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Political Economy

Demonstrators gesture as they attend a protest against police brutality and the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Frankfurt, Germany, June 6, 2020

COVID-19, Economic Depression, and the Black Lives Matter Protests

Will the Triple Crisis Bring a Working-Class Revolt in the United States?

Crisis reveals the fault lines in society. COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on our health and killing us in large numbers, bringing with it the most massive and steep economic collapse in U.S. history. Then, there was the murder of George Floyd and the resulting astonishing global protests against racism. Anyone can see that capitalism, facing no real opposition in decades, has reverted to its default position: only profit rules us and those with money will beat down those with none, without mercy or remorse. | more…

Indian and Chinese national flags flutter side by side at the Raisina hills in New Delhi, India, in this file photo

India, COVID-19, the United States, and China

Since the emergence of COVID-19, the United States has quite openly decided to use the crisis, at a global scale, as a weapon against its perceived rival, China. In this context, India has taken a number of steps to restructure its relation to China, asserting economic stances and implementing policies that are becoming more and more closely entwined with its geopolitical positions and aspirations. | more…

New this week!
In Nebaj at a cemetery for civil war victims—another History lesson from Jorge

A Violent Guatemala

Among ethnic disasters of the past few decades, few can match in intensity or have been reported in the media more extensively than those of the Indigenous in Guatemala. The social structure of the nationÑits hierarchy, driven by a light-skinned population, most of whom are ethnically mestizo but who do not identify with the purely IndigenousÑits history, and its small size make it an important site for the documentation and reporting of ethnic disputes and differences. | 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…

A statue of Confederate States President Jefferson Davis lies on the street after protesters pulled it down in Richmond, Virginia

Colonialism, Migration, Pandemic

The Immutable Evidence that Capitalism Is Racist and Misogynist

Capitalism is a global racialized structure. Although many of the exploited working class are white peoples, people of color, especially women of color, have generally borne the brunt of the human suffering inflicted by capitalism. There is no doubt that colonialism and U.S. slavery were economic systems, but they were also brutal attacks on non-Western peoples. | more…

Caste Class and Race A Study in Social Dynamics by Oliver Cromwell Cox

Oliver Cromwell Cox’s Marxism

Oliver Cromwell Cox insisted on dealing with the crucial issues of his time and on telling the truth as he saw it, regardless of whose toes may have been stepped on or whose sensibilities may have been injured. He has aided in preventing the complete stultification of academic social science and in the long run exercised an immense influence on American life. | more…

Dead Epidemiologists: On the Origins of COVID-19 by Rob Wallace

Dead Epidemiologists: On the Origins of COVID-19

Forthcoming in September 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic shocked the world. It shouldn’t have. Since this century’s turn, epidemiologists have warned of new infectious diseases. Indeed, H1N1, H7N9, SARS, MERS, Ebola Makona, Zika, and a variety of lesser viruses have emerged almost annually. But what of the epidemiologists themselves? Some bravely descended into the caves where bat species hosted coronaviruses, including the strains that evolved into the COVID-19 virus. Yet, despite their own warnings, many of the researchers appear unable to understand the true nature of the disease—as if they are dead to what they’ve seen. Dead Epidemiologists is an eclectic collection of commentaries, articles, and interviews revealing the hidden-in-plain-sight truth behind the pandemic: Global capital drove the deforestation and development that exposed us to new pathogens | more…

Value and Crisis: Essays on Marxian Economics in Japan, second edition

Value and Crisis: Essays on Marxian Economics in Japan, second edition

Forthcoming in December 2020

Marxist economic thought has had a long and distinguished history in Japan, dating back to the First World War. When interest in Marxist theory was virtually nonexistent in the United States, rival schools of thought in Japan emerged, and brilliant debates took place on Marx’s Capital and on capitalism as it was developing in Japan. Forty years ago, Makoto Itoh’s Value and Crisis began to chronicle these Japanese contributions to Marxist theory, discussing in particular views on Marx’s theories of value and crisis, and problems of Marx’s theory of market value. Now, in a second edition of his book, Itoh deepens his study of Marx’s theories of value and crisis, as an essential reference point from which to analyze the multiple crises that have arisen during the past four decades of neoliberalism. The promise of Marx’s theories has not waned. If anything—given the failure of Soviet-style socialism and the catastrophe of neoliberalism—it grows daily. | more…

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…

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