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Inequality

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 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…

A Peoples History of Detroit

On Creative Destruction, Myths, and Revolution

It is a testament to the clarity and scope of Mark Jay and Philip Conklin’s vision that A People’s History of Detroit is replete with insights for those trying to make sense of these deeply uncertain and troubling times. In it, Jay and Conklin show that “in order to give a true ‘people’s history,’ one must do more than condemn the malevolence of those in power and celebrate the activists who have struggled for justice; one must also come to terms with the social system in which these people lived. In our case, this means confronting the logic of capital.” | more…

Disability rights activist outside Scottish Parliament, 30 March 2013

Disability and Welfare under Monopoly Capitalism

A historical-materialist analysis of the relationship between disability, the body, welfare, and capitalism is needed in order to further develop a Marxist understanding of disability. In this framework, we can see how the British welfare state, given recent changes to British disability policy, determines who is able-bodied and who is disabled, with this evaluation made in regard to the needs of monopoly capitalism. | more…

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

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…

Crisis and Predation: India, COVID-19, and Global Finance

Crisis and Predation: India, COVID-19, and Global Finance

With the advent of COVID-19, India’s rulers imposed the world’s most stringent lockdown on an already depressed economy, dealing a body blow to the majority of India’s billion-plus population. Yet the Indian government’s spending to cushion the lockdown’s economic impact ranked among the world’s lowest in GDP terms, resulting in unprecedented unemployment and hardship. Crisis and Predation shows how this tight-fistedness stems from the fact that global financial interests oppose any sizable expansion of public spending by India, and that Indian rulers readily adhere to their guidance. Meanwhile, under the banner of reviving private investment, India’s rulers have planned giant privatizations, and drastically revised laws concerning industrial labor, the peasantry, and the environment—in favor of large capital. | 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…

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…

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…

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