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Between Capitalism and Community

Between Capitalism and Community

Karl Marx, in Capital, focused on capital and the capitalist class that is its embodiment. It is the endless accumulation of capital, its causes and consequences that are central to Marx’s analysis. In taking this approach, Marx tended to obscure not only the centrality of capital’s “immanent drive” and “constant tendency” to divide the working class but also the political economy of the working class (“social production controlled by social foresight”). In Between Capitalism and Community, Lebowitz demonstrates that capitalism contains within itself elements of a different society, one of community. If we are to escape the ultimate barbarism portended by the existing crisis of the earth system, the subordination of the system of capitalism by that of community is essential. | more…

Value and Crisis: Essays on Marxian Economics in Japan, second edition

Marxist economic thought has had a long and distinguished history in Japan, dating back to the First World War. When interest in Marxist theory was virtually nonexistent in the United States, rival schools of thought in Japan emerged, and brilliant debates took place on Marx’s Capital and on capitalism as it was developing in Japan. Forty years ago, Makoto Itoh’s Value and Crisis began to chronicle these Japanese contributions to Marxist theory, discussing in particular views on Marx’s theories of value and crisis, and problems of Marx’s theory of market value. Now, in a second edition of his book, Itoh deepens his study of Marx’s theories of value and crisis, as an essential reference point from which to analyze the multiple crises that have arisen during the past four decades of neoliberalism. The promise of Marx’s theories has not waned. If anything—given the failure of Soviet-style socialism and the catastrophe of neoliberalism—it grows daily. | more…

Socialist Register 2021: Beyond Digital Capitalism: New Ways of Living

Every year since 1964, the Socialist Register has offered a fascinating survey of movements and ideas from the independent new left. This year’s edition asks readers to explore just how we need to live with new technologies. Essays in this 57th Socialist Register reveal the contradictions and dislocations of technological change in the twenty-first century. And they explore alternative ways of living: from artificial intelligence (AI) to the arts, from transportation to fashion, from environmental science to economic planning. | more…

Crisis and Predation: India, COVID-19, and Global Finance

Crisis and Predation: India, COVID-19, and Global Finance

With the advent of COVID-19, India’s rulers imposed the world’s most stringent lockdown on an already depressed economy, dealing a body blow to the majority of India’s billion-plus population. Yet the Indian government’s spending to cushion the lockdown’s economic impact ranked among the world’s lowest in GDP terms, resulting in unprecedented unemployment and hardship. Crisis and Predation shows how this tight-fistedness stems from the fact that global financial interests oppose any sizable expansion of public spending by India, and that Indian rulers readily adhere to their guidance. Meanwhile, under the banner of reviving private investment, India’s rulers have planned giant privatizations, and drastically revised laws concerning industrial labor, the peasantry, and the environment—in favor of large capital. | more…

Marx, Dead and Alive: Reading "Capital" in Precarious Times

Marx, Dead and Alive: Reading “Capital” in Precarious Times

Karl Marx saw the ruling class as a sorcerer, no longer able to control the ominous powers it has summoned from the netherworld. Today, in an age spawning the likes of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, our society has never before been governed by so many conjuring tricks, with collusions and conspiracies, fake news and endless sleights of the economic and political hand. And yet, contends Andy Merrifield, as our modern lives become ever more mist-enveloped, the works of Marx can help us penetrate the fog. In Marx, Dead and Alive—a book that begins and ends beside Marx’s recently violated London graveside—Merrifield makes a spirited case for a critical thinker who can still offer people a route toward personal and social authenticity. | more…

Venezuela, the Present as Struggle: Voices from the Bolivarian Revolution

Venezuela, the Present as Struggle: Voices from the Bolivarian Revolution

Venezuela has been the stuff of frontpage news extravaganzas, especially since the death of Hugo Chávez. With predictable bias, mainstream media focus on violent clashes between opposition and government, coup attempts, hyperinflation, U.S. sanctions, and massive immigration. What is less known, however, is the story of what the Venezuelan people—especially the Chavista masses—do and think in these times of social emergency. Denying us their stories comes at a high price to people everywhere, because the Chavista bases are the real motors of the Bolivarian revolution. This revolutionary grassroots movement still aspires to the communal path to socialism that Chávez refined in his last years. Venezuela, the Present as Struggle is an eloquent testament to their lives. | more…

