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Between Capitalism and Community

Between Capitalism and Community

Karl Marx, in Capital, focused on capital and the capitalist class that is its embodiment. It is the endless accumulation of capital, its causes and consequences that are central to Marx’s analysis. In taking this approach, Marx tended to obscure not only the centrality of capital’s “immanent drive” and “constant tendency” to divide the working class but also the political economy of the working class (“social production controlled by social foresight”). In Between Capitalism and Community, Lebowitz demonstrates that capitalism contains within itself elements of a different society, one of community. If we are to escape the ultimate barbarism portended by the existing crisis of the earth system, the subordination of the system of capitalism by that of community is essential. | more…

Free Speech and the Suppression of Dissent During World War I

Free Speech and the Suppression of Dissent During World War I

World War I, given all the rousing “Over-There” songs and in-the-trenches films it inspired, was, at its outset, surprisingly unpopular with the American public. As opposition increased, Woodrow Wilson’s presidential administration became intent on stifling antiwar dissent. Wilson effectively silenced the National Civil Liberties Bureau, forerunner of the American Civil Liberties Union. Presidential candidate Eugene Debs was jailed, and Deb’s Socialist Party became a prime target of surveillance operations, both covert and overt. Drastic as these measures were, more draconian measures were to come. | more…

Sensing Injustice: A Lawyer's Life in the Battle for Change

Sensing Injustice: A Lawyer’s Life in the Battle for Change

Forthcoming in July 2021

By the time he was 26, Michael Tigar was a legend in legal circles well before he would take on some of the highest-profile cases of his generation. In his first U.S. Supreme Court case—at the age of 28—Tigar won a unanimous victory that freed thousands of Vietnam War resisters from prison. A relentless fighter of injustice—not only as a human rights lawyer, but also as a teacher, scholar, journalist, playwright, and comrade—Tigar has been counsel to Angela Davis, Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown), the Chicago Eight, and leaders of the Black Panther Party, to name only a few. It is past time that Michael Tigar wrote his memoir. | more…

Voices of Latin America: Social Movements and the New Activism by Tom Gatehouse and ed.

Voices of Latin America: Social Movements and the New Activism

These are uncertain times in Latin America. Popular faith in democracy has been shaken; traditional political parties and institutions are stagnating, and there is a growing right-wing extremism overtaking some governments. Yet, in recent years, autonomous social movements have multiplied and thrived. This book presents voices of these movement protagonists themselves, as they describe the major issues, conflicts, and campaigns for social justice in Latin America today. | more…

Postcard depicting heroes of the October revolution in Petrograd

The Western Left and the Russian Revolution

For a century, the counterrevolutionary reaction to the events of October 1917 has arguably been the most determining ideological factor in Western politics. Today the victory of that counterrevolution is complete, but Western powers still need their inherited antithesis, in changing form, as self-justification. | more…

The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers (2nd Ed.)

The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers (Second Edition)

U.S. immigration has been the subject of furious debates for decades. On one side, politicians and the media talk about aliens and criminals, with calls to “deport them all.” On the other side, some advocates idealize immigrants and gloss over problems associated with immigration. Dialogue becomes possible when we dig deeper and ask tough questions: Why are people in other countries leaving their homes and coming here? What does it mean to be “illegal”? How do immigration raids, prisons, and border walls impact communities? Who suffers and who profits from our current system—and what would happen if we transformed it? | more…

Women songwriters' workshop participants

Singing for Women’s Lives in Chile

In an idyllic canyon near Santiago, a group of twelve women were electric with emotion from sharing personal stories and experiences, and, of course, from singing. Deep bonds were forged among participants, few of whom knew each other prior to the workshop. They were there to compose women-identified songs in a setting that alternated between individual and group composition. | more…

Stripping Away Invisibility

Exploring the Architecture of Detention

tings chak, Undocumented: The Architecture of Migrant Detention (Montreal: Architecture Observer, 2014), 112 pages, 22 euros ($30.60 from Amazon), paperback.

Over the past six years, more than 100,000 people, including children, have been jailed in Canada, many without charge, trial, or an end in sight, merely for being undocumented.… Locked away from the public eye, they become invisible.… Like the people within, immigrant detention centers are often invisible as well. Photos and drawings of these places are rarely public; access is even more limited. Canada has three designated immigrant prisons, and it also rents beds in government-run prisons to house over one-third of its detainees.… Undocumented: The Architecture of Migrant Detention begins to strip away at this invisibility. In graphic novel form, Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist tings chak draws the physical spaces of buildings in which immigrant detainees spend months, if not years. In crisp black and white lines, chak walks the reader through the journey of each of these 100,000+ people when they first enter an immigrant detention center. | more…

Between Emigration and Crime

Latin Americans are not born-criminals nor did they invent drugs.

The Aztecs, Maya and other pre-Columbian human groups in Mexico and Central America, for example, were excellent farmers and didn’t even know about growing coca.

The Quechua and Aymara were capable of producing nutritious foods on perfect terraces that followed the mountain level curves. On the high plateaux that often exceeded three or four thousand metres in altitude, they grew quinua, a cereal rich in protein, and potatoes. | more…

The grave food crisis

Just 11 days ago, January 19, under the title “The time has come to do something,” I wrote:

“The worst is that, to a large degree, their solutions will depend on the richest and most developed countries, which will reach a situation that they really are not in a position to confront, unless the world which they have been trying to mold… collapses around them.” | more…

Another Tea Party Star

None other than Ileana Ros, the woman who kept the child Elián kidnapped in Miami, the promoter of coups d’état, crimes such as those committed by Posada Carriles and other heinous deeds, shall be travelling to neighbouring Haiti, where the earthquake killed a quarter of a million people and the cholera epidemic, in full swing, has taken the lives of almost 4,000 and is a threat for the rest of the continent. | 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…

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