Issue number: 53

Whole Number: 53


Latin American Marxist: José Carlos Mariátegui

While most English speakers don’t know him, the Peruvian José Carlos Mariátegui ranks as one of the great Marxists of the twentieth century. It was Mariátegui who originally asked the question which seems so relevant today: How does one make socialism in Latin America with Indians? He answered by turning the question around in the other direction: Indians in Latin America will be at the center of the fight for socialism in Latin America.


The Lives of Billy Pilgrim, Kilgore Trout, and Eliot Rosewater by Way of Kurt Vonnegut

Charles J. Shield’s biography offers a detailed life of the writer, his strengths and weaknesses, both as an author and a person. The major thrust of the Shields biography is to present Kurt Vonnegut as two different people, the writer and the private person. A nephew told the biographer:


Is Cuba Different?

Since the 1930s, most of the international left has defined their "socialism" not as the uncompromising defense of working class self-organization and self-activity, but as the uncritical support of one or another regime that claimed to be "socialist." Whether they idealized the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, Albania, or North Korea, most socialists have placed the defense of their particular "socialist fatherland" above the needs of working people at home and abroad.


Seventy Years of Bolivian Radicalism

This remarkable piece of militant history, based on interviews, as well as leaflets, letters, manifestos, dug out of public archives and private collections, from the heights of La Paz to the outskirts of Paris, deals with the Bolivian labor movement, the most persistent and combative in the Western Hemisphere. Bolivia is one of the very poorest countries of the Americas, and also the most Indian: 2/3 of the population describes itself as indigenous.

Infectious Disease

"According to information supplied by members of the military high command in 1994, President Salinas already had given orders for a massive military move into Chiapas to root out and destroy the insurgents, but was dissuaded by the United States Embassy and some of his own governmental advisors because Subcomandante Marcos had become a charismatic figure worldwide and Mexico could not afford the negative publicity that crushing the movement would create.

Ireland: Still Up Recession Creek Without a Paddle

On December 6th 1921 the Anglo-Irish treaty was signed. It was an agreement between Britain and Ireland to end the Irish war of independence and create peace on the war ravaged island of Ireland, but the main clause of the treaty was that six counties of the north of Ireland would remain under British rule while the remaining twenty-six counties could enjoy limited freedom as a self governing dominion of the British empire.

U.S. Economic Imperialism and Resistance from the Global South: A Prelude to OWS

It is generally agreed that Occupy Wall Street (OWS) was a response to decades of economic inequality in the United States. However, to focus only on the national dynamics of U.S. capitalism is to neglect the global role of U.S. economic imperialism since the 1970s and the resistance that developed in the global South to specific instances of that economic imperialism. This paper will consider how imperialist policies promoted by U.S. sponsored agencies and activities engaged in by U.S. corporations’ elicited acts of resistance.

Where the Rubber Meets the Road for the Indefinite Future: An Interview with Jefferson Cowie

Jefferson Cowie is Associate Professor of History at Cornell University and a leading scholar of labor and class in the United States.

Joe Hill Revisited

Dance among the standing cars,
Each suit will blow his horn…
Let’s make them doubt the system
To which they were lately born.


The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Tradeswomen Tell Their Survival Stories

A sociologist tired of—if not ill-suited for—academic life and one of that generation of proper New Leftists committed to organizing or reorganizing the industrial proletariat as a necessary prelude to the much anticipated Red revolution, I hired in at a Midwestern steel mill in late summer of 1977.


An Intellectual Activist

Various realist political pundits have suggested — only half-jokingly — that the Nobel Peace Prize should be given to the atomic bomb, since in their view it was nuclear deterrence that prevented the Cold War from turning into a world war.[1] But historian Lawrence S.


Paul Levi: A Luxemburgist Alternative?

The economic crisis and the rise of Occupy have given fresh urgency to the question: is there an alternative to capitalism? And if so, what? For almost a century now the failure of the Russian Revolution has provided capitalism’s defenders with a boogeyman, an argument that any attempt to get rid of the existing system will lead to something even worse.

Means-testing: Shredding the Safety Net

Means-testing benefits that everyone is entitled to receive has become popular with conservatives these days. Conservatives have called for means-testing unemployment benefits, Medicare, and Social Security.

Mobs, Vigilantes, Cops, and Feds: The Repression of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC, or "Snick") came out of the sit-in movement that began on Feb. 1, 1960 in Greensboro, N.C. Its founding convention was at Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C. April 15-17 that year. 200-plus-delegates representing student civil rights organizations at 52 colleges and high schools attended.

Getting Serious About Class Dynamics: Culture, Politics and Class

Labor historians have detailed how the structure of the workplace, the cultural aspects of community, and spatial patterning all impact class consciousness. From coal mining that paradigmatically has the workers living in the hollow and the bosses on the hill to the ethnic enclaves of steel town where different nationality/ethnic groups each occupied their own distinct neighborhoods with taverns, union halls and churches, socialization matters.

Zuccotti at Work: Daydreams of a Rank and Filer

There isn’t a working person alive today who hasn’t idly fantasized about taking control of their lives at work. For many, this is probably just a fantasy about tossing their boss out a window or poisoning their coffee, but others have a more expansive vision of challenging the system of control that gives you an arrogant, unqualified stooge to squeeze the life out of you in the first place.

The Occupy-Labor Partnership in Chicago

The Occupy Movement shows the potential to reinvigorate the labor movement and pull together the working class in a strong fight against the austerity measures being carried out across the country. However, the partnerships between the myriad organizations involved in fighting austerity are tested by cultural differences, divergent interests, and competing visions. In Chicago, the coalition between Occupy, labor, and community remains active on a number of fronts despite these challenges.

Occupy Oakland and the Labor Movement

The relationship between the Occupy movement and segments of organized labor, in their varied institutional and ideological forms, has been a source of much speculation on the left. While there have been strong linkages created in other cities such as New York, many see this interaction as most focused in the East Bay (Oakland, Berkeley) of California. This article is a personal account of the growing dialogue between the labor movement and the Occupy organizing as seen by someone heavily involved in attempting to build these linkages.

Occupy and Labor: Introduction

Labor unions have traditionally claimed to speak for the American working class. Occupy claims to speak for the 99%, for the working class and then some. The claim by both the unions and Occupy to speak for working people simultaneously lays the basis for cooperation and sets the stage for conflict. The two forces could not be more different.

From the Editors

In 1936 at a public confrontation with the philosopher Miguel de Unamuno, the Fascist commander of the Spanish Legion, José Millán-Astray reportedly responded: "¡Muera la inteligencia! ¡Viva la Muerte! ("Death to intelligence! Long live death!") provoking applause from the Falangists.

The Return of the Russian Revolution: Nature of and Perspectives on the Wave of Social Protest in Russia

"Every generation needs a new revolution"
Thomas Jefferson

"The most dangerous thing is to create a system of permanent revolution."
Vladimir Putin