Open Letters Monthly
New Politics, Summer 2016
Labor historian E.P. Thompson is perhaps best known for his monumental and path-breaking work, The Making of the English Working Class. The collected essays reviewed here, many either out-of-print or difficult to obtain, were written between 1955 and 1963. They show Thompson as also a dedicated educator of workers, a sharp polemicist, a skilled political theorist and a tireless agitator for peace, against nuclear weapons and for a rebirth of the socialist project.
The Council on Foreign Relations is a supercharged, highly connected establishment think tank. While producing reports and staffing varied policy working-groups, its recommendations are invariably market-based. CFR leaders and members pass through the revolving door of the federal government to high positions of authority, no matter which party holds power. The book under review, Wall Street's Think Tank, charts the council's key links to US imperial policy.
Both analytical and droll, Terry Eagleton's Culture explores how culture evolved from rarified sphere to humble practices, and from a bulwark against industrialism's encroaches to present-day capitalism's most profitable export. Eagleton both illuminates culture's collusion with colonialism, nationalism, the decline of religion, the rise of and rule over the "uncultured" masses, as well a means for cultivating social life and social change.
International Socialism, Issue 151
While a sharp contribution to discussions of women's oppression and liberation, the book under review is faulted for not demonstrating the actual radical connection between class and other forms of oppression. While rejecting a tendency to reduce Marxism to a one-dimensional critique of class, the book's author is faulted for downplaying the limits of intersectionality as not articulating--but instead fudging--the existing gulf between identity politics and Marxism.
Gaining social control over the economic life of society - achieving socialism, in a word - requires not only that we know that the democratic republic is the staging ground for such change. It also requires that we recognize that the evidence of the future we want is visible and "invading" our present, to borrow a term from C. L. R. James, in forms that exist in the current conditions of our social life.
Tidbits - May 26, 2016 - Reader Comments: Defeating Trump; Israel Today; Austrian Election; Fighting Racism; Public Tribute to Michael Ratner...
Daily Maverick (South Africa)
What fashioned Marx, Marxist theories and challenges faced in South Africa. Essential today is an international solidarity movement uniting the broad masses of people of all lands under the leadership of organized labor, of hand and brain, to stop the perfidious transnational corporations, their government tools, and capitalism's imperialist wars - towards a new internationalism of the working class, labor masses, and freedom loving people everywhere.
The bourgeoisie does not rule by force alone; it does so by inculcating its ideas and values—its ideology—into the population at large. It follows, then, as the GMB’s John Callow argues in his preface to Silvertown, that “history, like politics…is a fiercely contested ideological space.” Historians who claim to be impartial and “value-free” are not to be trusted—or they are simple.
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