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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…

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…

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