Archive | Commentary

  • Understanding the U.S. War State

    Genocide used to be a crime without a name. Although the most heinous of all crimes, the concept was not introduced into international language until after World War 2. Until then, military invasion and destruction of other peoples and cultures masqueraded under such slogans as progress and spreading civilisation

  • Diana Johnstone on the Balkan Wars

    Diana Johnstone’s Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Delusions (Monthly Review Press, 2002) is essential reading for anybody who wants to understand the causes, effects, and rights-and-wrongs of the Balkan wars of the past dozen years. The book should be priority reading for leftists, many of whom have been carried along by a NATO-power party line and propaganda barrage, believing that this was one case where Western intervention was well-intentioned and had beneficial results. An inference from this misconception, by “cruise missile leftists” and others, is that imperialism can be constructive and its power projections must be evaluated on their merits, case by case. But that the Western intervention in the Balkans constitutes a valid special case is false; the conventional and obvious truths on the Balkan wars that sustain such a view disintegrate on close inspection

  • Women’s Leadership and the Revolution in Nepal

    In this space we have had occasion to provide some, we trust, interesting and important documents from the revolutionary forces in Nepal. The most recent was the letter we received on September 5th, 2002 from Dr. Baburam Bhattarai (https://monthlyreview.org/0902bhattarai.htm). In the intervening four months events have moved at a fast pace

  • The Face of Empire

    They who advocate and enforce the neoliberal agenda have now lost intellectually, morally, even in terms of their own beloved market test. The neoliberal policies of the last decades have failed to bring about economic growth and financial stability, to say nothing of meeting the test of justice or of addressing the social costs and wrong headed quality of the growth the existing system does produce. It is now clear to a great many people around the world that the neoliberal agenda is bankrupt. The World Bank and the academic defenders of the so-called Washington Consensus have stopped defending it as before. Suddenly the need for “reform,” which has up to now meant the imposition of the Washington Consensus, is applied by them to the Washington Consensus itself. Of course these “reforms” are mostly aimed at disarming critics. “Dialogue” and “partnership” are on offer only so they can better pursue their unchanged agenda of domination

  • Rejoinder on Some Current Issues

    On September 5th, 2002 MR received a letter, that we believe from internal evidence to be authentic, from Dr. Baburam Bhattarai—who is one of the leaders of the revolutionary forces in the Nepalese civil war. In the nine months since the last communication from Dr. Bhattarai (https://monthlyreview.org/0102bhattarai.htm) was received, the civil war in Nepal has deepened both in scope and brutality. It now extends from one end of the country to the other. The Royal Nepal Army has executed many hundreds—perhaps thousands—of kids in the countryside in faked encounters, “disappearances” and in aerial bombing of civilian gatherings. In this atmosphere the remaining democratic political forces of all tendencies, including the majority faction of the right-wing Congress Party, refused in May to permit the legal extension of the state of emergency. The state of emergency suspends freedom of thought and expression, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, the right against preventive detention, the right to information, and any right to judicial review of acts committed by the armed forces. The dictatorship of the usurper King, exercised through a minority faction of the Congress party headed by Sher Bahadur Deuba, refused to accept this outcome. On May 27, 2002, parliament was dissolved, the state of emergency extended by decree, and an election called for November 13th

  • Comparisons Between Recent U.S.-Backed Coups

    One thing about the CIA is that their playbook rarely changes. Take for example, the agency’s involvement in the recent abortive military coup against Venezuela’s democratically-elected President Hugo Chavez. The April 13 Washington Post reported that during the period leading up to the coup against Chavez, “members of the country’s diverse opposition had been visiting the U.S. Embassy…hoping to enlist U.S. help in toppling Chavez. The visitors included active and retired members of the military, media leaders and opposition politicians.”

  • Everything Has Not Changed Since 9/11

    Good evening, and thank you very much for inviting me to speak with you this evening. I am honored to be here this evening, and view this as a means of beginning a much needed dialogue between the NAACP and TransAfrica Forum

  • Letter of the Fourteen

    In his speech at the meeting celebrating the Eightieth Anniversary of the Founding of the Chinese Communist Party, Comrade Jiang Zemin openly called for admission of owners of private enterprises to membership of the Party

  • A Struggle Within the Chinese Communist Party

    On July 1, 2001 Chinese Communist Party (CPC) general secretary Jiang Zemin delivered a speech recognized immediately to be of great importance. He advocated the admission of capitalists to the Chinese Communist Party

  • Letter of Ma Bin and Han Yaxi

    Dear Secretary General Jiang and the Party’s Central Committee:

    We listened to your speech on July l, 2001 and have since then carefully read it again in the past few days. We have many opinions in regard to your “July First” remarks. According to the Party’s Basic Statute, as well as the sections on Democrat Centralism of your speech, we feel we should present our comments to you and the Central Committee as well

