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The Endless Crisis

The Endless Crisis reviewed on Marx & Philosophy Review of Books

This is a most remarkable and important book. It is political economy at its best. It offers a sophisticated explanation of the socio-economic crisis facing the global and domestic economies. The authors further argue that the socio-economic crisis cannot be resolved without a total transformation away from the oligopolistic capitalistic system. The work of Foster and McChesney can be embraced by all heterodox political economy traditions.  | more…

One Day in December: Celia Sánchez and the Cuban Revolution by Nancy Stout

Saul Landau reviews One Day in December on ZNet

“It’s about time,” I commented when I heard that Nancy Stout had written a biography of Celia Sanchez, a Cuban hero and a woman I had met several times around the filming I did with Fidel Castro in the 1960s and 70s. . . . Stout’s exploration of Celia’s life helps readers understand the nature of life in a small provincial town in the 1950s, and how revolutionaries had to hide from Batista’s police and simultaneously manage to integrate their times organizing insurrection with family and love life. . . . Stout used creatively her access to the official archives in Havana, discovering letters to and from Celia, memos from Fidel and notes that fill in details in the life of this remarkable revolutionary. | more…

What Every Environmentalist Needs To Know about Capitalism

What Every Environmentalist Needs To Know about Capitalism reviewed in the Australian Journal of Environmental Education

What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know about Capitalism is an important book on many levels. The authors’ ability to condense a large number of very complex environmental issues in a short and concise manner is commendable. Large-scale environmental issues provide context to the magnitude of the problem, while localised examples of devastation provide strong arguments for its impact, cause for concern and urgent need to respond. | more…

The Contradictions of “Real Socialism”

The Contradictions of "Real Socialism" reviewed on Organizing Upgrade

People should read this book for the very reason that it is not a blueprint for socialism, but because it provides a basis for deep ongoing discussions of what socialism should look like in the twenty-first century. I think that many of the theoretical points are the basis for a discussion on how socialists in the USA should be acting, what struggles are key, and how our struggles now lay a basis for a socialist future. | more…

The Contradictions of “Real Socialism”

The Contradictions of “Real Socialism” reviewed in Socialism & Democracy

The issue of “Real Socialism” has plagued the global Left since 1917. Michael Lebowitz brings to bear on it a sharp focus, informed not only by a thorough reading of Marx, but also by many years of activism, leavened by the extensive contacts he has gained with Cuban and Venezuelan protagonists during his recent years of residence in their respective countries. The main empirical reference in his present book is to the Soviet experience, in particular, to its last three decades (the 1950s to the 1980s), by which time the regime’s structures and institutions were firmly in place. While the general stance of recognizing the contradictions of this period has a long lineage, Lebowitz’s particular approach to defining them is new and fruitful. | more…

Lettuce Wars: Ten Years of Work and Struggle in the Fields of California

Read the Introduction to Lettuce Wars: Ten Years of Work and Struggle in the Fields of California

It was early evening, a few hours before my shift’s end. The cab line at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco was a crapshoot. Sit in line and take your chances or cruise the streets for fares in hope of being bounced around the city like a pinball. You got in line because, like the people who work slot machines, there’s always the chance of a jackpot. Here you invest your minutes, not your money, but the anticipation is similar. It was airport action that represented the most likely bonanza. Better odds here than cruising or taking your chances on a radio call—a rigged radio at that—though at the St. Francis you could easily end up waiting fifteen or twenty minutes for a $5 ride to the Wharf. | more…

The Contradictions of “Real Socialism”

The Contradictions of “Real Socialism” reviewed on Links: International Journal of Socialist Renewal

Michael Lebowitz offers a rigorous Marxist explanation of what went wrong in the USSR (and its allied countries). To Lebowitz (following Marx in this regard), a socialist society is one “that removes all obstacles to the full development of human beings” (p. 17). … Lebowitz has made a valuable contribution to our understanding of the Soviet experience. For revolutionaries who want to build a socialism that is an alternative to the misery of capitalism, while also learning from the mistakes of the past, this is a highly recommended work. | more…

An Introduction to Marx's Capital

CHOICE: "Essential" Introduction to the Three Volumes of Karl Marx’s Capital

This is an extraordinary book. Many volumes set out to explain the work of Karl Marx. A good number of these denounce him, but many sympathetic publications offer competing analyses of what he really meant, often flowing out of narrow sectarian interpretations. Heinrich’s greatest contribution comes in the first half of this surprisingly readable book, in which he carefully lays out the logic of how Marx constructed his work. | more…

An Introduction to Marx's Capital

An Introduction to the Three Volumes of Karl Marx’s Capital in Marx & Philosophy Review of Books

Heinrich provides a concise, clear and exemplary introduction to Capital. Because of its theoretical orientation I would venture to say that is also the most lucid introduction to the monetary theory of value in English. In addition Heinrich’s translator, Alexander Locascio, has done valuable work correcting some important mistranslations in the standard editions of Capital. I can therefore recommend Heinrich’s Introduction to readers of all levels who are interested in Capital. Those who have never read it before can benefit from its wide-ranging introduction to Marx’s mature thought. Those who have read Capital, but avoided the value theory debates, can benefit from its excellent discussion of value. Whilst theorists rooted in Hegelian-Marxism can benefit from the way in which Heinrich shows how section one of Volume 1 relates to all three volumes of Capital. For all these reasons An Introduction to the Three Volumes of Capital is far and away the best introduction to Capital in English. | more…

The Work of Sartre by István Mészáros

The Work of Sartre reviewed on Counterfire

István Mészáros’ newly expanded critical study of Jean-Paul Sartre not only makes a powerful case that Sartre was one of the great philosophers of the twentieth century, but also underlines his continuing importance as a thinker whose lifework is ‘manifestly representative of our time’ (p.141). In demonstrating Sartre’s strengths and integrity, Mészáros also reveals how his very failures are sources of illumination. Some of Sartre’s most ambitious works remained unfinished, and the reason lies in the contradictions at the core of the philosopher’s thinking, and also, as Mészáros points out, at the heart of late capitalist society. | more…

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