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Work Work Work: Labor, Alienation, and Class Struggle

Work Work Work: Labor, Alienation, and Class Struggle

For most economists, labor is simply a commodity, bought and sold in markets like any other – and what happens after that is not their concern. Individual prospective workers offer their services to individual employers, each acting solely out of self-interest and facing each other as equals. The forces of demand and supply operate so that there is neither a shortage nor a surplus of labor, and, in theory, workers and bosses achieve their respective ends. Michael D. Yates, in Work Work Work: Labor, Alienation, and Class Struggle, offers a vastly different take on the nature of the labor market. | more…

Radek: A Novel

NEW! Radek: A Novel

Through this dramatic history by Stefan Heym, we become intimate with the story of the maverick and internationalist Karl Radek, known as the editor of the newspaper of record throughout the Soviet era, Isvestia. Beginning as Lenin’s companion at the dawning of the October Revolution, Radek later became Stalin’s favorite intellectual – only to find himself entangled in the great purges of the late 1930s and scripting his own trial. In this, his last historical novel, Heym reveals Radek as a brilliant Bolshevik journalist and politician who found himself at every turn of the wheel of fate. | more…

Panopticon

Panopticon

Capitalism’s two main underpinnings are control and exploitation/expropriation. While there are many sites of control they are all generally supportive of the interests of capital, namely, the endless drive to accumulate wealth. They all help to ensure that we behave so that the system continues to reproduce itself. Since workplaces are the sites where profits are extracted from our labor, it is here that control is most critical. | more…

Mészáros and Chávez: The Philosopher and the Llanero

What made István Mészáros’s life so fascinating, and relevant to issues of socialist construction, was that, having seen both sides of the Cold War, he came to perceive both “real socialism” and twentieth-century capitalism as two variants of the same system. He called this the capital system. The basic commonality among most countries of both the East and the West in the twentieth century was the extraction of surplus labor from workers who did not control their own work processes. | more…

Mészáros and Chávez: “The Point from Which to Move the World Today”

István Mészáros was a global thinker strongly committed to anti-imperialist struggles. In this respect, he allied himself with those fighting for socialist transformation in the Philippines, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Brazil, and elsewhere. He argued that in the descending phase of capitalism there was a “downward equalization of the rate of exploitation,” by which he meant a race to the bottom in wages and working conditions, enforced by a global system of monopolistic competition. | more…

New this week!
Magdalena was imprisoned on suspicion of being a communist

The Jakarta Method, Then and Now: U.S. Counterinsurgency and the Third World

Increasing numbers of left-wing activists around the world are turning to Vincent Bevins’s The Jakarta Method to learn more about the horrific atrocities committed by the United States against peoples’ struggles for the right to self-determination in the so-called postcolonial era. In particular, the book describes how imperialist expansion destroyed revolutionary struggles in the third world. | more…

An explosion caused by a police munition is seen during the storming of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, January 6, 2021

Giving War a Chance

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is the ultimate agenda-setting, strategic planning, and consensus-forming organization of the U.S. capitalist ruling class. The latest book to come out of the CFR orbit, Strategy of Denial (2021), thus provides an opportunity to concretely observe how the monopoly capitalist ruling class is preparing the people of the United States for what could be a catastrophic world war. | more…

Histories of Racial Capitalism

Histories of Racial Capitalism and the Dynamics of the Capitalist System

The term racial capitalism is a bit of a shibboleth. Those who invoke the phrase draw from a longstanding tradition of radical scholarship that brings attention to the material force of racialism in systems of capitalist domination. There is, however, a mounting critique that questions the term’s usefulness, casting doubt on the scholarly project initiated by Cedric Robinson. In the face of such concerns, Histories of Racial Capitalism is a much needed contribution. | more…

Beyond Leviathan: Critique of the State

The End of the Trilogy

In Beyond Leviathan: Critique of the State, István Mészáros closes a trilogy that was first outlined in Marx’s Theory of Alienation, later greatly developed in Beyond Capital, and is now concluded in this new work. Throughout his immensely rich work, Mészáros developed, amid many original formulations, an increasingly relevant concept: capital’s order of social metabolic reproduction. | more…