Top Menu

The Owner Finally Agreed to the Workers’ Demands by Stephanie McMillan

The New Imperialist Structure

We have reached a level of centralization in capital’s power of domination, such that the bourgeoisie’s forms of existence and organization as known up to now have been completely transformed. Contemporary capitalism has become a capitalism of generalized monopolies. Monopolies no longer form islands in an ocean of corporations that are not monopolies—and consequently are relatively autonomous—but an integrated system, and consequently now tightly control all productive systems. Small and medium-sized companies, and even large ones that are not themselves formally owned by the oligopolies, are enclosed in networks of control established by the monopolies upstream and downstream. Consequently, their margin of autonomy has shrunk considerably. These production units have become subcontractors for the monopolies. This system of generalized monopolies is the result of a new stage in the centralization of capital in the countries of the triad that developed in the 1980s and ’90s. | more…

2019, Volume 71, Issue 03 (July-August 2019)
Continue Reading
Value Chains: The New Economic Imperialism by Intan Suwandi

Labor-Value Commodity Chains

The analysis of global commodity chains creates some crucial questions in relation to the nature of imperialism in the twenty-first century: (1) whether decentralized global commodity chains can be seen as constituting a decentralization of power among the major actors within these chains, and (2) whether the complexities of these chains suggest that the hierarchical, imperialist characteristics of the world economy have been superseded. I argue that the answer to both of these questions is no. Despite the seemingly decentralized networks, and notwithstanding the existing complexities that characterize global commodity chains, the capital-labor relations inherent in these chains are still imperialistic in their configurations. | more…

2019, Volume 71, Issue 03 (July-August 2019)
Continue Reading
Planet on Fire

Imperialism in the Anthropocene

Today there can be no doubt about the main force behind our ongoing planetary emergency: the exponential growth of the capitalist world economy, particularly in the decades since the mid–twentieth century. The mere critique of capitalism as an abstract economic system, however, is insufficient in addressing today’s environmental problems. Rather, it is necessary also to examine the structure of accumulation on a world scale, coupled with the division of the world into competing nation-states. Our planetary problems cannot realistically be addressed without tackling the imperialist world system, or globalized capitalism, organized on the basis of classes and nation-states, and divided into center and periphery. Today, this necessarily raises the question of imperialism in the Anthropocene. | more…

2019, Volume 71, Issue 03 (July-August 2019)
Continue Reading
A swastika painted on a wall in Sao Paulo, Brazil

The Preemptive Counterrevolution and the Rise of the Far Right in Brazil

During the 2018 Brazilian presidential elections, almost thirty years after the first democratic elections since the military dictatorship, Jair Bolsonaro took on the role of supposed underdog and, in the face of the collapse of the other center and right-wing bourgeois candidates, became the only one capable of countering the risk of the victory of the Workers’ Party. Bolsonaro, or the captain, as he is frequently called by his acolytes, is a sort of Donald Trump of the periphery—a second-rate Trump. Though he appears to be the most radical critic of the system, he is, in fact, the very image of the status quo, in all its brutality and rawness. | more…

2019, Volume 71, Issue 03 (July-August 2019)
Continue Reading
Protest against Michel Temer, São Paulo, Brazil (August 2016)

Contemporary Challenges for the Working Class and Peasantry in Brazil

In Brazil, there have been two recent parliamentary coups against the Workers’ Party and in favor of banks and corporations. Dilma Rousseff was impeached in 2016 and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was prevented from running for president, sequestered, and imprisoned. The electoral coups have resulted in a government without a social base in most of Brazilian society. It does not have a project for the majority or for the nation. It is just a project for international capital, dominated by banks and global corporations. This has led to a government made up of many nuclei of power that, despite internal contradictions, remain in agreement as a unit with regard to the project of capital. | more…

2019, Volume 71, Issue 03 (July-August 2019)
Continue Reading
The Communist Manifesto: 150th Anniversary Edition