Dead Epidemiologists: On the Origins of COVID-19 by Rob Wallace

Dead Epidemiologists: On the Origins of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic shocked the world. It shouldn’t have. Since this century’s turn, epidemiologists have warned of new infectious diseases. Indeed, H1N1, H7N9, SARS, MERS, Ebola Makona, Zika, and a variety of lesser viruses have emerged almost annually. But what of the epidemiologists themselves? Some bravely descended into the caves where bat species hosted coronaviruses, including the strains that evolved into the COVID-19 virus. Yet, despite their own warnings, many of the researchers appear unable to understand the true nature of the disease—as if they are dead to what they’ve seen. Dead Epidemiologists is an eclectic collection of commentaries, articles, and interviews revealing the hidden-in-plain-sight truth behind the pandemic: Global capital drove the deforestation and development that exposed us to new pathogens | more…

Washington Bullets: A History of the CIA, Coups, and Assassinations

Washington Bullets is about U.S. imperialism—the bullets sent by various Washington, DC administrations to crush revolutions, assassinate democratically elected leaders—to destroy hope. Focusing on the rising national liberation movements in the Third World after the Second World War and continuing up to the present, historian and journalist Vijay Prashad sets out a scathing indictment of U.S. imperialism, from the 1953 CIA-sponsored coup in Iran, to the twenty-first-century ousters of Dilma Rousseff in Brazil and Evo Morales in Bolivia.  | more…

Free Speech and the Suppression of Dissent During World War I

Free Speech and the Suppression of Dissent During World War I

World War I, given all the rousing “Over-There” songs and in-the-trenches films it inspired, was, at its outset, surprisingly unpopular with the American public. As opposition increased, Woodrow Wilson’s presidential administration became intent on stifling antiwar dissent. Wilson effectively silenced the National Civil Liberties Bureau, forerunner of the American Civil Liberties Union. Presidential candidate Eugene Debs was jailed, and Deb’s Socialist Party became a prime target of surveillance operations, both covert and overt. Drastic as these measures were, more draconian measures were to come. | more…

Cuban Health Care: The Ongoing Revolution

Quiet as it’s kept inside the United States, the Cuban revolution has achieved some phenomenal goals, reclaiming Cuba’s agriculture, advancing its literacy rate to nearly 100 percent—and remaking its medical system. Cuba has transformed its health care to the extent that this “third-world” country has been able to maintain a first-world medical system, whose health indicators surpass those of the United States at a fraction of the cost. Don Fitz combines his broad knowledge of Cuban history with his decades of on-the-ground experience in Cuba to bring us the story of how Cuba’s health care system evolved and how Cuba is tackling the daunting challenges to its revolution in this century. | more…

The Dawning of the Apocalypse: The Roots of Slavery, White Supremacy, Settler Colonialism, and Capitalism in the Long Sixteenth Century

The Dawning of the Apocalypse: The Roots of Slavery, White Supremacy, Settler Colonialism, and Capitalism in the Long Sixteenth Century

August 2019 saw numerous commemorations of the year 1619, when what was said to be the first arrival of enslaved Africans occurred in North America. Yet in the 1520s, the Spanish, from their imperial perch in Santo Domingo, had already brought enslaved Africans to what was to become South Carolina. The enslaved people here quickly defected to local Indigenous populations, and compelled their captors to flee. Deploying illuminating research, The Dawning of the Apocalypse is a riveting revision of the “creation myth” of settler colonialism and how the United States was formed. Here, Gerald Horne argues forcefully that, in order to understand the arrival of colonists from the British Isles in the early seventeenth century, one must first understand the “long sixteenth century”—from 1492 until the arrival of settlers in Virginia in 1607. | more…

Tell the Bosses We're Coming: A New Action Plan for Workers in the Twenty-First Century

Tell the Bosses We’re Coming: A New Action Plan for Workers in the Twenty-First Century

Lengthening hours, lessening pay, no parental leave, scant job security… Never have so many workers needed so much support. Yet the very labor unions that could garner us protections and help us speak up for ourselves are growing weaker every day. In an age of rampant inequality, of increasing social protest and strikes— and when a majority of workers say they want to be union members—why does union density continue to decline? Shaun Richman offers some answers in his book, Tell the Bosses We’re Coming. | more…

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