Top Menu

History

Structural Crisis in the World-System

Where Do We Go from Here?1

I have written repeatedly on the structural crisis in the world-system, most recently in New Left Review in 2010. So, I shall just summarize my position, without arguing it in detail. I shall state my position as a set of premises. Not everyone agrees with these premises, which are my picture of where we are at the present time. On the basis of this picture, I propose to speak to the question, where do we go from here?… | more…

The Trajectory of Historical Capitalism and Marxism’s Tricontinental Vocation

The long history of capitalism is composed of three distinct, successive phases: (1) a lengthy preparation—the transition from the tributary mode, the usual form of organization of pre-modern societies—which lasted eight centuries, from 1000 to 1800; (2) a short period of maturity (the nineteenth century), during which the “West” affirmed its domination; (3) the long “decline” caused by the “Awakening of the South” (to use the title of my book, published in 2007) in which the peoples and their states regained the major initiative in transforming the world—the first wave having taken place in the twentieth century. This struggle against an imperialist order that is inseparable from the global expansion of capitalism is itself the potential agent in the long road of transition, beyond capitalism, toward socialism. In the twenty-first century, there are now the beginnings of a second wave of independent initiatives by the peoples and states of the South.… | more…

Is There Anything More to Say About the Rosenberg Case?

For more than forty years, defenders of the Rosenbergs have offered an argument unchanged in its essentials. The prosecution obtained the ultimate punishment…[—and that] punishment…was disproportionate and barbaric. However, the Rosenbergs’ defenders now concede that “Julius Rosenberg, code-named ‘Antenna’ and later ‘Liberal,’ had worked as a spy for the Soviet Union.”… The reason for this turnaround is that in 1995 the federal government made public a series of cables, referred to as the “Venona” messages, which were exchanged between the Soviet government and its operatives in the United States during and after the Second World War.… At the end of the play [Waiting for Lefty] a man runs up the center aisle carrying important information that the title character has been killed. These days, I want to shout out to the audience, as did that man, but with a different message. My imagined dramatic scene goes as follows. “Wait, wait!… Listen to me. Please listen.… You’ve heard the Thesis of the defense. You’ve heard the Antithesis of the prosecution. Don’t you want to hear the Synthesis?”… | more…

The Time Has Come To Do Something

I shall relate a bit of history.

When the Spanish “discovered” us five hundred years ago, the estimated population on the Island was no more than 200,000 inhabitants who were living in harmony with nature. Their main sources of food came from the rivers, lakes and seas rich in protein; they were also carrying out a rudimentary form of agriculture that supplied them with calories, vitamins, mineral salts and fibre.… | more…

Without Violence, Without Drugs

Yesterday I analyzed the atrocious act of violence against U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, in which 18 people were shot, six died and another 12 were wounded, several seriously, among them the Congresswoman with a shot to the head, leaving the medical team with no alternative other than to try to save her life and minimize, as much as possible, the consequences of the criminal act.… | more…

A Colossal Madhouse

This is what the G-20 meeting that started yesterday in Seoul, the capital of the Republic of Korea, has been turned into.

Many readers, saturated with acronyms, may wonder: What is the G-20? This is one of the many miscreations concocted by the most powerful empire and its allies, who also created the G-7: the United States, Japan, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Canada.  Later on they decided to admit Russia in a club that was then called the G-8.… | more…

The Empire and the Right to Life of Human Beings

That’s terrific! So I exclaimed when I read down to the last line about the revelations of the famous journalist Seymour Hersh, printed in Democracy Now! and collected as one of the 25 most censored news items in the United States.

The material is entitled “The War Crimes of Stanley McChrystal, U.S. General” and it was included in Project Censored, put together by a university in California, including the essential paragraphs from those revelations.… | more…

The Empire from Inside (Part Two)

In yesterday´s Reflection there appears a key paragraph taken from Woodward´s book: “One important secret that has never been reported in the media, or anywhere else, was the existence of a covert army of 3,000 men in Afghanistan, whose objective was to kill or capture Taliban and sometimes venture into the tribal areas to pacify them and get support.” That army, created and handled by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), trained and organized as a “special force” has been made up on tribal, social, anti-religious and anti-patriotic bases; its mission is the follow-up and physical elimination of Taliban fighters and other Afghans, described as extreme Moslems.A Saudi recruited and funded by the CIA to fight against the Soviets when their troops were occupying Afghanistan has nothing in common with Al Qaeda and Bin Laden.When Vice President Biden traveled to Kabul at the start of 2009,David Mckiernan, chief of American troops in Afghanistan told him in answer to a question about Al Qaeda that he hadn´t seen one single Arab in two years there. Despite the relatively brief and ephemeral importance that the principal international press gave to “Obama´s Wars”, without a doubt these did not shirk from recording this revealing piece of news.… | more…

The Nuclear Winter and Peace

MORE than 20,000 nuclear weapons are in the hands of eight countries: the United States, Russia, France, the United Kingdom, China, Israel, India and Pakistan, some with profound economic, political and religious differences. The new START treaty, signed in Prague this April by the largest nuclear powers, is nothing more than an illusion in relation to the problem that is threatening humanity.… | more…

E.P. Thompson and the Making of the New Left: Essays and Polemics

E.P. Thompson and the Making of the New Left: Essays and Polemics

The essays in this book, many of which are either out-of-print or difficult to obtain, were written between 1955 and 1963 during one of the most fertile periods of E. P. Thompson's intellectual and political life, when he wrote his two great works, The Making of the English Working Class and William Morris: Romantic to Revolutionary. They reveal Thompson's insistence on the vitality of a humanistic and democratic socialism along with the value of utopian thinking in radical politics. Throughout, Thompson struggles to open a space independent of official Communist Parties and reformist Social Democratic Parties, opposing them with a vision of socialism built from the bottom up. Editor Cal Winslow, who studied with Thompson, provides context for the essays in a detailed introduction and reminds us why this eloquent and inspiring voice remains so relevant to us today. … | more…

Race to Revolution: The U.S. and Cuba during Slavery and Jim Crow

Race to Revolution: The U.S. and Cuba during Slavery and Jim Crow

The histories of Cuba and the United States are tightly intertwined and have been for at least two centuries. In Race to Revolution, historian Gerald Horne examines a critical relationship between the two countries by tracing out the typically overlooked interconnections among slavery, Jim Crow, and revolution. Slavery was central to the economic and political trajectories of Cuba and the United States, both in terms of each nation's internal political and economic development and in the interactions between the small Caribbean island and the Colossus of the North. Horne draws a direct link between the black experiences in two very different countries and follows that connection through changing periods of resistance and revolutionary upheaval. … | more…

U.S. Terrorism in Vietnam

Bernd Greiner, War Without Fronts: The USA in Vietnam, translated by Anne Wyburd and Victoria Fenn (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), 518 pages, $35.00, hardcover.

In late 1970, prompted by the debate over the exposure of U.S. atrocities in the village of Mỹ Lai, an anonymous GI wrote a letter to Army Chief of Staff William Westmoreland, claiming to have witnessed hundreds of acts of terrorism by U.S. soldiers during Operation Speedy Express. The campaign, intended to reclaim portions of the Mekong Delta, purportedly killed over ten thousand enemy but seized only seven hundred weapons.… | more…