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Free Speech and the Suppression of Dissent During World War I

Free Speech and the Suppression of Dissent During World War I

Forthcoming in August 2020

World War I, given all the rousing “Over-There” songs and in-the-trenches films it inspired, was, at its outset, surprisingly unpopular with the American public. As opposition increased, Woodrow Wilson’s presidential administration became intent on stifling antiwar dissent. Wilson effectively silenced the National Civil Liberties Bureau, forerunner of the American Civil Liberties Union. Presidential candidate Eugene Debs was jailed, and Deb’s Socialist Party became a prime target of surveillance operations, both covert and overt. Drastic as these measures were, more draconian measures were to come. | more…

Washington Bullets: A History of the CIA, Coups, and Assassinations

Forthcoming in September 2020

Washington Bullets is about U.S. imperialism—the bullets sent by various Washington, DC administrations to crush revolutions, assassinate democratically elected leaders—to destroy hope. Focusing on the rising national liberation movements in the Third World after the Second World War and continuing up to the present, historian and journalist Vijay Prashad sets out a scathing indictment of U.S. imperialism, from the 1953 CIA-sponsored coup in Iran, to the twenty-first-century ousters of Dilma Rousseff in Brazil and Evo Morales in Bolivia.  | more…

Cuban Health Care: The Ongoing Revolution

Quiet as it’s kept inside the United States, the Cuban revolution has achieved some phenomenal goals, reclaiming Cuba’s agriculture, advancing its literacy rate to nearly 100 percent—and remaking its medical system. Cuba has transformed its health care to the extent that this “third-world” country has been able to maintain a first-world medical system, whose health indicators surpass those of the United States at a fraction of the cost. Don Fitz combines his broad knowledge of Cuban history with his decades of on-the-ground experience in Cuba to bring us the story of how Cuba’s health care system evolved and how Cuba is tackling the daunting challenges to its revolution in this century. | more…

You can't have capitalism without racism

Modern U.S. Racial Capitalism

Some Theoretical Insights

In recent years, “racial capitalism” has ascended across the humanities and social sciences. It has arisen as a conceptual framework to understand the mutually constitutive nature of racialization and capitalist exploitation, inter alia, on a global scale, in specific localities, in discrete historical moments, in the entrenchment of the carceral state, and in the era of neoliberalization and permanent war. | more…

African American migratory workers in front of a 'juke joint' in Belle Glade, Florida (February 1941)

Race Is About More Than Discrimination

Racial Capitalism, the Settler State, and the Challenges Facing Organized Labor in the United States

Organized labor—based on white-exclusive and later white-dominated, though not necessarily exclusive, trade unions—formed itself as part of the settler state, not in the sense of being an apparatus of the state, but in the sense of accepting certain important precepts. The unions took for granted the nature of the settler state and, as such, conceived that the unions were to exist to serve the “legitimate” population, or at least the working class of the legitimate population. | more…

The Civil War in the United States by Karl Marx

Marx and Slavery

This article will be released in full online August 24, 2020.

The rise to prominence of analyses of racial capitalism represents a breakthrough in Marxian theory. This has necessarily been accompanied by a critique of previous Marxian analyses, which all too often ignored or minimized the relation of slavery to capitalism. In recent years, however, these criticisms of orthodox Marxist treatments of slavery have been extended, much more problematically, to the work of Karl Marx himself. Although Marx never wrote a treatise on slavery, the issue of slave labor was woven into his analysis of social formations, both ancient and modern, and was inextricably intertwined with his treatment of wage labor. | more…

Venezuela, the Present as Struggle: Voices from the Bolivarian Revolution

Venezuela, the Present as Struggle: Voices from the Bolivarian Revolution

Forthcoming in October 2020

Venezuela has been the stuff of frontpage news extravaganzas, especially since the death of Hugo Chávez. With predictable bias, mainstream media focus on violent clashes between opposition and government, coup attempts, hyperinflation, U.S. sanctions, and massive immigration. What is less known, however, is the story of what the Venezuelan people—especially the Chavista masses—do and think in these times of social emergency. Denying us their stories comes at a high price to people everywhere, because the Chavista bases are the real motors of the Bolivarian revolution. This revolutionary grassroots movement still aspires to the communal path to socialism that Chávez refined in his last years. Venezuela, the Present as Struggle is an eloquent testament to their lives. | more…

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

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

Forthcoming in November 2020

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…

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

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

Forthcoming in December 2020

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…

Between Capitalism and Community

Between Capitalism and Community

Forthcoming in January 2021

Karl Marx, in Capital, focused on capital and the capitalist class that is its embodiment. It is the endless accumulation of capital, its causes and consequences that are central to Marx’s analysis. In taking this approach, Marx tended to obscure not only the centrality of capital’s “immanent drive” and “constant tendency” to divide the working class but also the political economy of the working class (“social production controlled by social foresight”). In Between Capitalism and Community, Lebowitz demonstrates that capitalism contains within itself elements of a different society, one of community. If we are to escape the ultimate barbarism portended by the existing crisis of the earth system, the subordination of the system of capitalism by that of community is essential. | more…

Jair Bolsonaro

The Brazilian Crisis and the New Authoritarianism

Three decades after liberal democracy replaced the military dictatorship of 1964–85, the far right in Brazil has made a comeback, most starkly with the electoral victory of Jair Bolsonaro in 2018. Bolsonaro, however, is not an isolated individual; rather, his government is characterized by an authoritarian style of neoliberalism built on a series of alliances, a prominent one of which is with the judiciary. This coalition boasts connections with the military and police forces, the evangelical religious right, and agribusiness. | more…