Archive | Commentary

  • “Unity within Our Movement Has Never Been More Important”: Statement by AFL-CIO Organizing Director Stewart Acuff at the Illinois State AFL-CIO Central Labor Council Conference in Findlay, Ill. June 14, 2005

    [Michael D. Yates’ Note: As readers of the June issue of Monthly Review magazine know, a fierce battle is raging inside organized labor in the United States.  Several unions within the AFL-CIO (the national federation of unions) are threatening to secede from the Federation, their leaders arguing that Federation leaders and many member unions are […]

  • The Experience of China

    [“The Experience of China” is an excerpt from “Approaching Socialism,” published in the July-August issue of Monthly Review in print. The full text of the article will be soon avaialbe at . — Ed.] When the Red Army, led by the Chinese Communist Party, entered Beijing in 1949, the work needed to create a road […]

  • Oklahoma: Many Shades of Red

    I’m writing a preface for a new edition of my memoir, Red Dirt: Growing Up Okie, which first appeared in 1997 — it’s about my life growing up poor, rural, super-patriotic, and Christian fundamentalist in Oklahoma, and still becoming anti-imperialist, Marxist, anti-racist, and feminist.  I am trying to deal with the red-state (the South and […]

  • Lift the Cap on Social Security Taxes

    My four-year-old son is fond of asking me, “how goes the work?” Well, if he means working for economic justice, the answer is, “not so well, Sam.” Oh, there are signs of hope. The anti-globalization movement has challenged prerogatives of capital in the international economy. And the Bush administration’s attempt to privatize social security by […]

  • “Allowed to Leave Canada”

    On July 2, 2005 I took a flight from Chicago to western Canada where I was scheduled to give a lecture to a group of teachers at the University of Calgary.  Clearing customs, I was directed to Immigration where a growing line of anxious or impatient arrivals — mostly dark-skinned, mostly young, I the glaring […]

  • An Interview with Samir Amin

    MRZINE: In your essay in the November 2004 Monthly Review entitled, “U.S. Imperialism Europe and the Middle East,” you conclude that, “Europe will be of left, the term ‘left’ being taken seriously, or will not be at all.”  As opposed to the views of almost all U.S. and U.K. commentators, are not then the “non” […]

  • “Can We Do Anything besides Watch?” Some Ideas for Addressing Labor’s Crisis

    Most labor activists with whom I have spoken have had a similar reaction.  Whether one supports positions taken by the Service Employees International Union, the Teamsters, et al.; whether one supports the positions advanced by the John Sweeney leadership of the AFL-CIO; or whether one falls into the ‘none of the above’ category, there is […]

  • Less than you bargained for

    New bargains every day in our packed aisles, come on! Trappist jams, lamps in the form of buddhas, striped baskets, ceramic bowls of potpourri that will never scent a room after the first five minutes. All the gifts you buy friends who thank you profusely before stowing them in a closet or taking them to […]

  • Social Medicine 101

    Bastille Day 2005 inaugurates the new Monthly Review Webzine. Paris is also an excellent place to begin a series on social medicine. For it was in Paris, in 1830, that one of the seminal papers in social medicine appeared. While the Parisian workers overthrew Charles X, the last of the Bourbons, a French physician, Louis Rene Villerme published a paper examining mortality patterns in different Parisian arrondissements (districts).

  • Greetings

    Liza Featherstone Congratulations, Monthly Review, for embracing the opportunity to reach so many more readers through this webzine. Your truly internationalist perspective, and rigorous, independent socialist thinking, is so badly needed right now, and feels more relevant than ever. Eduardo Galeano Monthly Review in conquest of the air? Wasn´t it a private kingdom of weapons, […]

  • A Debt to the World

      from crush and splinter death in the market jeering robotic dryice disrupt to conjure mercy’s perishing persistent script blotted smeared and torn let hair, nail-cuttings nourish the vine and fig-tree let man, woman eat, be sheltered Marx the physician laid his ear over the heartbeat pressed the belly diagnosed the pain but did not […]

