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Political Economy

November 1996 (Volume 48, Number 6)

The September 30th issue of the New Yorker carried profiles of two long-time contributors to Monthly Review—lyricist E. Y. Harburg and lawyer Michael Tigar—evoking considerable pride among MR staffers. “Yip” Harburg, who died in 1986, wrote more than one hundred songs including “Over The Rainbow,” and “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime.” Writer John Lahr notes that throughout his long career on Broadway and in Hollywood all of his work evinced powerful social concerns and themes of freedom. Yip, of course, was a socialist of the MR variety. He valued the analysis and insight of this publication, as the verse printed on page 63. | more…

Honest, Able, and Fearless

Victor Rabinowitz, Unrepentant Leftist: A Lawyer’s Memoir (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1996), 352 pp., $29.95, cloth.

Among the questions that divide my friends is whether it is possible that widespread revolutionary organization may someday occur even in the United States, the Belly of the Beast as goes a phrase all my fellow 68ers will recall. If you think the question deserves to be asked, then the history of the repression of the U.S. Left after the Second World War (and of what survived the storm) is worth your attention. After all, if this history is forgotten then the question is indeed not worth asking. How the ruling class of the United States manages its domestic repression is, in any event, of general relevance in many other places as well. Victor Rabinowitz at age eighty five offers a sharp, fascinating, and superbly written report on this question from inside that structured but flexible Great Intestine of the United States, its legal system. | more…

Walter Reuther, “Social Unionist”

Nelson Lichtenstein, The Most Dangerous Man in Detroit: Walter Reuther and the Fate of American Labor (New York: and Chicago: Basic Books, 1995), 575 pp., $35.00, cloth.

A New York Times obituary for Sophie Reuther on February 23, 1996, declared her husband, Victor, a co-founder of the United Auto Workers. So now the myth that Walter Reuther founded the UAW is extended to include his brother. Unfortunately, the new biography of Walter Reuther by Nelson Lichtenstein will do very little to squelch the myth; this despite the fact that the book documents Reuther’s career, warts and all. | more…

Under Attack, Fighting Back: Women and Welfare in the United States

Under Attack, Fighting Back: Women and Welfare in the United States

This new edition updates a highly acclaimed work with an analysis of the most recent developments in welfare “reform” and welfare rights activism. Drawing on first-hand reports of women forced to leave welfare and other newly available data, Mimi Abramovitz documents the impact of this historic change in public policy on the lives of poor single mothers and their children. She punctures the highly publicized claims that equate successful reform with shrunken rolls, showing that if the reformers set out to improve the lives of women and children, something went dangerously awry. Abramovitz argues that welfare reform has penalized single motherhood; exposed poor women to the risks of hunger, homelessness, and male violence; swept them into low-paid jobs, and left many former recipients unable to make ends meet. | more…

Hitting the Lottery Jackpot: Government and the Taxing of Dreams

Hitting the Lottery Jackpot: Government and the Taxing of Dreams

Hitting the Lottery Jackpot is a timely critique of the economic and social costs of state reliance on lotteries to generate public revenues. David Nibert highlights the conflicting role of the state as gambling promoter to show who really profits—advertising agencies, TV stations, and ticket vendors—with less than half the money wagered returned as prizes. Hitting the Lottery Jackpotalso shows who loses: lower-income groups and people of color, who spend a much higher percentage of their income on lotteries than others. | more…

Whose Millennium: Theirs or Ours?

Whose Millennium: Theirs or Ours?

Written with droll wit and lyrical elegance, this visionary book challenges the chorus of resignation—the notion that there is no alternative, that profit is the best relationship between people, and that the market guarantees democracy. Daniel Singer insists that a more free and egalitarian society can be won, and he predicts that the new millennium will be an age of confrontation, not consensus, with Western Europe as a probable first battlefield. | more…

Dispersed City of the Plains

Dispersed City of the Plains

Town-building in the Great Plains gets a fresh examination in Harris Stone’s final book. Form and consequences of the inhabitation of the plains landscape are explored, from the rural roads and farms to industrial parks. Beautifully hand-lettered and illustrated throughout, this thought-provoking work will appeal to architects, planners, historians, cultural geographers, and anyone interested in the interplay between people and vernacular form. | more…

Capitalism and the Information Age: The Political Economy of the Global Communication Revolution

Capitalism and the Information Age: The Political Economy of the Global Communication Revolution

Not a day goes by that we don’t see a news clip, hear a radio report, or read an article heralding the miraculous new technologies of the information age. The communication revolution associated with these technologies is often heralded as the key to a new age of “globalization.” How is all of this reshaping the labor force, transforming communications, changing the potential for democracy, and altering the course of history itself? Capitalism and the Information Age presents a rigorous examination of some of the most crucial problems and possibilities of these novel technologies. | more…

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