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Race to Revolution by Gerald Horne

Race to Revolution reviewed by Counterfire

Gerald Horne’s new volume casts light on a ‘special relationship’ which is often ignored or forgotten: that of the United States and pre-revolutionary Cuba. Horne, a Marxist historian whose work has covered a multiplicity of themes including race, empire, revolution and communism, has been committed to the study of narratives and topics excluded from the (particularly US) mainstream. He describes the manner in which academic historians have generally dealt with communist history, for instance, as ‘incredibly biased, one-sided, deeply influenced by the conservative drift of the nation’.… | more…

E.P. Thompson and the Making of the New Left reviewed by Counterfire

The ‘left’ has been reborn many times over the last two centuries. Every renewal has carried with it traditions from past phases, with greater or lesser degrees of continuity, while establishing new relations and alliances in response to the changing structures of capitalism. This can be seen in the transition between radical Jacobinism and early forms of socialism, or between the Chartist movement and later nineteenth-century trade-union and socialist movements, and in other moments in the history of working-class politics. E. P. Thompson was a figure who both recaptured these transitions in his historical writing, and participated in a major re-orientation of left politics after the Soviet Union’s suppression of the Hungarian revolution in 1956.… | more…

Rebolusyon: A Generation of Struggle in the Philippines

Back in Print! Rebolusyon: A Generation of Struggle in the Philippines by Benjamin Pimentel

In 1969, Ferdinand Marcos won a second term as president, in one of the dirtiest campaigns in Philippine history. That same year, Edgar Jopson was elected president of the National Union of Students of the Philippines, in a campaign to keep the Communists out of the student movement. Thirteen years later Jopson was gunned down by the military during a raid on an underground safe house. He was by then one of the most wanted people in the country, with a price on his head, a leading Communist Party cadre and member of the urban underground.… | more…

left forum 2015

Monthly Review at the Left Forum, May 29-31, NYC

Join Monthly Review authors and many others at the Left Forum 2015 in New York City. This year’s conference theme is “No Justice, No Peace: Confronting the Crises of Capitalism and Democracy.” A unique phenomenon in the U.S. and the world, Left Forum convenes the largest annual conference of a broad spectrum of left and progressive intellectuals, activists, academics, organizations and the interested public. Conference participants come together to engage a wide range of critical perspectives on the world, to discuss differences, commonalities, and alternatives to current predicaments, and to share ideas for understanding and transforming the world. … | more…

Blowing the Roof Off the Twenty-First Century reviewed by Counterfire

At the end of the 1980s, the mood among anti-Apartheid activists was gloomy. Many of them considered the situation in South Africa to be as bad as ever, and chances of abolishing the racist system seemed slim. Two years later, Nelson Mandela was a free man, and a couple of years after his release, he was the first president of post-Apartheid South Africa. Robert McChesney tells this episode at the beginning of his latest book to point out a lesson of which we need to remind ourselves every so often: social change is rarely accurately predicted.… | more…

Read an excerpt from Robert McChesney’s Blowing the Roof Off the Twenty-First Century in Social Policy magazine

The major premises of the media reform movement remain unchanged: communication systems develop largely as a result of policies, since there is no such thing as a natural “default” course of development. From the development of copyright and postal subsidies for newspapers at the dawn of the Republic to the licensing of telephone, broadcasting, and cable TV monopolies, the state has been in the middle of the creation of the media. For example, the Internet’s shift from an anti-commercial, egalitarian institution in the early 1990s to a “whoever makes the most money by any means necessary wins” undertaking was not foreordained by the gods. It was the province of politics.… | more…

Blowing the Roof Off the Twenty-First Century reviewed in Too Much online

Activist University of Illinois scholar Robert McChesney has for some time now been a compelling voice on the “political economy of communication,” an emerging new discipline that’s probing how our media go about entrenching “the privileges of those at the top.” This field, McChesney argues in this engaging new book, belongs on our political center stage. Our deeply unequal social order, he explains, has simply ceased working for average people.… | more…

Labor in the Global Digital Economy by Ursula Huws

Labor in the Global Digital Economy reviewed in The Progressive Populist

Who is the cybertariat? Why care? Ursula Huws, author of Labor in the Global Digital Economy: The Cybertariat Comes of Age (Monthly Review Press, 2014), has answers as a class-based technology shapes our world. An historical continuity emerges in her writing. This approach casts context on the current moment.… | more…

Hell’s Kitchen and the Battle for Urban Space

Hell’s Kitchen and the Battle for Urban Space reviewed in New York History

Hell’s Kitchen’s tenements have long captured the attention of reformers, scholars, and the American public. In Hell’s Kitchen and the Battle for Urban Space, Joseph J. Varga combines a sophisticated use of critical space theory, with a nuanced investigation of social relations among residents, reformers, and state agencies, to shed light on development in this notorious neighborhood during the Progressive Era’s transformative years. Utilizing Henri Lefebvre’s understanding of space as “lived, conceived and perceived,” Varga reveals that the physical features of the area, social relationships of work and home, reform efforts, ethnic and racial alliances, and government allotment of funds played a role in creating and giving meaning to space on Manhattan’s Middle West Side.… | more…