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Protest against worker precariousness

The New Service Proletariat

From call centers to fast-food restaurants, the future of service work is one of precarious employment, with no stable schedules, wages, benefits, or union representation. Should these workers be considered part of a new service proletariat, or treated as a new class altogether, the “precariat”? | more…

Can the Working Class Change the World?

Can the Working Class Change the World?

Forthcoming in August 2018

One of the horrors of the capitalist system is that slave labor, which was central to the formation and growth of capitalism itself, is still fully able to coexist alongside wage labor. But, as Karl Marx pointed out, it is the fact of being paid for one's work that validates capitalism as a viable socio-economic structure. Beneath this veil of “free commerce”—where workers are paid only for a portion of their workday, and buyers and sellers in the marketplace face each other as “equals”—lies a foundation of immense inequality. Yet workers have always rebelled. They've organized unions, struck, picketed, boycotted, formed political organizations and parties—sometimes they have actually won and improved their lives. In his timely and innovative book, Michael D. Yates asks if the working class can, indeed, change the world. | more…

Organoponico Vivero Alamar

Cuba’s New Cooperatives

Historians have long documented the ways that capitalism drew its early accumulation from the dispossession of commonly owned resources—a process that continues to this day. Building a socialist society and economy can be thought of as a reversal of this process—a reclaiming of commons. The resources that contribute to human development do so best when shared and governed democratically. This includes not only the forests and fields of the pre-capitalist past, but also education and health care systems, parks and streets, waterways, and the shared culture, knowledge, and productive resources of a society. | more…

Industrial Workers of the World union label

One Big Union, One Long Fight

As the global economy grows increasingly unstable, undermining job security and the dignity of work, the IWW’s pioneering tactics, and perhaps even the union itself, may again be the means by which working people of all walks secure “the good things in life” while building “a new society within the shell of the old.” | more…

Fabricas recuperadas argentinas

Stronger Together?

At their best, worker cooperatives are among the most effective examples of radical democracy in action. A recent vogue for cooperatives as high-tech entrepreneurial endeavors, however, seeks to expand rather than challenge the rule of market economics. | more…

Monthly Review Volume 69, Number 4 (September 2017)

September 2017 (Volume 69, Number 4)

The publication last month of The Age of Monopoly Capital: The Selected Correspondence of Paul A. Baran and Paul M. Sweezy, 1949–1964, edited by Nicholas Baran and John Bellamy Foster, constitutes a landmark for Monthly Review Press. A historical document in itself, The Age of Monopoly Capital is not simply about the writing of their magnum opus, but also provides a window onto an entire era of American life. | more…

Workers at Scop-Ti in southern France

The Meaning of Work in a Sustainable Society

The idea of total liberation from work, in its one-sidedness and incompleteness, is ultimately incompatible with a genuinely sustainable society. The real promise of a system of labor beyond capitalism rests not so much on its expansion of leisure time, but rather on its capacity to generate a new world of creative and collective work, controlled by the associated producers. | more…

March to save City College San Francisco (CCSF)

What Happened at CCSF?

Did the accreditation crisis and subsequent labor struggle at City College of San Francisco represent a failure of union democracy, or a hard-won victory against corporate education reform? Rick Baum’s recent article on this question, “A Teachers Union Against Itself” (published the April 2017 issue of Monthly Review) prompted a lively response from AFT Local 2121 members and supporters. This correspondence article collects their letters, as well as a reply by Baum. | 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…

Montagnais and Nasquapee Lodges at Seven Islands

Nature, Labor, and the Rise of Capitalism

Capitalism was a radical break with the past: for the first time, production of basic goods was driven by the accumulation of wealth for its own sake, and not primarily to satisfy human needs. Likewise, we are alienated from the natural world, as the products of our own labor are no longer under our control. Our very perception of nature is shaped by an economic system that treats “the environment” as a collection of commodities to be exploited. | more…

City College of San Francisco Teachers Protest

A Teachers Union Against Itself

Organized Labor and the Crisis at City College of San Francisco

How did a community college that had managed to serve and retain most of its student population and remain fiscally sound amid a recession and a budget crisis become the target of condemnation by accrediting authorities? The answer involves a disastrous collision of corporate education reform, administrative arrogance, and timid, undemocratic union leadership. | more…

Frequency Spectogram

Astronauts at Work

The Social Relations of Space Travel

As astronauts penetrate ever further into the cosmos, how are their bodies and subjectivities being transformed? While space travel remains governed by mechanisms of power and domination that tend to treat astronauts as tools, the practice of “space medicine” is now beginning to interact with astronauts’ bodies in a more multidirectional, dialectical fashion. | more…

Memorial Day Massacre, 1937

Steelworkers in Struggle

Ahmed White’s vivid and deeply researched account of the Little Steel strike of 1937 makes an important contribution to our understanding of U.S. labor history, union organizing, and class conflict. It illustrates the tactical complexity of strikes, reveals the power and ruthlessness of employers, and demonstrates the risks of relying on the state to secure justice for working people. | more…

Union Power: The United Electrical Workers in Erie, Pennsylvania

Union Power: The United Electrical Workers in Erie, Pennsylvania

If you're lucky enough to be employed today in the United States, there's about a one-in-ten chance that you're in a labor union. And even if you’re part of that unionized 10 percent, chances are your union doesn't carry much economic or political clout. But this was not always the case, as historian and activist James Young shows in this vibrant story of the United Electrical Workers Union. The UE, built by hundreds of rank-and-file worker-activists in the quintessentially industrial town of Erie, Pennsylvania, was able to transform the conditions of the working class largely because it went beyond the standard call for living wages to demand quantum leaps in worker control over workplaces, community institutions, and the policies of the federal government itself. | more…

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