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Immigrant Labor and the New Precariat

Fighting the “Immigrant Threat” Narrative

Ruth Milkman’s latest book is a strong scholarly response to the “immigrant threat” narrative that has been central to U.S. politics in the last decades. In Immigrant Labor and the New Precariat, the distinguished labor and migration scholar has a clear goal: to reframe the conversation about migration and increased inequality in the United States, reversing the causal relation that blames migration for the U.S. working class’s current perils. | more…

Standing with Standing Rock Voices from the NoDAPL Movement

Standing with Standing Rock, Then and Now

This article will be released in full online January 25, 2020.

The story of the Indigenous movement to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline in 2016 and 2017 has been the subject of numerous articles and documentaries, many of which depict it mainly as an environmental and climate justice campaign to stop the pipeline from crossing the Mni Sose (Missouri River), just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. Nick Estes and Jaskiran Dhillon’s edited collection Standing with Standing Rock tells a richer and more complex story of decolonization and indigenization from the frontlines. | more…

Salmon and Acorns Feed Our People: Colonialism, Nature, and Social Action

Decolonization in Practice

Lessons from Karuk Nation

Fundamental to Kari Marie Norgaard’s Salmon and Acorns Feed Our People is the seizure of land most evident in the overtly violent era of state-sanctioned frontier genocide and forced relocation of the Karuk. Settler colonialism, Norgaard reminds us, is an ongoing state-led project up to this day—it is not just a moment relegated to the past and, thus, the inherent treatment of Native Americans as relics of U.S. history must be challenged. | more…

The Long Deep Grudge: A Story of Big Capital, Radical Labor, and Class War in the American Heartland

The Left and the Class Struggle

Both Toni Gilpin’s The Long Deep Grudge and Michael Goldfield’s The Southern Key offer ample evidence that the grand era of U.S. labor history scholarship is not yet past. The Long Deep Grudge is in equal parts labor history and family reminiscence as Gilpin seeks the fuller story of her father, who played a leadership role in the United Auto Workers union. The Southern Key is in many ways a study of a different variety, but very much of a similarly militant kind. Goldfield, a labor activist veteran himself, draws the big picture of what he sees as the central failure of the U.S. left: the failure to organize the South. | more…

Marriott strike in San Francisco, CA, October 2018

The Mexican and Latino Question

What Is to Be Done?

In his book Chicano Communists and the Struggle for Social Justice, Enrique M. Buelna examines the life of Ralph Cuarón, a Mexican-American or Chicano seaman, furniture maker, father, husband, and lifelong activist who joined the Communist Party at age 19 during the Second World War. The Communist Party, however, largely ignored Mexican workers and local members were not pleased with his organizing of that segment of the working class. In the early twenty-first century, the Mexican question remained, although it became known as the “Latino question” after considerable immigration from Central America in the 1980s and ’90s. In their book The Latino Question: Politics, Labouring Classes, and the Next Left, Armando Ibarra, Alfredo Carlos, and Rodolfo D. Torres deconstruct the word Latino, arguing that it homogenizes an extremely diverse population. | more…

Labor leader Clinton Jencks (center) in the fictionalized film "Salt of the Earth"

The Legacy of Clinton Jencks

In 1950, the mainly Mexican and Mexican-American members of the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers Local 890 went on strike against Empire Zinc in southern New Mexico. One of the only fair-haired and pale-skinned union men in meetings and jail was Mine Mill organizer Clinton Jencks. Raymond Caballero’s study, McCarthyism vs. Clinton Jencks, exhaustively details how the federal government brought the entire weight of its repressive apparatus down on the heads of Jencks, his family, and his union siblings. | more…

Health Care Under the Knife Moving Beyond Capitalism for Our Health

Health Care for Profit (Not Health)

A Sick System

Health Care Under the Knife, a collection of essays under the editorship of Howard Waitzkin, presents a vigorous critique of health within the context of capitalism, examining the extent to which the economy and its relations of production determine how health is socially distributed, the conditions of medical practice, and the structural organization of health systems. Rather than considering health as primarily a biomedical phenomenon and health systems as autonomous institutions, the volume recognizes the intricate fundamental relationship between health and the wider political, economic, and sociological context. | more…

Medicine Stories: Essays for Radicals

Healing the Hurricane in Our Chest

Healing through the stories we rescue and the history we make is what Aurora Levins Morales’s Medicine Stories: Essays for Radicals is about. The author, a historian curandera, compiled a series of twenty-eight essays in this second edition, published twenty years after the first. Levins Morales theorizes movements for social justice and how to overcome challenges faced by activists and all those fighting and resisting oppression. She does this through accounts of her studies, personal experiences, and social conditions, providing a view of the world that allows collective healing and encourages it in others through a comprehensive understanding of history. | more…

The Struggle for Development

The Case for Labor-Led Development

As Benjamin Selwyn points out in his sharp and thoughtful The Struggle for Development, capital-centered development deepens exploitation. Selwyn powerfully challenges the capitalist road to further immiseration for the majority of the world’s population, opening up an important discussion regarding what is to be done in the twenty-first century. An alternative form of development, led by the laboring classes, is not only necessary but possible. Above all, “labouring-class movements and struggles against capitalist exploitation can be, and are, developmental in and of themselves.” | more…

In the Red Corner

The Life of José Carlos Mariátegui

Mike Gonzalez’s new biography of JosŽ Carlos Mari‡tegui is an important attempt to introduce the Peruvian socialist to an English-speaking audience. It constitutes not so much a rediscovery of Mari‡tegui, but is itself part of a slow but steady embrace of a novel and innovative thinker broadly credited with the creation of a Latin American Marxism. | more…

The Mexican Revolution in Chicago

Revolutionary Mexico in Chicago

In The Mexican Revolution in Chicago: Immigration Politics from the Early Twentieth Century to the Cold War, John H. Flores illustrates the growth of the Mexican population in 1920s Chicago and how migrant communities situated and organized themselves politically in an often-hostile social environment. Drawing from political experiences in Mexico, Flores identifies and explores the evolution of a Mexican population whose identities and loyalties were shaped and divided by the Mexican revolutionary and counterrevolutionary processes in la patria (the homeland). | more…

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