A Note on the Communist Manifesto

This reprise of Harry Magdoff’s 1969 “A Note on the Communist Manifesto” remains as relevant as ever—perhaps even more so. While capitalism by its very nature lives by accumulation and geographic expansion, it does so in a most unequal fashion. Even though nothing in economics follows strict mathematical rules, there are notable tendencies produced by the inner springs of capitalism. An outstanding example of such a tendency is found in the distinct and marked widening of the gap between a handful of rich nations and the rest of the world. The accelerating globalization of our times demonstrates this polarization in no uncertain terms. | more…

2019, Volume 71, Issue 03 (July-August 2019)
Continue Reading
Break the Chains by Stephanie McMillan

Toward the Formation of a Transnational Alliance of Working and Oppressed Peoples

For the last thirty years, the world system has undergone an extreme centralization of power in all its dimensions—local and international, economic and military, social and cultural. Creating a new transnational alliance of workers and oppressed peoples must be the main objective for the genuine militants who are convinced of the odious nature of the world imperialist capitalist system that we have at present. It is a heavy responsibility and the task requires several years before reaping any tangible results. | more…

2019, Volume 71, Issue 03 (July-August 2019)
Continue Reading
Monthly Review Volume 71, Number 2 (June 2019)

June 2019 (Volume 71, Number 2)

The situation in Venezuela has become extremely dire due to Washington’s heightened economic warfare, its continuing attempts to engineer a political coup, and its growing threats of massive military intervention—all aimed at bringing down the Bolivarian Republic. The recent seizure of Venezuelan oil assets in the United States and its gold reserves in British banks, as well as the sanctioning of Venezuelan oil sales, have come on top of a long series of economic sanctions—beginning with the Obama administration and now intensified under Trump’s—that constitute nothing less than a modern form of siege warfare, extended to food supplies and medicine. But the Venezuelan Revolution has managed to resist in the face of the economic and political warfare of the most powerful imperialist nation in the world, and the reasons why are to be found in the nature of the Bolivarian Revolution and the Venezuelan people themselves. | more…

2019, Commentary, Volume 71, Issue 02 (June 2019)
Continue Reading
superbugs

Superbugs in the Anthropocene

The promise of a world without disease has been replaced by warnings of evermore virulent pathogens, created by the very drugs that were supposed to save us. Scarcely a day passes without more news of people contracting infections or infectious diseases that cannot be cured by the strongest medicines available. Antimicrobial Resistance is a global health crisis driven by two major factors: the spectacular ability of bacteria to adapt to threats, and a pharmaceutical industry and health care system that puts profit before people. In addition to devastating climate change, the Anthropocene may be defined by epidemics that medicine cannot cure. | more…

2019, Volume 71, Issue 02 (June 2019)
Continue Reading
US Primary energy consumption by source and sector 2017

Energy, Economic Growth, and Ecological Crisis

Can economic growth continue forever? This relatively simple question has posed some intellectual headaches for modern capitalism. Capital cannot tolerate any limits—that is, the drive for growth and the search for new markets are both necessary for the political and economic survival of capitalism. Viewed in this light, the implications of the question present something of an existential challenge to the current order. Capitalism cannot acknowledge any natural limits to economic growth, for that would mean acknowledging its ultimate demise. To keep up the pretense that capitalism represents a quasi-eternal and invincible system, most political leaders and economists who support the current order have begun reciting a series of elaborate narratives about the relationship between human economies and the natural world. | more…

2019, Volume 71, Issue 02 (June 2019)
Continue Reading
Gilets jaunes, acte XVIII

The Yellow Vests in France

The Yellow Vests (gilets jaunes) movement first appeared in October 2018 and is active everywhere in France. As this article was written, the spontaneous mobilization was in its twenty-first week. The demonstrations are mainly organized around traffic circles, where protesters block transportation lines. While their concrete demands are about wages, these demands are not presented by workers’ actions aimed at defending the value of labor power, but rather as part of a citizens’ movement, as referred to by the media and many of the demonstrators. In this way, the site of political confrontation has been shifted. | more…

2019, Volume 71, Issue 02 (June 2019)
Continue Reading