  • Goldilocks Meets a Bear

    Three years ago, I wrote an article for Monthly Review entitled “The U.S. Economy in 1999: Goldilocks Meets a Big Bad Bear?” (March 1999).1 My answer to that question was yes, Goldilocks would soon meet a big bad bear, that is, the U.S. economy would fall into recession within a year or so. The recession came a little later than I thought, but, as is well known, the U.S. economy did indeed fall into recession in early 2001

  • Hypocrisy and Human Rights

    I do not think it is necessary here to go over truths that are no longer questioned by anybody, such as the ever-increasing lack of credibility and the extreme politicization that today weigh down the work of the Human Rights Commission. Disrepute is growing, time is running out. It is essential that we democratize the methods of this Commission, reestablish with transparency its purpose and rules; in a word, set it up anew. We need a Commission at the service of everyone’s interests, and not hostage to the designs of a minority or, as becomes more obvious every day, to the whims of the mightiest

  • Annette T. Rubinstein: 95th Birthday Celebration

    Annette T. Rubinstein—educator, author, activist—celebrated her ninety-fifth birthday three days early on April 9, at the Brecht Forum‘s new headquarters. At a gathering of more than two hundred of her devoted family, friends, colleagues, comrades, speakers regaled the audience with personal stories and memories of Annette’s fabulous life. John Mage, representing Monthly Review, suggested that she must have had previous lives because “the breadth of vision, the historical understanding, and the contents of the memory could not have been acquired in one lifetime—even hers.” Harry Magdoff, via a taped recording, reminded the audience that “Annette in personality, in her life of creativity, activity, and humanism, illustrates the ways of Socialist women and men.” He concluded by saying “I love you”—in Yiddish.

  • Communists Return to Power in Moldavia

    The February 25, 2001 electoral victory of the Moldovan Communist party marked the first return to power of a Communist party in any of the sovereign fragments of the Former Soviet Union (“FSU”). If you have left wing politics and can use a dose of optimism, this event is a positive portent for—at last—an end to the Mafia capitalist regimes of “democratic reform” that constitute the glory of the U.S. victory in the cold war. The most interesting question is not what the Moldovan Communists can achieve in their sovereign ministate, but what can be hoped to happen as a result in the rest of the FSU community. But, you ask, in 2001 is the FSU a “community” in the sense that the Soviet Union was in, say, 1988? The only plausible answer is “yes and no.” The “no” side is easy enough to lay out, all you need is a current map and almanac. The “yes” side requires more effort

  • Birth Pangs of Democracy in Nepal

    Monthly Review from Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, one of the leaders of the revolutionary forces in Nepal. We cannot fully authenticate the piece since there is a revolutionary war under way in Nepal and Dr. Bhattarai is underground. But we believe the article to be authentic from its content alone

  • The Rich, the Poor, and the Economists

    In the New York Times of December 15, 2001, there is an article titled, “Grounded by an Income Gap.” The subject of the article is the growing income gap between the richest and the poorest people in the United States, a disparity greater here than in any other industrialized nation. Apparently the reasons for this inequality have been vexing the brains of our best economists. Martin Feldstein, Harvard professor and, under Reagan, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, is quoted as follows: “Why there has been increasing inequality in this country is one of the big puzzles in our field and has absorbed a lot of intellectual effort.” But, this effort has apparently been wasted, since he goes on to say, “But if you ask me whether we should worry about the fact that some people on Wall Street and basketball players are making a lot of money, I say no.”

  • A Note from the Associate Editor

    It is with great pleasure and a sense of humility that I begin work as Associate Editor of Monthly Review. The pleasure comes from living in New York City and knowing that I am working at the best-known and most important radical journal in the world. The humility comes from knowing I am working with a group of outstanding intellectuals and activists. Paul Sweezy and Harry Magdoff have been mentors for many years, and in the small ways I have been able, I have tried to pattern my life and work after that of MR founder, Leo Huberman, a great popular writer and labor educator. Now John Foster and Bob McChesney, two scholars of the highest rank, have come on board as editors. It is an honor to be on the masthead with such people.

  • Terrorism and Human Rights

    The idea of terror comes to our tradition in images of fear. As the Psalmist wrote:

  • Terror Attacks of September 11, 2001

    During this extremely sad and traumatic time, we extend our sincere and heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of all those who lost their life on September 11th. We also wish for the speedy and full recovery of those who were injured, and we hope and pray that in the aftermath of the attacks, rescue crews can find as many people still alive as possible

  • Will We Awaken and Find That No One Is Left

    I spoke with a South African friend of mine a few months ago while she was in Namibia. She commented on the beauty of the land and the people. She mentioned to me that she made a similar comment to a Namibian friend of hers and noted how slim so many of the people are. Her Namibian friend responded with great sadness that so much of the “slim figure” she had seen was the result of people infected with HIV/AIDS