  • Let’s Put the Nature of Work on Labor’s Agenda: Part One

      Capitalism fails workers in at least three ways. It cannot guarantee that a job will be available to any worker who needs one. It cannot guarantee that a worker who has a job will receive adequate compensation for it. And it cannot guarantee that a worker who has a job with adequate pay will […]

  • The Wall Street Journal Meets Karl Marx

    Many reading the Wall Street Journal on May 13, 2005, must have rubbed their eyes in disbelief, looked back and then rubbed them again. A front page story headlined “As Rich-Poor Gap Widens in the U.S., Class Mobility Stalls” informed the largely business readership of that paper that the old Benjamin Franklin-Horatio Alger myth of […]

  • Wal-Mart’s End Run around Organized Labor — Aided and Abetted by the State of Texas

    Anyone who wants to understand the machinations of “free market” capitalism in the U.S. today needs only to take a look at Wal-Mart’s new 4 million-square-foot distribution complex near Baytown, Texas, which will become operational this summer. The primary purpose of building this massive facility (big enough to hold 30 downtown city blocks or 70 […]

  • Nepal

    The collapse of the Soviet Union and its ‘actually existing socialism’, the latter’s truly grave deformations notwithstanding, has had the consequence of a worldwide crisis of revolutionary politics, a crisis really of the social revolution of our times which, however, even in the failure of its first efforts, has left the world significantly changed for the better, and though in crisis, has enough resources left for revolutionary struggles of the future, a resumed struggle for socialism

  • Debate Over the Future of the AFL-CIO

    A debate over the future of the AFL-CIO, the federation of most unions in the USA, has been underway for some months and, for the life of me, while the debate becomes more intense, the differences seem to blur. Yet, the feeling that one gets is that we are headed for a train wreck

  • André Gunder Frank (1929-2005)

    Who is the most cited and discussed economist in the world? Don’t waste time looking among Nobel Prize winners and other stars of the mainstream media. André Gunder Frank is by far the most cited and most discussed, as shown by a number of studies on the subject and by the more than 30,000 entries he has on the Internet

  • A Note on the Death of André Gunder Frank (1929-2005)

    I met André Gunder Frank and his wife Marta Fuentes in 1967. Our long conversation convinced us that we were intellectually on the same wavelength. “Modernization Theory,” then dominant, ascribed the “underdevelopment” of the Third World to the retarded and incomplete formation of its capitalist institutions. Marxist orthodoxy, as represented by the Communist Parties, presented its own version of this view and characterized Latin America as “semi-feudal.” Frank put forward a new and entirely different thesis: that from its very origins Latin America had been constructed within the framework of capitalist development as the periphery of the newly arising centers of Europe’s Atlantic seabord. For my part, I had undertaken to analyze the integration of Asia and Africa into the capitalist system in light of the requirements of “accumulation on a global scale,” a process that by its inner logic had to produce a polarization of wealth and power

  • Will Miller

    In many parts of our country—in communities large and small—there are activists engaged in a wide range of struggles for social and economic justice. In some communities and states there is one person who stands out as a consistent force for social change. This person inspires others and provides continuity over the years. In Vermont, University of Vermont professor of philosophy Will Miller was such a major force for left education and change—in local communities, at the university, and in the state. A committed socialist and Marxist, Will’s devotion to activism was inseparable from his role as teacher. His devotion to change and knowledge and understanding of history and economics—and his willingness to discuss almost any issue at the drop of a hat—meant that he was an educator both inside and outside the classroom. Unlike most academics (radical or not), Will choose to concentrate on teaching and social change through various means instead of on publishing articles in scholarly journals

  • Hands off Assata Campaign

    On May 2nd the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New Jersey Troopers publicly announced a $1 million bounty for the capture of Assata Shakur. May 2nd also marked the 32nd anniversary of the fatal shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike that resulted in the deaths Trooper Werner Foerster andZayd Shakur, and left Assata Shakur and Sundiata Acoli wounded. Assata and Sundiata were both tried and convicted in separate trials for the deaths of Werner Foerster and Zayd Shakur