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Value Chains: The New Economic Imperialism by Intan Suwandi

Labor-Value Commodity Chains

The Hidden Abode of Global Production

This article will be released in full online July 22, 2019.

The analysis of global commodity chains creates some crucial questions in relation to the nature of imperialism in the twenty-first century: (1) whether decentralized global commodity chains can be seen as constituting a decentralization of power among the major actors within these chains, and (2) whether the complexities of these chains suggest that the hierarchical, imperialist characteristics of the world economy have been superseded. I argue that the answer to both of these questions is no. Despite the seemingly decentralized networks, and notwithstanding the existing complexities that characterize global commodity chains, the capital-labor relations inherent in these chains are still imperialistic in their configurations. | more…

Protest against Michel Temer, São Paulo, Brazil (August 2016)

Contemporary Challenges for the Working Class and Peasantry in Brazil

This article will be released in full online August 12, 2019.

In Brazil, there have been two recent parliamentary coups against the Workers’ Party and in favor of banks and corporations. Dilma Rousseff was impeached in 2016 and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was prevented from running for president, sequestered, and imprisoned. The electoral coups have resulted in a government without a social base in most of Brazilian society. It does not have a project for the majority or for the nation. It is just a project for international capital, dominated by banks and global corporations. This has led to a government made up of many nuclei of power that, despite internal contradictions, remain in agreement as a unit with regard to the project of capital. | more…

Break the Chains by Stephanie McMillan

Toward the Formation of a Transnational Alliance of Working and Oppressed Peoples

This article will be released in full online August 26, 2019.

For the last thirty years, the world system has undergone an extreme centralization of power in all its dimensions—local and international, economic and military, social and cultural. Creating a new transnational alliance of workers and oppressed peoples must be the main objective for the genuine militants who are convinced of the odious nature of the world imperialist capitalist system that we have at present. It is a heavy responsibility and the task requires several years before reaping any tangible results. | more…

Planning from Below: A Decentralized Participatory Planning Proposal by Marta Harnecker and José Bartolomé

Planning from Below: A Decentralized Participatory Planning Proposal

Political scientist, author, and activist, Marta Harnecker has devoted her life to collaborating in building radical democracy in Latin American communities where people have, for generations, experienced crushing poverty and a near complete loss of control over their lives. In South America and the Caribbean, but especially in Cuba and Venezuela, Harnecker has worked directly with disenfranchised workers and peasants. From the ground up, she has helped to build new structures and methods that bring to virtually unknown towns and provinces the full meaning of the Bolivarian revolution. In this latest work, Harnecker, with Spanish economist José Bartolomé, shares some of her wisdom on how this is being done, and how communities everywhere can gain empowerment. | more…

Karl Marx and the Birth of Modern Society: The Life of Marx and the Development of His Work (Volume I: 1818-1841)

For over a century, Karl Marx’s critique of capitalism has been a crucial resource for social movements. Now, recent economic crises have made it imperative for us to comprehend and actualize Marx’s ideas. But without a knowledge of Karl Marx’s life as he lived it, neither Marx nor his works can be fully understood. There are more than twenty-five comprehensive biographies of Marx, but none of them consider his life and work in equal, corresponding measure. This biography, planned for three volumes, aims to include what most biographies have reduced to mere background: the contemporary conflicts, struggles, and disputes that engaged Marx at the time of his writings, alongside his complex relationships with a varied assortment of friends and opponents. | more…

Gilets jaunes, acte XVIII

The Yellow Vests in France

People or Proletariat?

The Yellow Vests (gilets jaunes) movement first appeared in October 2018 and is active everywhere in France. As this article was written, the spontaneous mobilization was in its twenty-first week. The demonstrations are mainly organized around traffic circles, where protesters block transportation lines. While their concrete demands are about wages, these demands are not presented by workers’ actions aimed at defending the value of labor power, but rather as part of a citizens’ movement, as referred to by the media and many of the demonstrators. In this way, the site of political confrontation has been shifted. | more…

Value Chains: The New Economic Imperialism by Intan Suwandi

Value Chains: The New Economic Imperialism

Forthcoming in August 2019

Winner of the 2018 Paul M. Sweezy – Paul A. Baran Memorial Award for original work regarding the political economy of imperialism, Intan Suwandi’s Value Chains examines the exploitation of labor in the Global South. Focusing on the issue of labor within global value chains—vast networks of people, tools, and activities needed to deliver goods and services to the market and controlled by multinationals—Suwandi offers a deft empirical analysis of unit labor costs that is closely related to Marx’s own theory of exploitation. | more…

