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President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, joined by the Presidential Cabinet members, pose for a Cabinet portrait Thursday, April 1, 2021, in the Grand Foyer of the White House

The Council on Foreign Relations, the Biden Team, and Key Policy Outcomes

Climate and China

We can analyze the new Biden administration, its personnel, and the policies it is likely to follow, especially on the all-important questions of the climate crisis and U.S. grand strategy toward China, by looking at the Council on Foreign Relations. | more…

Dissenting POWs: From Vietnam's Hoa Lo Prison to America Today

Dissenting POWs: From Vietnam’s Hoa Lo Prison to America Today

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Even if you don’t know much about the war in Vietnam, you’ve probably heard of “The Hanoi Hilton,” or Hoa Lo Prison, where captured U.S. soldiers were held. What they did there and whether they were treated well or badly by the Vietnamese became lasting controversies. As military personnel returned from captivity in 1973, Americans became riveted by POW coming-home stories. What had gone on behind these prison walls? Along with legends of lionized heroes who endured torture rather than reveal sensitive military information, there were news leaks suggesting that others had denounced the war in return for favorable treatment. What wasn’t acknowledged, however, is that U.S. troop opposition to the war was vast and reached well into Hoa Loa Prison. Half a century after the fact, Dissenting POWs emerges to recover this history, and to discover what drove the factionalism in Hoa Lo. | more…

Eddie Conway and Paul Coates on February 20, 2020

These Brothers Chose Well

Writer, editor, and prison activist Susie Day has written a beautiful, heartrending, and inspiring account of the friendship between Paul Coates and Eddie Conway. Both were born in the late 1940s and grew up in Black communities—Paul in Philadelphia and Eddie in Baltimore. Both were members of the Black Panther Party in the late 1960s and early ’70s, and both were harassed by police for their radical activities as Party members. Eddie was wrongfully convicted of killing a Baltimore policeman and spent forty-four years in prison. Through it all, Paul was his steadfast friend and supporter, as well as partner in their political development and commitment to the liberation of Black people in the United States. | more…

Pete Seeger at the opening of a canteen for the United Federal Workers of America, a trade union representing federal employees, in then-segregated Washington, DC

Was Folk Music a Commie Plot?

The revival of folk music—music derived from rural southern sources, unamplified, and, to a large extent, comprised of old songs of anonymous origin—was more than just another fad. Folk music encapsulated longings for an idyllic past, for a time before crass commercialism turned music into a commodity, and for relationships between musicians and audiences that were egalitarian and holistic. | more…

Sensing Injustice: A Lawyer's Life in the Battle for Change

Sensing Injustice: A Lawyer’s Life in the Battle for Change (FREE eBook!)

By the time he was 26, Michael Tigar was a legend in legal circles well before he would take on some of the highest-profile cases of his generation. In his first U.S. Supreme Court case—at the age of 28—Tigar won a unanimous victory that freed thousands of Vietnam War resisters from prison. A relentless fighter of injustice—not only as a human rights lawyer, but also as a teacher, scholar, journalist, playwright, and comrade—Tigar has been counsel to Angela Davis, Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown), the Chicago Eight, and leaders of the Black Panther Party, to name only a few. It is past time that Michael Tigar wrote his memoir. | more…

Capital and Imperialism: Theory, History, and the Present

Those who control the world’s commanding economic heights, buttressed by the theories of mainstream economists, presume that capitalism is a self-contained and self-generating system. Nothing could be further from the truth. In this pathbreaking book—winner of the Paul A. Baran-Paul M. Sweezy Memorial Award—radical political economists Utsa Patnaik and Prabhat Patnaik argue that the accumulation of capital has always required the taking of land, raw materials, and bodies from noncapitalist modes of production. They begin with a thorough debunking of mainstream economics. Then, looking at the history of capitalism, from the beginnings of colonialism half a millennium ago to today’s neoliberal regimes, they discover that, over the long haul, capitalism, in order to exist, must metastasize itself in the practice of imperialism and the immiseration of countless people. | more…

Drivers United

Manipulations of Freedom

The Dirty Fight for Prop 22 and the Gig Economy

On California’s November 2020 ballot were some contentious and important issues, including Proposition 22, classifying rideshare drivers and app-based delivery workers as independent contractors. Gig economy giants Uber, Lyft, Doordash, and others spent a whopping $111 million on Prop 22. Of course, the companies had a lot to lose. If they were made to treat their drivers or delivery people as employees and compensate them accordingly, they would be bankrupted, they claimed. | more…

The Ecological Revolution

Preface to the Persian Edition of The Ecological Revolution

The Ecological Revolution was first published a little more than ten years ago in April 2009, at a time when climate change had already been recognized as a pressing global issue for over two decades, but when there was still hardly any realistic discussion of its connection to capitalism or of the immense ecological and social revolution that would be required to overcome the Earth System crisis. Let us look back to understand the historical gulf separating that time from our own. | more…

A Peoples History of Detroit

On Creative Destruction, Myths, and Revolution

It is a testament to the clarity and scope of Mark Jay and Philip Conklin’s vision that A People’s History of Detroit is replete with insights for those trying to make sense of these deeply uncertain and troubling times. In it, Jay and Conklin show that “in order to give a true ‘people’s history,’ one must do more than condemn the malevolence of those in power and celebrate the activists who have struggled for justice; one must also come to terms with the social system in which these people lived. In our case, this means confronting the logic of capital.” | more…

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