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Monthly Review Volume 72, Number 6 (November 2020)

November 2020 (Volume 72, Number 6)

In this issue of Monthly Review, we publish two articles marking the two-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Frederick Engels. In the attempt to address our planet’s ecological crisis, Engels’s work has once acquired a renewed importance. His analysis of the dialectics of nature was to play a formative role in the development of modern ecological and evolutionary views and is now being rediscovered in that context. | more…

A famous early photograph of Frederick Engels

Engels’s Dialectics of Nature in the Anthropocene

Today, two hundred years after his birth, Frederick Engels can be seen as one of the foundational ecological thinkers of modern times. Engels’s contributions to our understanding of the overall ecological problem remain indispensable, rooted in his own deep inquiries into nature’s universal metabolism. It is because of the very comprehensiveness of his approach to the dialectic of nature and society that Engels’s work can help clarify the momentous challenges facing humanity in the Anthropocene epoch and the current age of planetary ecological crisis. | more…

Portrait of Frederick Engels

Engels’s Emergentist Dialectics

In grasping emergent qualities and laws on various levels of organization of matter, dialectical theory employs its own conceptual structure, scientific language, and investigation method, and takes a categorially open-ended shape. In this context, Engels provides a remarkable illustration that not only argues for the interconnection and interpenetration of distinct spheres such as chemistry and biology, but also draws on a generative feature of self-organizing systems. | more…

New this week!
Facing the Anthropocene: Fossil Capitalism and the Crisis of the Earth System

Facing the Anthropocene: An Update

Scientific knowledge and debates in Anthropoene science have developed over the years, particularly in the two main fields involved: geology, which has mainly been concerned with formally defining the new epoch; and Earth System science, which studies the global biological, chemical, and physical changes that are reshaping the conditions of life on this planet. | more…

New this week!
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…

Rice fields in Jiande city, Zhejiang province, Sept 17, 2020

Tracing a Trajectory of Hope in Rural Communities in China

Survival Bricolage of Zhoujiazhuang and Puhan Rural Community

Zhoujiazhuang and the Puhan Rural Community offer contrasting experiences of how communities in different parts of China have responded to, negotiated, and undergone extensive changes during the last forty years since the reform policy was implemented in the country in 1979. | more…

A farmer operates a harvester to reap rice in a field at Xiaogang Village in Fengyang County, east China's Anhui Province, on Sept. 27, 2018

Revisiting Collectivism and Rural Governance in China

The Singularity of the Zhoujiazhuang People's Commune

Zhoujiazhuang is singular, being the only de facto people’s commune in China today. At present, Zhoujiazhuang still maintains the political, economic, and social structure that has been essentially in place since 1956. For over sixty years—since ten years before the Cultural Revolution and thirty-eight years after the dismantling of almost all people’s communes in 1982—Zhoujiazhuang has survived as an organizational unit over the same territory comprising the same six natural villages. | more…

Monthly Review Volume 72, Number 4 (September 2020)

September 2020 (Volume 72, Number 4)

Notes from the Editors

Climate change is just one part of a larger planetary emergency related to the crossing of planetary boundaries due to the system of capital accumulation. New diseases that can be transferred from animals to humans such as COVID-19 are another part. Knowledge of the overall planetary emergency in which the world is immersed, and its relation to capitalism, is thus crucial to our time. | more…

Poultry workers cut and trim chicken

Poultry and Prisons

Toward a General Strike for Abolition

Poultry-processing work lies within a larger web of carceral geographies that extend beyond the prison walls into factory floors, neighborhoods, and schools. These geographies depend on and are produced through racism, as the production of unequal vulnerability to premature death. Racial capitalism connects the poultry plant to the prison alongside the movement for abolition beyond the prison. | more…

Virus also reawakens Wests racism

The Yellow Plague and Romantic Anticapitalism

COVID-19 is a great revealer, laying bare the structures of racial disposability that have sacrificed people, from migrant detainees to meat packers. We are also witness to the rise of anti-Asian violence. Brutal attacks against Asian Americans have exposed the fraudulence of the model minority myth and the assimilationist paradigm that legitimizes state violence against Black and Brown bodies. | more…

The Return of Nature: Socialism and Ecology

Twenty years ago, John Bellamy Foster’s Marx’s Ecology: Materialism and Nature introduced a new understanding of Karl Marx’s revolutionary ecological materialism. More than simply a study of Marx, it commenced an intellectual and social history, encompassing thinkers from Epicurus to Darwin, who developed materialist and ecological ideas. Now, with The Return of Nature: Socialism and Ecology, Foster continues this narrative. In so doing, he uncovers a long history of efforts to unite issues of social justice and environmental sustainability that will help us comprehend and counter today’s unprecedented planetary emergencies. | more…

Monthly Review Volume 72, Number 1 (May 2020)

May 2020 (Volume 72, Number 1)

In its wider economic, ecological, epidemiological, and public health context, the current COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the enormous dangers of the metabolic rift in human ecology and epidemiology brought on by capitalist social relations in the age of monopoly-finance capital, global agribusiness, and intricate, globe-spanning supply chains associated with the extreme exploitation and expropriation of both human beings and nature. Neoliberalism, representing the inner logic of capitalism, has left the world vulnerable to catastrophe wherever it has come into play. | more…

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