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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…

Portrait of Frederick Engels

Engels’s Emergentist Dialectics

In grasping emergent qualities and laws on various levels of organization of matter, dialectical theory employs its own conceptual structure, scientific language, and investigation method, and takes a categorially open-ended shape. In this context, Engels provides a remarkable illustration that not only argues for the interconnection and interpenetration of distinct spheres such as chemistry and biology, but also draws on a generative feature of self-organizing systems. | more…

Evald Ilyenkov

On the Coincidence of Logic with Dialectics and the Theory of Knowledge of Materialism

In this reprint of “On the Coincidence of Logic with Dialectics and the Theory of Knowledge of Materialism,” Evald Ilyenkov discusses the idea of the coincidence of dialectics, logics, and theory of knowledge—one of the hallmarks of the Ilyenkovian current in post-Stalin Soviet philosophy. Ilyenkov was a renowned and controversial Soviet Marxist philosopher who contributed substantially to the Marx Renaissance that emerged in the so-called Thaw Period, aiming to reconstruct Marx’s original methodology. He was known as an ardent critic of technocratic tendencies in the Soviet Union and stressed that socialist society should express humanist values and not merely be an engineering project. | more…

Daytime in Indian Creek, the Sixshooter Peaks in Bears Ears National Monument

Capitalism and Robbery

The Expropriation of Land, Labor, and Corporeal Life

Historical capitalism cannot be understood aside from its existence as a colonial/imperialist world system in which the violent exercise of power is an ever-present reality. In order to uncover the material conditions governing concrete capitalism, including its interface with land, nonwage labor, and corporeal life, it is therefore necessary to go beyond the inner reality of exploitation, and address expropriation, or the process of appropriation without equivalent (or without reciprocity) through which capital has sought to determine its wider parameters. | more…

Monthly Review Volume 71, Number 6 (November 2019)

November 2019 (Volume 71, Number 6)

Notes from the Editors

Immanuel Wallerstein, the celebrated world-systems theorist and longtime contributor to Monthly Review and Monthly Review Press, died on August 31, 2019. Wallerstein first achieved international fame with the publication in 1974 of his The Modern World-System: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century (the first in a four-volume masterwork on the Modern World-System. We pay tribute to Wallerstein in this new issue of Monthly Review. | more…

Greenwich Village

Endgame Marxism (and Urbanism)

Collectivity and individuality express two different aspects of Marxism’s humanist tradition, of how they ought to go together. It is another way to frame the dialectic of justice and jouissance, a radical hope for equality on the one side, plus a diversity of self-expression on the other. In a sense, this is not only what Marxism should offer; it is what any city should offer, too. Cities should reconcile problems of freedom and necessity, ought to provide affordable housing and a decent quality of life, alongside novelty of experience and scope for expansive individuality. | more…

Statue of György Lukács

Searching for Alternatives in Eastern Europe

Tamás Krausz Interviewed by Róbert Nárai

In the 1960s, Georg Lukács—under the slogan Back to Marx!—called for a “renaissance” of Marxism within Eastern Europe. To understand the nature of this renaissance, we have to understand the many important questions that the Hungarian uprising of 1956 raised for the anti-Stalinist left inside Hungary and Eastern Europe more broadly. This interview looks at efforts to rethink the future of socialism from the Eastern European situation in the second half of the twentieth century, including the political lessons of 1968, the internal fight within the Hungarian Socialist Party, and the continued relevance of V. I. Lenin’s Marxism. | more…

Re-making (Re-thinking, Re-acting, Re-structuring) by Marija Lovrić

Self-Knowledge, Estrangement, and Social Metabolism

Following two key themes in Karl Marx’s thought—estrangement and political economy, in their relation to human self-knowledge—labor mediates the social metabolism. In this schema, organic (or functional) metabolism is distinguished from extended metabolism (or social organization). Socially extended metabolism gives rise to shared values and concepts in the same way that organic metabolism gives rise to life. On this basis, I suggest that both the subject and object of human self-knowledge is a socially extended self, which can connect to itself only when humans freely participate in socially extended metabolism—that is, economy, science, and industry. Estrangement, in contrast, is seen to result from a disruption within socially extended metabolism. | more…

Marx Proudhon and European socialism

Marx’s Open-Ended Critique

Against attempts to characterize Marx as a dogmatic and deterministic thinker, it is precisely the open-endedness of his criticism that accounts for historical materialism’s staying power. This openness has allowed Marxism to continually reinvent itself, expanding its empirical and theoretical content and embracing ever larger aspects of historical reality. | more…

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