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Political Economy

Work Work Work: Labor, Alienation, and Class Struggle

Work Work Work: Labor, Alienation, and Class Struggle

For most economists, labor is simply a commodity, bought and sold in markets like any other – and what happens after that is not their concern. Individual prospective workers offer their services to individual employers, each acting solely out of self-interest and facing each other as equals. The forces of demand and supply operate so that there is neither a shortage nor a surplus of labor, and, in theory, workers and bosses achieve their respective ends. Michael D. Yates, in Work Work Work: Labor, Alienation, and Class Struggle, offers a vastly different take on the nature of the labor market. | more…

Monthly Review Volume 74, Number 2 (June 2022)

June 2022 (Volume 74, Number 2)

Time is running out for the world to carry out the social transformations necessary to avert irreversible climate catastrophe, keeping the increase in global average temperatures below 1.5°C (or below 2°C). The most optimistic scenario currently provided by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) describes a pathway in which the increase in temperature will not rise to 1.5°C until 2040, peaking at 1.6°C, and then falling back to 1.4°C by the end of this century. But to achieve this will require revolutionary scale transformational change in global social relations affecting the human relation to the climate and the planetary environment as a whole. | more…

New this week!

Toward an Ecosocialist Degrowth: From the Materially Inevitable to the Socially Desirable

We are facing today the most pronounced and remarkable of all contradictions: that between “capital’s time” and “nature’s time.” As a result, a series of intertwined ecological and social crises have come together, posing existential threats to life on the planet. | more…

Hiroshima Cenotaph Dome

“Notes on Exterminism” for the Twenty-First-Century Ecology and Peace Movements

In 1980, the great English historian and Marxist theorist E. P. Thompson wrote the pathbreaking essay “Notes on Exterminism, the Last Stage of Civilization.” Although the world has undergone a number of significant changes since, Thompson’s essay remains a useful starting point in approaching the central contradictions of our times, characterized by the planetary ecological crisis, COVID-19 pandemic, New Cold War, and current “empire of chaos”—all arising from features deeply embedded in the contemporary capitalist political economy. | more…

An explosion caused by a police munition is seen during the storming of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, January 6, 2021

Giving War a Chance

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is the ultimate agenda-setting, strategic planning, and consensus-forming organization of the U.S. capitalist ruling class. The latest book to come out of the CFR orbit, Strategy of Denial (2021), thus provides an opportunity to concretely observe how the monopoly capitalist ruling class is preparing the people of the United States for what could be a catastrophic world war. | more…

Histories of Racial Capitalism

Histories of Racial Capitalism and the Dynamics of the Capitalist System

The term racial capitalism is a bit of a shibboleth. Those who invoke the phrase draw from a longstanding tradition of radical scholarship that brings attention to the material force of racialism in systems of capitalist domination. There is, however, a mounting critique that questions the term’s usefulness, casting doubt on the scholarly project initiated by Cedric Robinson. In the face of such concerns, Histories of Racial Capitalism is a much needed contribution. | more…

Monthly Review Volume 73, Number 10 (March 2022)

March 2022 (Volume 73, Number 10)

The struggle over schools today requires battles over both the privatization of education and the current attempts to limit its social content and meaning. Those fighting against this changing totality must align themselves with the embattled radical teachers in the trenches. In the famous words of Grace Lee Boggs, more than a half-century ago, it is necessary to create “a new system of education that will have as its means and its end the development of the great masses of people to govern over themselves and administer over things.” | more…

Wladyslaw T Benda - The Earth with the Milky Way and Moon

Nature as a Mode of Accumulation: Capitalism and the Financialization of the Earth

From September to November 2021, overlapping with the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference negotiations in Glasgow, three major interrelated developments occurred in global finance. Taken together, these changes mark a turning point in the financial expropriation of the earth and the culmination of a theoretical shift in the dominant economic paradigm aimed at the unlimited accumulation of total capital, which is now seen as including “natural capital.” | more…

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…