Forging Unity Within the Working Class: An Interview with Michael D. Yates


MR Online | August 25, 2020

Can the Working Class Change the World?

In its desperate race to survive its series of crises, capitalism keeps clinging onto its old tool of dividing the working class. But, since commencing its political fight, the working class has uplifted a different call: Workers of the world unite! More than one hundred years ago, the proletariat in Russia trampled over all the divisions among the working class created by capital and achieved a historic victory—the Great October Revolution. But, today, more than a century after the October Revolution, the working class remains divided. In this context, Michael D. Yates, author of Can the Working Class Change the World? (Monthly Review Press, 2018) among other works, longtime union activist, labor educator, and editorial director of Monthly Review Press and former associate editor of Monthly Review magazine, focuses on the question of working-class unity in the following August 2020 interview with Farooque Chowdhury, author and editor of a number of books on working-class history, capitalist crisis, the environment, and microcredit. Chowdhury writes from Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Farooque Chowdhury: Nowadays, far-reaching rage and protests are unfolding in many countries. Hundreds of thousands of people are marching, demanding justice, dignity, equity, safety, and security. These protests are questioning and challenging state machines, ultimately turning into political struggle with political slogans. However, in certain contexts, these struggles occur along color or caste lines instead of class lines despite the ruling class and its state machine being united as a single force to control every sphere of working-class life. From jobs, infrastructure, and incarceration to recreation, land, and home life, the ordinary people are unceasingly under attack. In this context, how do you understand today’s struggles in a number of countries operating along color or caste lines instead of class lines?Read More »


Why the Pandemic Crisis Marks a Dead-end for Capitalism

Prabhat Patnaik

People’s Dispatch | August 28, 2020

There is a commonly-held view that the current crisis in capitalism, which has resulted in a massive output contraction and increase in unemployment, is because of the pandemic; and that once the pandemic gets over, things will go back to “normal”.

This view is entirely erroneous for two reasons. The first, which has been often discussed in this column, has to do with the fact that even before the pandemic, the world economy was slowing down. In fact, since the financial crisis of 2008 following the collapse of the housing bubble, the real economy of the world had never fully recovered.

Small recoveries were followed quickly by collapses; and the low unemployment rates in the United States that had prompted Donald Trump’s triumphalism, were to a very large extent explicable by the reduced work participation rate after 2008. In fact, if we assume the same work participation rate in 2020(just before the pandemic), as had prevailed on the eve of the financial crisis, then the unemployment rate in the US was as high as 8% as compared to the less than 4% mentioned in official figures.Read More »


Madrid: One of the Real but “Polemic” Ways to Defeat the COVID-19

Andre Vltchek

What a joy to travel again!

COVID-19 is not just a disease; it is also a state of mind, a psychosis, a fear. It is an event that, all over the world, unleashed irrational behavior by the governments, individuals, and media. It triggered speculations, bizarre analyses, and selective ‘cut-and-paste science.’

Result: while there are, undeniably, few optimistic success stories, including the Russian vaccine, China’s and Vietnam’s ability to contain the pandemic without ruining the economy and livelihood of the citizens, the great majority of the world is undoubtedly in disarray. Hundreds of millions of people are literally tossed into a gutter. Other billions, all over Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and to some extent, the United States and the U.K. are locked in, unable to travel abroad, and unwilling to accept visitors from other countries.Read More »


“Your Economics Professor is Almost Certainly a Charlatan: A Review with Commentary of ‘My Mis-Education in 3 Graphics’,” a Film by Mary Filippo.

Michael D. Yates

MR Online | August 20, 2020

My Mis-Education in 3 Graphics

This fifty-eight-minute film will interest anyone who has taken a college-level course in economics, especially those who were baffled by the professor’s pronouncements but too insecure or embarrassed to ask an obvious question. Filmmaker Mary Filippo began in 2004 to audit economics classes in the hope that she could “learn something about globalization. Does it really help people in developing countries? What are its downsides?” She did not learn these things. She says, “What I found in these courses was instead a difficult to understand presentation of the economy through graphic models.”(1)Read More »


1848: Marx’s School of Revolution

Luke Hocking

Red Flag | August 19, 2020

Burning the throne of King Louis Philippe: Paris, 25 February 1848.

“A spectre is haunting Europe–the spectre of communism.” So Marx and Engels declared in the Communist Manifesto, a text written in anticipation of the revolutionary wave that swept Europe in 1848. And yet, at the conclusion of that great struggle, Europe looked much the same as it had before.

But despite their ultimate defeats–and in many cases because of those defeats–the 1848 Revolutions were formative to the development of Marx and Engels’ theory of social transformation. While not as familiar to Marxists today as the Russian Revolution of 1917, the 1848 Revolutions are an important part of history for socialists to understand. They provide the key context when reading Marx’s writings during and after the revolutionary wave. These revolutions were the background for the writing of Marx’s famous Communist Manifesto, and their defeat decisively informed Marx’s theory of class struggle and workers’ revolution.

Read More »


Billionaires—Pandemic Edition

David Ruccio

Occasional Links and Commentary | August 24, 2020

2019 was a very good year for the world’s wealthiest individuals. The normal workings of global capitalism created both more billionaires and more combined wealth owned by those billionaires.

According to Wealth-X, which claims to “have developed the world’s most extensive collection of records on wealthy individuals and produce unparalleled data analysis to help our clients uncover, understand, and engage their target audience,  as well as mitigate risk,” the size of the global billionaire population increased strongly in 2019, rising by 8.5 percent
to 2,825 individuals, while their combined wealth increased by 10.3 percent to $9.4 trillion.Read More »


Soberana is Cuba’s, the First Candidate Vaccine Against COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean

Granma | August 27, 2020

Photo: Twitter

A vaccine that exemplifies the development of Cuban science; that places us on the level of economically advanced countries; that honors Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz, the principal architect of the country’s biotechnology sector. This is what Soberana is, the first Cuban candidate vaccine against COVID-19 authorized for testing in clinical trials.

To discuss the process of its development, entering the first phase of clinical trials the end of August, the results of which should be available early next year, and the accomplishment achieved by the joint work of a large group of Cuban scientists, leaders of the Finlay Vaccine Institute (IFV), project researchers, and the assistant director of the State Center for Quality Control of Medications (Cecmed), appeared on Cuban television’s Mesa Redonda program.

Read More »


Cuban Women Dazzle the World with Their Accomplishments


Granma | August 27, 2020

A floral wreath dedicate to Vilma from the Cuban people was placed alongside the monument holding her ashes by Teresa Amarelle and Beatriz Johnson, vice president of the Provincial Defense Council
 Photo: Eduardo Palomares

SEGUNDO FRENTE, SANTIAGO DE CUBA.- On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), August 23, the first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, conveyed recognition and congratulations to all members of the organization for their accomplishments over the years, achieved with strength, sensitivity, integrity and dedication.

FMC General Secretary Teresa Amarelle Boué, also a member of the Party Political Bureau and the Council of State, shared the message from Raúl as she began her remarks at the commemoration of the date here, alongside the monumental boulder that holds the ashes of the FMC’s eternal president, Vilma Espín Guillois.Read More »

Back to top