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Hugo Chávez on the Failed Coup

This article is excerpted from Understanding the Venezuelan Revolution: Hugo Chávez Talks to Marta Harnecker to be published by Monthly Review Press in September. The book covers a wide range of topics, including Chávez’s political formation, the transformation currently taking place in Venezuela, and its place in the global context. In what follows, Chávez recounts the events of the failed coup d’etat of April 11, 2002.—Eds… | more…

Left-Indigenous Struggles in Bolivia: Searching for Revolutionary Democracy

La Paz, the Bolivian capital, rests in a deep valley in the heart of the Andes. The geographical terrain of the city is marked clearly with deep class divisions and the racist legacies of Spanish colonial impositions and ongoing internal colonialism, present since the founding of the republic in 1825. The indigenous peoples-over 60 percent of the population according to the 2001 census-have suffered at the bottom of a wickedly steep social hierarchy that whitens in accordance with class privilege… | more…

Can Germany’s Corporatist Labor Movement Survive?

For seven years Germany has been governed by a center-left coalition. This government was elected in 1998 because a majority of the electorate was tired of conservatives promising that fiscal austerity, lower unemployment benefits and social security, and restrained wage growth would bring prosperity and full employment. However, the new government’s program has made that of its predecessor look like neoliberalism with a human face. The new government, led by the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), has launched the most severe attacks on labor and social standards since the establishment of a welfare state after the Second World War. Since, for most of its history, the SPD has presented itself as the main force pushing for expansion of the welfare state, its anti-worker actions have deeply disappointed its followers and surprised its opponents… | more…

Basic Questions for Inner-Party Discussions

The basic questions on which the top leadership of our great and glorious Party, the CPN (Maoist), have had a debate and relative agreement but recurring dispute in one form or other for a long time, can be categorised as (i). ideological/philosophical questions (ii). politico-military questions (iii). organisational questions, and (iv) cultural questions. It is imperative to have a wide inner-Party debate on these questions and arrive at correct revolutionary conclusions … | more…

The Renewing of Socialism: An Introduction

Articles in Monthly Review often end by invoking the socialist alternative to capitalism. Readers in recent years have frequently asked us what this means. Didn’t socialism die in the twentieth century? Wasn’t it defeated by capitalism? More practically: if socialism is still being advocated what kind of socialism is it? Are we being utopian in the sense of advancing a pleasant but impossible dream?… | more…

Embedded with Organized Labor: Journalistic Reflections on the Class War at Home

Embedded with Organized Labor: Journalistic Reflections on the Class War at Home

Embedded With Organized Labor describes how union members have organized successfully, on the job and in the community, in the face of employer opposition now and in the past. The author has produced a provocative series of essays—an unusual exercise in “participatory labor journalism” useful to any reader concerned about social and economic justice. As workers struggle to survive and the labor movement tries to revive during the current economic crisis, this book provides ideas and inspiration for union activists and friends of labor alike.… | more…

Debate Over the Future of the AFL-CIO

More Heat than Light

A debate over the future of the AFL-CIO, the federation of most unions in the USA, has been underway for some months and, for the life of me, while the debate becomes more intense, the differences seem to blur. Yet, the feeling that one gets is that we are headed for a train wreck … | more…

A Note on the Death of Andre Gunder Frank (1929-2005)

I met André Gunder Frank and his wife Marta Fuentes in 1967. Our long conversation convinced us that we were intellectually on the same wavelength. “Modernization Theory,” then dominant, ascribed the “underdevelopment” of the Third World to the retarded and incomplete formation of its capitalist institutions. Marxist orthodoxy, as represented by the Communist Parties, presented its own version of this view and characterized Latin America as “semi-feudal.” Frank put forward a new and entirely different thesis: that from its very origins Latin America had been constructed within the framework of capitalist development as the periphery of the newly arising centers of Europe’s Atlantic seabord. For my part, I had undertaken to analyze the integration of Asia and Africa into the capitalist system in light of the requirements of “accumulation on a global scale,” a process that by its inner logic had to produce a polarization of wealth and power… | more…

Labor Movements: Is There Hope?

For the past thirty years, the class struggle has been a pretty one-sided affair, with capital delivering a severe beating to labor around the globe. When economic stagnation struck most of the world’s advanced capitalist economies, beginning in the mid-1970s, capital went on the offensive, quickly understanding that the best way to maintain and increase profit margins in a period of slow and sporadic economic growth was to cut labor costs. Governments and global lending agencies such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund began to implement policies that made workers increasingly insecure… | more…

The Legacy of the IWW

This year marks the centenary of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), American labor’s unique visionaries. It also marks the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the AFL-CIO, the result of the merger of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organization. Remarkably it is also the tenth anniversary of the change of the guard at the AFL-CIO. In 1995, John Sweeney and his “New Voice” team, expressing the rumblings of disillusionment with then-president and prominent Cold Warrior Lane Kirkland sweeping through the middle and upper ranks of the organization, drove the old guard from the highest offices. The concurrence of the three anniversaries may be more than a coincidence. To see why, let us go back and examine some recent labor history… | more…

Crisis in the U.S. Labor Movement: The Roads Not Taken

There is no disputing that these are tough times for the working class and its allies (all those oppressed by capitalism). The working class lacks a political party; social services to assist us with the inevitable problems we face have been eroded; and even our few precious institutions, especially unions, seem overwhelmed by the relentless attacks… | more…

Labor Needs a Radical Vision

For forty years, AFL-CIO leaders George Meany and Lane Kirkland saw unorganized workers as a threat when they saw them at all. They drove left-wing activists out of unions and threw the message of solidarity on the scrapheap. Labor’s dinosaurs treated unions as a business, representing members in exchange for dues, while ignoring the needs of workers as a whole. A decade ago new leaders were thrust into office in the AFL-CIO, a product of the crisis of falling union density, weakened political power, and a generation of angry labor activists demanding a change in direction. Those ten years have yielded important gains for unions. Big efforts were made to organize strawberry workers in Watsonville, California, asbestos workers in New York and New Jersey, poultry and meatpacking workers in the South, and health care workers throughout the country. Yet in only one year was the pace of organizing fast enough to keep union density from falling… | more…