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Philosophy

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…

Revisiting Marx on Race, Capitalism, and Revolution

Did Karl Marx have a theory of race and capitalism? Not exactly, but he theorized on these issues over four decades and much of what he wrote still speaks to us today. At a time of global and U.S. struggles for liberation in the face of a deeply racialized fascist threat, these writings are worth revisiting. | more…

Lake Zug (from the south), Switzerland in 1940

Magic, Necromancy, and the Nonhuman Turn

Across the humanities and the social sciences, critical attention is being given to the nonhuman as an ecological, philosophical, and political problem—the nonhuman here meaning anything from animals and plants to manufactured objects. Going under names as various as new materialism, political ecology, and object-oriented ontology, these studies comprise a movement that is largely described as the nonhuman turn. | more…

Monthly Review Volume 73, Number 6 (November 2021)

November 2021 (Volume 73, Number 6)

There is an urgent need to transcend the deep chasm in historical materialism, extending back to the 1920s, between the Western Marxist philosophical tradition and the Marxism of the Second and Third Internationals. This division has been closely associated with so-called Western MarxismÕs rejection of the dialectics of nature. | more…

Flooding on Laboulle avenue in Tilff, Belgium

The Planetary Rift

The widespread view on the left that Marx had adopted an extreme productivist view of the human domination of nature—and hence had failed to perceive the natural limits to production and ecological contradictions in general, giving them at most only marginal attention—was contradicted by his theory of the metabolic rift. | more…

Heat waves a social murder

Vouchers for Murder

In order to commit murder or mayhem under this program, vouchers must be submitted within one week prior to the actions contemplated or within a month afterward. Persons who commit violent acts without valid vouchers will be asked to enter into Voluntary Consent Agreements to desist from unauthorized murder or mayhem, and up to one tenth of any ill-gotten gains will be donated voluntarily to the charity of their choice, without any implication of admission of guilt. | 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…

Bend of Jinsha River at Shigu village, Yulong Naxi autonomous county in Lijiang, Southwest China's Yunnan province

The Ecological State

Although natural constraints on supply are important, most economic scarcities that rule our lives are actually social and artificial. Supply and demand are not natural forces drifting through the air; they are contrived realities established by an interactive social environment involving governments, corporations, institutions, and classes. Supply and demand cycles are social constructs designed to answer a basic question: Who gets what? | more…

Monthly Review Volume 72, Number 6 (November 2020)

November 2020 (Volume 72, Number 6)

In this issue of Monthly Review, we publish two articles marking the two-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Frederick Engels. In the attempt to address our planet’s ecological crisis, Engels’s work has once acquired a renewed importance. His analysis of the dialectics of nature was to play a formative role in the development of modern ecological and evolutionary views and is now being rediscovered in that context. | more…

A famous early photograph of Frederick Engels

Engels’s Dialectics of Nature in the Anthropocene

Today, two hundred years after his birth, Frederick Engels can be seen as one of the foundational ecological thinkers of modern times. Engels’s contributions to our understanding of the overall ecological problem remain indispensable, rooted in his own deep inquiries into nature’s universal metabolism. It is because of the very comprehensiveness of his approach to the dialectic of nature and society that Engels’s work can help clarify the momentous challenges facing humanity in the Anthropocene epoch and the current age of planetary ecological crisis. | more…