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Jazz and Justice: Racism and the Political Economy of the Music by Gerald Horne

Jazz and Justice: Racism and the Political Economy of the Music

The music we call “jazz” arose in late nineteenth century North America—most likely in New Orleans—based on the musical traditions of Africans, newly freed from slavery. Grounded in the music known as the “blues,” which expressed the pain, sufferings, and hopes of Black folk then pulverized by Jim Crow, this new music entered the world via the instruments that had been abandoned by departing military bands after the Civil War. Gerald Horne’s Jazz and Justice: Racism and the Political Economy of the Music examines the economic, social, and political forces that shaped this music into a phenomenal U.S.—and Black American—contribution to global arts and culture. | more…

The Punishment Monopoly: Tales of My Ancestors, Dispossession, and the Building of the United States

Forthcoming in November 2019

Why, asks Pem Davidson Buck, is punishment so central to the functioning of the United States, a country proclaiming “liberty and justice for all”? The Punishment Monopoly challenges our everyday understanding of American history, focusing on the constructions of race, class, and gender upon which the United States was built, and which still support racial capitalism and the carceral state. After all, Buck writes, “a state, to be a state, has to punish … bottom line, that is what a state and the force it controls is for.”  | more…

The Return of Nature: Socialism and Ecology

Forthcoming in January 2020

Twenty years ago, John Bellamy Foster’s Marx’s Ecology: Materialism and Nature introduced a new understanding of Karl Marx’s revolutionary ecological materialism. More than simply a study of Marx, it commenced an intellectual and social history, encompassing thinkers from Epicurus to Darwin, who developed materialist and ecological ideas. Now, with The Return of Nature: Socialism and Ecology, Foster continues this narrative. In so doing, he uncovers a long history of efforts to unite issues of social justice and environmental sustainability that will help us comprehend and counter today’s unprecedented planetary emergencies. | more…

Cover of Chasing the Harvest

California’s Migrant Farmworkers

A Caste System Enforced by State Power

“No one comes out here. No one knows what we go through,” Roberto Valdez, a farmworker in the Coachella Valley town of Thermal, California, tells Gabriel Thompson, the interviewer and editor of Chasing the Harvest, a recently published book of interviews with farmworkers, growers, union activists, teachers, and others. And as one reads through the compelling stories that are told in the collection, one gets a deep sense of what Roberto means, as well as a passionate urge to have others know of the life and work of those who labor in California’s fields. | more…

Hog Wild cover

Unionizing the World’s Largest Slaughterhouse

Capitalism has many victims, but few fare as badly as slaughterhouse workers. Every day, meatpacking workers risk life and limb to provide cheap meat for consumers. Despite this, political scientist Timothy Pachirat once described slaughterhouse work as a form of labor “considered morally and physically repellent by the vast majority of society that is sequestered from view rather than eliminated or transformed.” Yet, slaughterhouses are the sites of some of labor’s greatest triumphs. Lynn Waltz documents one such triumph in her book Hog Wild, which describes how meatpacking workers successfully established a union at the Tar Heel slaughterhouse in North Carolina. While Waltz focuses on the particular fight at the Tar Heel plant, the unionization success of the workers there provides important lessons for future labor struggles. | more…

Monthly Review Volume 70, Number 11 (April 2019)

April 2019 (Volume 70, Number 11)

Notes from the Editors

In the midst of the U.S.-directed coup attempt against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in January–February, Donald Trump delivered a number of verbal attacks on socialism in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua. The immediate object was to justify U.S. attempts to overthrow the Bolivarian Republic. The less immediate, but hardly less important, goal was to tarnish the growing social democratic (self-styled democratic socialist) movement in the United States, associated with figures like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In order to safeguard their ambitious social-reform program, the new coterie of Democratic Party socialists have thus sought to separate themselves from Venezuela and other Latin American socialist states, presumably abandoning these countries to their fates at the hands of U.S. imperialism. This raises the historic question of social imperialism—a policy of social reform at home and imperial hegemony abroad. | more…

Eugene V. Debs

The Debs Way

This reprise of “The Debs Way”—the text of an address Leo Huberman delivered at the Debs Centennial Meeting held at the Fraternal Clubhouse in New York City on November 28, 1955—not only reminds us of the importance of Eugene V. Debs to the history of socialism in the United States, but also brings out some of the core beliefs of Huberman’s own approach to socialism. While today’s conditions are of course vastly different from when the address was delivered more than sixty years ago, the basic principles that Huberman derives from Debs remain relevant.
Sex Work

Read Revolting Prostitutes

Your Socialism Depends on It

Revolting Prostitutes reminds readers that this struggle is at once bigger than any one sex worker’s immediate needs, but also must be precisely driven by these day-to-day needs. While this might at first seem contradictory, the book emphasizes how the collective workforce is constituted by individual workers with varied experiences, all of which are unique and valid. Narrative matters and, with Revolting Prostitutes, we are gifted one shaped by nuanced, considerate, care-informed members of the impacted working community. | more…

Navigating the Zeitgeist: A Story of the Cold War, the New Left, Irish Republicanism, and International Communism

Why would an American girl-child, born into a good, Irish-Catholic family in the thick of the McCarthy era—a girl who, when she came of age, entered a convent—morph into an atheist, feminist, and Marxist? The answer is in Helena Sheehan’s fascinating account of her journey from her 1940s and 1950s beginnings, into the turbulent 1960s, when the Vietnam War, black power, and women’s liberation rocked her bedrock assumptions and prompted a volley of life-upending questions—questions shared by millions of young people of her generation. But, for Helena Sheehan, the increasingly radicalized answers deepened through the following decades. | more…

A Socialist Defector: From Harvard to Karl-Marx-Allee

The circumstances that impelled Victor Grossman, a U.S. Army draftee stationed in Europe, to flee a military prison sentence were the icy pressures of the McCarthy Era. Grossman—a.k.a. Steve Wechsler, a committed leftist since his years at Harvard and, briefly, as a factory worker—left his barracks in Bavaria one August day in 1952, and, in a panic, swam across the Danube River from the Austrian U.S. Zone to the Soviet Zone. Fate—i.e., the Soviets—landed him in East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic. There he remained, observer and participant, husband and father, as he watched the rise and successes, the travails, and the eventual demise of the GDR socialist experiment. | more…

Monthly Review Volume 70, Number 9 (February 2019)

February 2019 (Volume 70, Number 9)

Notes from the Editors

Climatologist James Hansen’s 2018 “Climate Change in a Nutshell: The Gathering Storm,” known as the Nutshell document, is the single most important analysis currently available for general readers seeking to stay abreast of the science and politics of global warming. Nevertheless, denial of the extent of the conflict between capitalism and the climate remains pervasive. Such views were subjected to a strong refutation by Enno Schröder and Servaas Storm in a November 2018 paper entitled “Economic Growth and Carbon Emissions: The Road to ‘Hothouse Earth’ Is Paved With Good Intentions.” | more…