Edward said, a towering intellectual and political philosopher of our times, was also a crusader of justice and human rights. He taught us to rethink the colonial enterprise in precise political terms by delineating the epistemological violence at its core. He underscored the fact that its strategy of control and domination derived basically from an attempt to define oriental knowledge by deforming and disfiguring it in ways that suited colonial interests. He called this massive devastation of civilizational knowledge, Orientalism. It became a classic work on its own right, although it had ostensible intellectual debts to the emerging fields of post structuralism and post modernism in multiple ways. His work paved the way for the emergence of a new hybrid discipline known as postcolonialism that gleaned freely from philosophy, literature and pollical science and shocked academia for decades to come. The book by Prasad Pannian is a significant addition to the global discussions on Edward Said and his enormous contributions to our cultural, political and social history.Read More »
People walk through mounds of rubble which used to be high rise apartment buildings in the Ansari neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria. | Hassan Ammar / AP
“Are wars of aggression, wars for the conquest of colonies, then just big business? Yes, it would seem so, however much the perpetrators of such national crimes seek to hide their true purpose under banners of high sounding abstractions and ideals.”
This quote from Norman Bethune is the frontispiece for Washington’s Long War on Syria by Stephen Gowans, just out from Baraka Books.Read More »
Somehow, the new book of Arundhati Roy: The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, does not seem to have received the reception it deserved. Partly this is understandable, because the fanfare, with which the first novel was celebrated when it received the Booker, could not be repeated. I saw only a few reviews of the new book. They were either written by fans or decided non-fans. There was a common tendency to compare the new book with the earlier one. This in itself is a problematic, if not wrong, approach. The God of Small Things was the living down of a childhood in a Syrian Christian village environment, violation of marriage rules, caste barriers, coming to terms with an orthodox communism under which playmates could be Lenin or Stalin, but never Trotzky or Rosa. The ingeneousness of that book was to make the microcosm of that village intelligible to the whole wide world without compromising the local colour. In the intermittent twenty years, Arundhati has worked hard to understand People’s Struggles, first in Narmada, then all over the country. She plunged wholeheartedly into the Nuclear Question, which she felt to be “The End of Imagination”. She also did “Walking with the Comrades” in Bastar. She has lived down the caste question further in her long essay “The Doctor and the Saint”, which was published with the critical edition of Dr. Ambedkar’s Annihilation of Caste (New Delhi 2014).Read More »
Photo Illustration of V.I. Lenin set against Reuters photos of New York City, and Mosul in ruins. | Photo: Elliott Gabriel / teleSUR
A new book released in the Philippines collects the work of eight authors who re-examine modern imperialism and monopoly capitalism a century after Lenin’s groundbreaking title was published.
One hundred years ago, Russian revolutionary Vladimir Ilyich Lenin’s seminal 128-page work, Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism, was published for the first time in pamphlet form. Written a year prior from his place of exile in neutral Switzerland and released in then-Russian capital Petrograd, the pamphlet took shape amid the world’s first truly global conflict – when cities were reduced to rubble, empires were toppled and millions of lives were claimed.Read More »
Frank Little’s Grave | “Frank Little and the IWW” Facebook page
A giant hole in American labor history has been filled. By Jane Little Botkin in her new title, Frank Little and the IWW: The Blood That Stained an American Family.
Frank Little’s great-grandniece has explained every known detail of the great union organizer’s life. A hundred and twenty-five pages of careful research testify to her ability as a historian of the first rank. She also reveals family records hidden for a century. She has written not only the best biography of Frank Little possible, but she also put the events of his life and times in context so that a reader can, from this one book, draw the important lessons of the missing chapters—1905-1919—of American history.Read More »
In this blistering, nuanced, and timely critique of work culture and society, Romi Mahajan argues in his new book ” Coporate Society And Its Perils” that young people can (and must) forge a career path based on freedom, creativity, and citizenship. Mahajan argues that the pressure from almost all quarters for young people to succumb to the blandishments and enticements of corporate culture is destructive to soul and, further, that possibilities exist to avoid the trap.Read More »
President Hugo Chávez with residents of the Caracas barrio of Antímano. (Archive)
By the end of the last century, Venezuela’s old constitutional order, which for four decades had rotated power between two ideologically indistinguishable parties, was close to collapse. The crisis had started decades earlier, in 1983, when the bottom fell out of the world oil market. Then, as now, Venezuela derived most of its state revenue from the export of petroleum. By that point, the country had become heavily urban: 16 of its 19 million people lived in cities, a significant majority below the poverty line, with many in extreme poverty. Most of these urban poor resided in shanty towns sprawling up along the mountain walls that encircle Caracas, where the better-off live. In 1989, the government tried to solve the crisis of cheap oil with IMF-brokered austerity, which drove the poor down into the city, where they rioted and looted for three days. According to some observers, the military killed more than a thousand people, though the number is disputed and there has never been an official tally. The Caracazo, as the uprising became known, marked the beginning of increasingly focused opposition throughout most of Latin America to post-1970s economic orthodoxy, which held that high interest rates, balanced budgets, low tariffs, privatised industries, weakened labour laws and reduced social spending were the keys to development. Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia, Uruguay, Chile and El Salvador would all eventually come to elect governments trying to find a way out of the neoliberal straitjacket.
The Peoples Climate March in New York, on September 21, 2014.
In his new book A Redder Shade of Green, Canadian ecosocialist activist and Climate and Capitalism editor Ian Angus says ecosocialism must be based on a careful and deliberate synthesis of Marxist social science and Earth system science — a 21st century rebirth of scientific socialism.
ARedder Shade of Green was published this month by Monthly Review Press. It can be purchased directly from the publisher, or from most online booksellers. Its introduction is abridged below.
We are all star dust. From the searing hot liquid magma inside the earth to the dying polar bears in the Arctic, from the rainbow in the sky to the enigmatic Mona Lisa, from the first microbe to the most powerful man on earth are made up of stardust. We are all connected. Human beings in their unbridled hubris forget this basic fact. Human beings in their insatiable greed, devastate and destroy our only living home, our mother earth. This volume is an effort to connect the dotsRead More »
Review of Naomi Klein, No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need (Chicago: Haymarket, 2017).
A new book by Naomi Klein, one of the leading left journalists and critics in North America, and the author of such important treatises as No Logo, The Shock Doctrine, and This Changes Everything is not something one wants to miss, especially when it is on the 2016 election and the rise of Donald Trump. This book, though, written over a few months rather than years, is meant to play a different role than her major treatises. No Is Not Enough is a conversational book aimed at a liberal audience perplexed by the whole Trump phenomenon and wanting to know what to do. Klein’s answer is to resist, but to resist with a purpose.