“At a time when many people have fallen into despair, when our opponents seem invulnerable, it’s critical to have a magazine that challenges us to think, inspires us to action, and makes us realize that the impossible is only difficult, not insurmountable. That magazine is Monthly Review.”
HISTORY — Monthly Review began publication in New York City in May 1949. The first issue featured the lead article “Why Socialism?” by Albert Einstein. From the beginning, Monthly Review spoke for a critical but spirited socialism, independent of any political organization. In an era of Cold War repression, the magazine published pioneering analyses of political economy, imperialism, and Third World struggles, drawing on the rich legacy of Marxist thought without being bound to any narrow view or party line. The McCarthy-led inquisition targeted MR‘s original editors, Paul Sweezy and Leo Huberman, who fought back successfully. Against these odds, the magazine’s readership and influence grew steadily, and in 1952, Monthly Review Press published its first title, I. F. Stone’s Hidden History of the Korean War.
In the subsequent 1960s upsurge against capitalism, imperialism, and inequality, MR played a global role. A generation of activists received no small part of their education as subscribers to the magazine and readers of Monthly Review Press books. In the decades since, with the rise of neoliberalism and successive capitalist crises, MR has kept its commitment both to radical critique and to the building of a just economy and society.
For a more detailed look at MR‘s history, interested readers may consult this essay, published in 1999 for the magazine’s fiftieth anniversary.
“Monthly Review can show an impressive record of committed left publishing. Through the thick and thin of American politics it has continued to carry the standard of thoughtful and critical radicalism. International in scope, it has combined the best of the old left with creative insights of new social movements.”
In its nearly seventy-year history, MR has had only six editors. The original editors were economist Paul M. Sweezy and journalist and historian Leo Huberman. After Huberman’s death in 1968, Harry Magdoff joined Sweezy as coeditor, and together they led the magazine for the next three decades. Ellen Meiksins Wood served as editor from 1997 to 2000, when John Bellamy Foster and Robert W. McChesney took over primary editorial duties. Founding editor Paul M. Sweezy died in 2004, and Harry Magdoff in 2006.
TODAY — Under the current editorial committee, led by John Bellamy Foster, the magazine continues its long tradition of analyzing what is new together with the equally vital task of seeing the longer process. That tradition, as summarized by Paul Sweezy, is to see “the present as history.” In 2006, MR began a daily web magazine, MRzine, which in 2017 was migrated to a new project, MR Online, a forum for collaboration and communication between radical activists, writers, and scholars around the world.
Revenues from subscriptions and book sales have always fallen short of the demands on MR‘s resources. The contributions and gifts of a global community of several thousand people sustain MR. Today the magazine makes all new articles available for free online, and MR Online attracts a substantial and growing readership. If you have found our website of value, please consider subscribing to the magazine or, better yet, becoming an Associate.