Archive | Commentary

  • Hijackers of the Electoral Process: Maoists or the Indian Establishment?

    “Maoists target teachers, ambulance” — that was the top headline all across the front page of a national daily, but one has got accustomed to mendacity, couched in righteous indignation.  As is usually the case, the news report filed by the local correspondent from the state capital of Chhattisgarh was more sensible, not at all […]

  • Imagining Socialism

    Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA.  Edited by Frances Goldin, Debby Smith, and Michael Steven Smith.  HarperPerennial, 304 pp., $15.99. The need for socialism became clear to me more than fifty years ago when I was working as an orderly in the University of Minnesota Hospitals.  One of the patients I was working with in […]

  • Gabriel García Márquez and the Coming-into-Being of Latin America

    One of the greatest Latin American authors, Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez, died last Thursday.  As with any writer whose work becomes a mass culture phenomenon, his work is also the focus of diverse readings.  These readings in turn have a direct bearing on the understanding of our continent’s reality.  For this reason putting pressure […]

  • Taking On the Fashion Industry

    Tansy E. Hoskins.  Stitched Up: The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion.  Pluto Press, 2014.  254 pages. To say that Tansy E. Hoskins‘ Stitched Up deconstructs the garment industry would be a misrepresentation.  What the British activist and journalist does is more like a controlled demolition, using facts and footnotes to strip away the apparel trade’s decorative […]

  • The Compleat Economist

    Nirmal Chandra was, for half a century, among the very closest friends of Monthly Review. A comrade of Paul Sweezy and Harry Magdoff, Nirmal continued to guide their successors in the economics and politics of South Asia. He played a central role in the creation and survival of the sister edition of Monthly Review in India, the Analytical Monthly Review. His contribution to the entire Monthly Review project was offered freely and immediately at the first request, and was invaluable. The loving memorial by the venerable Ashok Mitra, reproduced below, first appeared in The Telegraph on April 4, 2014.

  • Colombia: Popular Agrarian Summit Calls for Strike

    A national strike in Colombia — involving groups of indigenous peoples, Afro-Colombians, students, women, small miners, petroleum workers, and campesinos (farmers) — may begin on May 1st. The decision to strike if the government does not respond by the first week of May was made during the Peasant, Ethnic, and Popular Agrarian Summit,1 held from […]

  • Venezuela: Making Peace . . . With Capitalism?

    It was shortly after Moses’s encounter with the Burning Bush that God promised to take the people of Israel to the land of milk and honey.  God, who could be extremely cryptic in his explanations (“I am that I am”), did not beat around the bush when it came to capturing his audience.  For that […]

  • Rwanda, Twenty Years Later

    Twenty years later, full light has not been thrown on the shooting down of the plane of the then president of Rwanda, Habyarimana.  The event was immediately followed by the genocide of the Tutsis by Hutu militias.  Two hypotheses remain to this day equally possible: 1) the plane was shot down by Hutu extremists, making […]

  • The Future of Collective Bargaining: Challenging “Management Prerogatives” Again

    Recent experiences suggest that the generations-old practice of collective bargaining as the normal, if not dominant, method of negotiating the terms of unionized employment is losing its legitimacy.  Notoriously, upon taking office in January 2010, Wisconsin’s Governor Walker introduced a bill to strip public employees of their collective bargaining rights.  Despite a massive upheaval and […]

  • Malthus In, Malthus Out, Again

    If hundreds of newspaper and online reports are to be believed, scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Agency have proven that western civilization will collapse unless we radically reduce inequality and shift to renewable resources. That would be important news if it were true.  Is it? The first person to say so was Nafeez Ahmed, a […]

  • The Fight Against ICE Holds

      On March 12 this year, the Public Safety Committee of the Philadelphia City Council held a public hearing to review the practice of detaining undocumented immigrants in what are known as “ICE Holds.”  An ICE Hold, or civil immigration detainer, is a request from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to local police […]

  • Constructing the North Korean Revolution

    Suzy Kim.  Everyday Life in the North Korean Revolution, 1945-1950.  Ithaca: Cornell University Press.  Cloth, 45.00, pp 307. With Everyday Life in the North Korean Revolution, 1945-1950, Suzy Kim has filled a major gap in the history of North Korea.  In the West, it has become customary to fixate on the top leadership in historical […]

  • Russia and the Ukraine Crisis: The Eurasian Project in Conflict with the Triad Imperialist Policies

    Moscow, March 2014 1. The current global stage is dominated by the attempt of historical centers of imperialism (the US, Western and Central Europe, Japan — hereafter called “the Triad”) to maintain their exclusive control over the planet through a combination of: so-called neo-liberal economic globalization policies allowing financial transnational capital of the Triad to […]

  • The Revolutionary Legacy of Bhagat Singh: An Interview with Chaman Lal

    Chaman Lal retired as professor of Hindi translation from the Centre of Indian Languages, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and is now associated with the Centre for Comparative Literature as Professor-Coordinator at the Central University of Punjab, Bathinda.  His most recent book is Understanding Bhagat Singh (Aakar Books, Delhi, 2013). BD: March 23 marks the […]

  • Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century: Its Uses and Limits

    Thomas Piketty.  Capital in the Twenty-First Century.  Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2014.  $39.95. Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty has caused a stir, which it deserves.  Capital 21, as we will abbreviate the title, grapples with a prominent current issue: outrageously unequal incomes and wealth.  It is a data-rich, […]

  • “Deglobalization” Versus “Inclusive Growth”

    The race of globalization is leaving the majority of the world’s population far behind.  According to UNICEF, the richest 20% of the population gets 83% of global income, while the poorest quintile has just 1%.1  This trend is getting worse.  A new UNDP report called “Humanity Divided” estimates that 75% of the world’s population lives […]

  • Don’t Pray for Venezuela: The Struggle Against Contemporary Fascism

    The progressivist view of history often goes hand in hand with the faith that a new class — sometimes the proletariat, at other times “the people” — has a privileged perspective or consciousness.  If scientific (as opposed to vulgar) Marxism debunks this idea on a theoretical level — showing how commodity and money fetishism’s inversions […]

  • Ukraine Between “Popular Uprising for Democracy” and “Fascist Putsch”

      Let’s begin with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s version.  One can think what one likes about deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, but his election in 2012 was recognized as legitimate by international observers and, after a certain hesitation, by the defeated candidate, Yulia Timoshenko.  In fact, relatively honest elections were just about the only positive […]

  • Regarding Barnard Administration’s SJP Banner Removal

    On March 10th, Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine hung a banner on Barnard Hall. The banner was placed after members of C-SJP went through the required bureaucratic channels and processes in order to give voice and presence to our week-long events as part of Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), a global period of action and awareness-raising that has been occurring throughout the world for the past ten years.

  • The Dead and the Quick: Hugo Chávez and His Project

    Praise, especially when empty, is often a way of dismissing a revolutionary historical figure more than preserving his legacy.  That is what Lenin said about Marx: by making Marx into an icon, people had castrated and corrupted his thought. The late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez has also fallen prey to this common practice that polishes […]