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Eddie Conway and Paul Coates on February 20, 2020

These Brothers Chose Well

Writer, editor, and prison activist Susie Day has written a beautiful, heartrending, and inspiring account of the friendship between Paul Coates and Eddie Conway. Both were born in the late 1940s and grew up in Black communities—Paul in Philadelphia and Eddie in Baltimore. Both were members of the Black Panther Party in the late 1960s and early ’70s, and both were harassed by police for their radical activities as Party members. Eddie was wrongfully convicted of killing a Baltimore policeman and spent forty-four years in prison. Through it all, Paul was his steadfast friend and supporter, as well as partner in their political development and commitment to the liberation of Black people in the United States. | more…

Pete Seeger at the opening of a canteen for the United Federal Workers of America, a trade union representing federal employees, in then-segregated Washington, DC

Was Folk Music a Commie Plot?

The revival of folk music—music derived from rural southern sources, unamplified, and, to a large extent, comprised of old songs of anonymous origin—was more than just another fad. Folk music encapsulated longings for an idyllic past, for a time before crass commercialism turned music into a commodity, and for relationships between musicians and audiences that were egalitarian and holistic. | more…

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

Sensing Injustice: A Lawyer’s Life in the Battle for Change (FREE eBook!)

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…

A demonstration in Oporto in April 25, 1983

What We Recovered in the Revolution

Álvaro Cunhal's Five Days, Five Nights

A prolific political writer, Álvaro Cunhal—leader of Portugal’s Communist Party for half a century and central figure of the 1974 Carnation Revolution—revealed in 1994 that he had also written several novels under the pseudonym Manuel Tiago. One of these novels, Five Days, Five Nights, was only translated into and published in English in 2020. The novella manages to capture the complexities, loneliness, and bravery of ordinary people, highlighting how we are the ones who keep us safe. | more…

Red Star: The First Bolshevik Utopia by Alexander Bogdanov

Red Star

Coexistence in Alexander Bogdanov's Utopia

Alexander Bogdanov’s Red Star, published in 1908, was an attempt to reenergize the dejected revolutionaries whose efforts had been crushed during the 1905 Russian Revolution. The protagonist, Leonid, is a Russian revolutionary chosen, in the midst of the revolution, by the Martian expedition to visit their planet and learn about the centuries-old advanced form of communism there. Since the triumph of communism in Russia was the cause to which Leonid had decided to devote his life, he agrees to visit Mars so that he can absorb their ideas and principles. | more…

Socialist Register 2021: Beyond Digital Capitalism: New Ways of Living

Every year since 1964, the Socialist Register has offered a fascinating survey of movements and ideas from the independent new left. This year’s edition asks readers to explore just how we need to live with new technologies. Essays in this 57th Socialist Register reveal the contradictions and dislocations of technological change in the twenty-first century. And they explore alternative ways of living: from artificial intelligence (AI) to the arts, from transportation to fashion, from environmental science to economic planning. | more…

Marx, Dead and Alive: Reading "Capital" in Precarious Times

Marx, Dead and Alive: Reading “Capital” in Precarious Times

Karl Marx saw the ruling class as a sorcerer, no longer able to control the ominous powers it has summoned from the netherworld. Today, in an age spawning the likes of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, our society has never before been governed by so many conjuring tricks, with collusions and conspiracies, fake news and endless sleights of the economic and political hand. And yet, contends Andy Merrifield, as our modern lives become ever more mist-enveloped, the works of Marx can help us penetrate the fog. In Marx, Dead and Alive—a book that begins and ends beside Marx’s recently violated London graveside—Merrifield makes a spirited case for a critical thinker who can still offer people a route toward personal and social authenticity. | more…

Monthly Review Volume 72, Number 5 (October 2020)

October 2020 (Volume 72, Number 5)

Notes from the Editors

This special issue of Monthly Review, “China 2020,” is the product of a long period of cooperation with critical Chinese Marxist scholars. This has resulted in an extensive series of articles on contemporary Chinese social and economic relations since 2012, to which most of the authors in the present issue have previously contributed. It takes on a special significance due to the growing conflict between the United States and China, making critical Marxist analysis in this area all the more important. | more…

Democracy, Planning, and Big Data

A Socialism for the Twenty-First Century?

Starting in the late 1960s, the development of the productive forces of society entered a new stage: the Information Revolution, an era focused on the application of information theories such as cybernetics combined with advances in computer technology and digital communication networks, culminating in the Internet. Under capitalist conditions, this has already resulted in a knowledge economy, but the social, auto-regulatory possibilities it opens up are bound to be incompatible with the private appropriation characteristic of capitalism. | more…

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