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Cover of Chasing the Harvest

California’s Migrant Farmworkers

A Caste System Enforced by State Power

This article will be released in full online May 27, 2019.

“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

This article will be released in full online May 27, 2019.

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…

Left vs the extreme right

Scholarship on the Rise of the Right

Liberal Historians and the Retreat from Class

While the explosion of studies on the rise of the right has undoubtedly enriched our understanding of these powerful forces and individuals, we are due for critical assessments of these studies from the left. Over the past few decades, dismissals of class-based interpretations of history have plagued this type of scholarship. Expressed by some of the profession’s most institutionally privileged members, such dismissals have led to a narrowing of discussions and debates by limiting studies to the tensions between liberals and conservatives and by downplaying or ignoring leftist critiques of liberalism. | more…

Monthly Review Volume 70, Number 8 (January 2019)

January 2019 (Volume 70, Number 8)

Notes from the Editors

In this issue we commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the publishing of the definitive version of The Combahee River Collective Statement in Zillah Eisenstein, ed., Capitalist Patriarchy and the Case for Socialist Feminism. We are also extremely pleased to announce Monthly Review Press author Kohei Saito has won the prestigious Deutscher prize for 2018 for his Karl Marx’s Ecosocialism: Capital, Nature, and the Unfinished Critique of Political Economy. There is no doubt that this book constitutes one of the great works of Marxian theory in our time. | more…

BLM Protestors in Oakland, CA

A Black Feminist Statement

The most general statement of our politics at the present time would be that we are actively committed to struggling against racial, sexual, heterosexual, and class oppression and see as our particular task the development of integrated analysis and practice based upon the fact that the major systems of oppression are interlocking. The synthesis of these oppressions creates the conditions of our lives. | more…

The Coming of the American Behemoth

The Coming of the American Behemoth: The Origins of Fascism in the United States, 1920–1940

Most people in the United States have been trained to recognize fascism in movements such as Germany’s Third Reich or Italy’s National Fascist Party, where charismatic demagogues manipulate incensed, vengeful masses. We rarely think of fascism as linked to the essence of monopoly-finance capitalism, operating under the guise of American free-enterprise. But, as Michael Joseph Roberto argues, this is exactly where fascism’s embryonic forms began gestating in the United States, during the so-called prosperous 1920s and the Great Depression of the following decade. | more…

Monthly Review Volume 70, Number 7 (December 2018)

December 2018 (Volume 70, Number 7)

With the dramatic rise of eco-Marxism in recent years, a corresponding revolution has been taking place in studies of the human-nonhuman animal relationship. Previous critical analyses with respect to the position of animals in human society have been largely dictated by animal-rights discourse, more recently represented by figures such as Peter Singer. Many of these analyses contend that Karl Marx, Marxism, and historical materialism understand the human-nonhuman animal relationship through a dualist, “speciesist,” or human-centric, framework—a critique most famously championed by pioneering ecosocialist Ted Benton. This issue is dedicated to analyzing the theoretical propositions underlying Marx’s analysis and to demonstrate the antispeciesist and antidualist aspects of his evolutionary-materialist understanding. | more…

Mythologies of State and Monopoly Power

Mythologies of State and Monopoly Power

“Mythologies,” writes veteran human rights lawyer Michael Tigar, “are structures of words and images that portray people, institutions, and events in ways that mask an underlying reality.” For instance, the “Justice Department” appears, by its very nature and practice, to appropriate “justice” as the exclusive property of the federal government. In his brilliantly acerbic collection of essays, Tigar reveals, deconstructs, and eviscerates mythologies surrounding the U.S. criminal justice system, racism, free expression, workers’ rights, and international human rights. | more…

Black Lives Matter protesters kneel and raise their hands in London's Oxford Street on July 8, 2016

Beyond the Class–Race Binary

In his insightful new book, the historian David Roediger raises critical questions for scholar-activists seeking to understand white racism and contemporary capitalism and its class realities. He joins a long line of thinkers who have clearly recognized the need for both specifically racial and more universal, class-oriented programs of major social and economic change. | more…