Shamrocks and Oil Slicks: A People’s Uprising Against Shell Oil in County Mayo, Ireland

Forthcoming in September 2019

County Mayo, Ireland, is spectacularly beautiful. Dolphins, whales, and seals frolic in bays, rivers teem with salmon. Into this tranquil, unspoiled region, in early 2002, came Shell Oil, announcing plans to build a gas refinery. Shell promised wonderful things: new jobs, improved roads, money for schools. Church officials called this project a “godsend,” while honest, hard-working families, who had lived in Mayo for generations, certainly saw no harm in the project. But when the citizens of County Mayo realized what Shell actually intended to do, they rose up. Shamrocks & Oil Slicks tells the story of County Mayo—the fishermen, farmers, teachers, business people—who, motivated by love for their environment, their community, and their country, fought one of the planet’s most powerful destroyers to a standstill. | more…

Socialist Register 2020: Beyond Market Dystopia: New Ways of Living

Forthcoming in December 2019

How can we build a future with better health and homes, respecting people and the environment? The 2020 edition of the Socialist Register, Beyond Market Dystopia, contains a wealth of incisive essays that entice readers to do just that: to wake up to the cynical, implicitly market-driven concept of human society we have come to accept as everyday reality. Intellectuals and activists such as Michelle Chin, Nancy Fraser, Arun Gupta, and Jeremy Brecher connect with and go beyond classical socialist themes, to combine an analysis of how we are living now with visions and plans for new strategic, programmatic, manifesto-oriented alternative ways of living. Crafted with purposeful hope in an age of despair, each essay in this volume aims to create a world of agency and justice. | more…

Abolitionist Socialist Feminism: Radicalizing the Next Revolution by Zillah Eisenstein

Abolitionist Socialist Feminism: Radicalizing the Next Revolution

The world is burning, flooding, and politically exploding, to the point where it’s become abundantly clear that neoliberal feminism—the kind that aims to elect The First Woman President—will never be enough. In her vibrant, politically personal essay, Zillah Eisenstein asks us to consider what it would mean to thread “socialism” to feminism; then, what it would mean to thread “abolitionism” to socialist feminism. Finally, she asks all of us, especially white women, to consider what it would mean to risk everything to abolish white supremacy, to uproot the structural knot of sex, race, gender, and class growing from that imperial whiteness. | more…

Anniversary of the Revolution in Tunisia

Decolonizing Justice in Tunisia

From Transitional Justice to a People's Tribunal

Building on decades of struggle, the January 2011 Tunisian uprising triggered a wave of popular revolt that spread across North Africa and West Asia. After the uprising, Tunisia became the focus of a celebrated project of transitional justice, which is now the globally mandated method of reconciling victims and perpetrators following a nonrevolutionary regime change. However, Tunisia’s process of transitional justice must be critically examined. The very paradigm employed—that is, the rule of law that transitional justice consistently seeks to impose—is skewed in favor of imperial interests, which can be traced to the paradigm’s origins in the mid–twentieth century victory of European powers over Nazi Germany and its allies. There are other models of justice, however, that are not rooted in this Eurocentric victor’s history, but instead derive from revolutionary traditions. A key one is the People’s Tribunal, used since the late 1960s. The convening of a People’s Tribunal in Tunisia could help amplify and extend the popular-justice claims that surfaced during the country’s recent transitional-justice process. Establishing such a tribunal might help build a symbolic reservoir and organizational force that could ultimately contribute to substantial revolutionary change in the country. | more…

Cover of Chasing the Harvest

California’s Migrant Farmworkers

A Caste System Enforced by State Power

“No one comes out here. No one knows what we go through,” Roberto Valdez, a farmworker in the Coachella Valley town of Thermal, California, tells Gabriel Thompson, the interviewer and editor of Chasing the Harvest, a recently published book of interviews with farmworkers, growers, union activists, teachers, and others. And as one reads through the compelling stories that are told in the collection, one gets a deep sense of what Roberto means, as well as a passionate urge to have others know of the life and work of those who labor in California’s fields. | more…