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Paramedics take a patient into emergency center at Maimonides Medical Center during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York, April 7, 2020

Racial Capitalism and COVID-19

This article will be released in full online March 8, 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp relief the deep structural problems affecting nonwhite racialized workers in the core and periphery. Yet, many social scientific analyses of the global political economy, at least in the pre-COVID era, are race neutral or willfully indifferent to the persistent racial pattern of global inequalities. Even if they do address legacies of colonialism, they ignore the ongoing racial logics of oppression embedded therein. | more…

Capital, Science, Technology

The Development of Productive Forces in Contemporary Capitalism

This article will be released in full online March 15, 2021.

Capitalist modernity not only contains profound contradictions, but is also undergoing a significant transformation. Far from acting as a driving force for the development of social productive forces, it has become a parasitic entity with an essentially rentier and speculative function. Underlying this is an institutional framework that favors the private appropriation and the concentration of the products of general intellect. | more…

Capital and Imperialism: Theory, History, and the Present

Those who control the world’s commanding economic heights, buttressed by the theories of mainstream economists, presume that capitalism is a self-contained and self-generating system. Nothing could be further from the truth. In this pathbreaking book—winner of the Paul A. Baran-Paul M. Sweezy Memorial Award—radical political economists Utsa Patnaik and Prabhat Patnaik argue that the accumulation of capital has always required the taking of land, raw materials, and bodies from noncapitalist modes of production. They begin with a thorough debunking of mainstream economics. Then, looking at the history of capitalism, from the beginnings of colonialism half a millennium ago to today’s neoliberal regimes, they discover that, over the long haul, capitalism, in order to exist, must metastasize itself in the practice of imperialism and the immiseration of countless people. | more…

Drivers United

Manipulations of Freedom

The Dirty Fight for Prop 22 and the Gig Economy

On California’s November 2020 ballot were some contentious and important issues, including Proposition 22, classifying rideshare drivers and app-based delivery workers as independent contractors. Gig economy giants Uber, Lyft, Doordash, and others spent a whopping $111 million on Prop 22. Of course, the companies had a lot to lose. If they were made to treat their drivers or delivery people as employees and compensate them accordingly, they would be bankrupted, they claimed. | 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…

Signs in Hamburg, Germany, April 11, 2020

The COVID-19 Pandemic Exposes Fatal Health Inequities

As stated in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, health is a fundamental human right. However, we find ourselves in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic with a shortage of both human and material health resources, most of which must be sourced from the private sector. Some of the wealthiest countries—France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States—have proved unable to respond rapidly. The evolution of public health over the past four decades, during which government health policies have reduced health services to commodities and objects of speculative investment, has led to the current crisis. | 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…

Demonstrators gesture as they attend a protest against police brutality and the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Frankfurt, Germany, June 6, 2020

COVID-19, Economic Depression, and the Black Lives Matter Protests

Will the Triple Crisis Bring a Working-Class Revolt in the United States?

Crisis reveals the fault lines in society. COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on our health and killing us in large numbers, bringing with it the most massive and steep economic collapse in U.S. history. Then, there was the murder of George Floyd and the resulting astonishing global protests against racism. Anyone can see that capitalism, facing no real opposition in decades, has reverted to its default position: only profit rules us and those with money will beat down those with none, without mercy or remorse. | more…

You can't have capitalism without racism

Modern U.S. Racial Capitalism

Some Theoretical Insights

In recent years, “racial capitalism” has ascended across the humanities and social sciences. It has arisen as a conceptual framework to understand the mutually constitutive nature of racialization and capitalist exploitation, inter alia, on a global scale, in specific localities, in discrete historical moments, in the entrenchment of the carceral state, and in the era of neoliberalization and permanent war. | more…

African American migratory workers in front of a 'juke joint' in Belle Glade, Florida (February 1941)

Race Is About More Than Discrimination

Racial Capitalism, the Settler State, and the Challenges Facing Organized Labor in the United States

Organized labor—based on white-exclusive and later white-dominated, though not necessarily exclusive, trade unions—formed itself as part of the settler state, not in the sense of being an apparatus of the state, but in the sense of accepting certain important precepts. The unions took for granted the nature of the settler state and, as such, conceived that the unions were to exist to serve the “legitimate” population, or at least the working class of the legitimate population. | more…

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