizing capitalism since at least the mid–twentieth century. Yet, as the economy has evolved so too have the scope and complexity of consumer work. | more…

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