The Communist Women’s Movement, 1920-1922

Proceedings, Resolutions, and Reports

Series: Historical Materialism Book Series, Volume: 268

Volume Editors: Michael Taber and Daria Dyakonova

BRILL

The Communist Women’s Movement (CWM), virtually unknown today, was the world’s first international revolutionary organisation of women. Formed in 1920, the CWM mapped out a programme for women’s emancipation; participated in struggles for women’s rights; and worked to advance women’s participation in the Communist movement.

The present volume, part of a series on the Communist International in Lenin’s time, contains proceedings and resolutions of CWM conferences, along with reports on its work around the world. Most of the contents here are published in English for the first time, with almost half appearing for the first time in any language.

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The General Law of Capitalist Accumulation in Latin America and Beyond

Actuality and Pertinence

EDITED BY LORENZO FUSARO AND LEINAD JOHAN ALCALÁ SANDOVAL – CONTRIBUTIONS BY ROSSANA CILLO; LUIS FELIPE DOCOA; ROBERTO FINESCHI; ABELARDO MARIÑA FLORES; LORENZO FUSARO; CARLOS ALBERTO DUQUE GARCÍA; SERGIO CÁMARA IZQUIERDO; MATARI PIERRE MANIGAT; LUCIA PRADELLA; WILLIAM I. ROBINSON; SIBYL ITALIA PINEDA SALAZAR AND LEINAD JOHAN ALCALÁ SANDOVAL

This edited collection engages with Marx’s General Law of Capitalist Accumulation, examining the relevance and actuality of Marx’s propositions for the analysis of contemporary capitalism in Latin America and beyond. The contributors offer an original and updated interpretation of Marx while also examining important topics in political economy. The contributors bring critical insights into scholarly debates on imperialism, exploitation, labor, and development.

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Book: Truth and Lies about the famine in Ukraine, by Nikos Mottas

In Defense of Communism | June 18, 2022

The mythology surrounding the so-called Holodomor, the Ukrainian famine of 1932-1933, is exposed in a concise 78-pages book edited by Nikos Mottas and published in Greek language by Atexnos Publishing House.

For many decades, the issue of the Ukrainian famine in 1932-33, the famous Holodomor, occupies a prominent place in the arsenal of anti-communism. Especially after the counter-revolutionary overthrows in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in the early 1990s, the Holodomor is at the forefront of a systematic and persistent attempt to vilify socialism of the 20th century and present it as an evil, inhumane system which is supposedly responsible for millions of deaths. 

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Marx in Paris, 1871

Jenny’s ”Blue Notebook”

by Olivier Besancenot and Michael Löwy
Translated by Todd Chretien

Haymarket Books

In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune, leftist writers Olivier Besancenot and Michael Löwy offer a deeply informed, and eminently enjoyable, imagined history of what might have been if Karl Marx and his eldest daughter, Jenny, had travelled to Paris during the heady weeks of April 1871. In disguise, employing imperfect but serviceable French, Karl and Jenny encounter and debate many important figures of the movement, including Leó Frankel, Eugène Varlin, Charles Longuet, Elisabeth Dmitrieff, and Louise Michel, eventually returning to England with a profoundly changed sense of political possibility.

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The Austrian Revolution

by Otto Bauer

Edited by Walter Baier and Eric Canepa

Translated by Eric Canepa

Hay Market Books

This is the story of the decline and fall of an empire, a region devastated by war, and a world stage fundamentally transformed by the Russian Revolution. Bauer’s magisterial work — available in English for the first time in full — charts the evolution of three simultaneous, overlapping revolutionary waves: a national revolution for self-determination, which brought down imperial Austro-Hungary; a bourgeois revolution for parliamentary republics and universal suffrage; and a social revolution for workers’ control, factory councils, and industrial democracy.

The brief but crowning achievement of Red Vienna, alongside Bauer’s unique theorization of an “integral socialism” — an attempted synthesis of revolutionary communism and social democracy — is a vital part of the left’s intellectual and historical heritage. Today, as movements once again struggle with questions of reform or revolution, political strategy, and state power, this is a crucial resource. Bauer tells the story of the Austrian Revolution with all the immediacy of a central participant, and all the insight of a brilliant and original theorist.

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Stuart Hall

Selected Writings on Marxism

Edited, introduced and with commentary by Gregor McLennan, Duke University Press, Durham/London, 2021. 364 pp., $29.95 pb
ISBN 9781478000341

Reviewed by Christian Lotz

Marx & Philosophy Review of Books | March 31, 2022

This volume within the series Selected Writings of Stuart Hall, which Duke University Press has published over the last years, is a much needed and welcoming addition to the already existing volumes that include editions on the popular arts, media, politics, race and difference, identity and diaspora, the foundations of cultural studies, as well as on Hall’s auto-biography Familiar Stranger: A Life Between Two Islands, in which Hall describes his life and ‘diasporic self’ as ‘inserted into history’ somewhere between the Caribbean and Great Britain. The published volumes present Hall as one of the most important and brilliant left intellectuals of the last 50 years, especially as his work comprises a broad range and mixture of general cultural and societal issues, compelling interventions into politics and extremely careful abstract theoretical reflections. In addition, the series reveals the intellectual unity and development of a fascinating writer and mind who, throughout his lifetime, stayed uncannily close to the intellectual heartbeats of his time, society and historical conjunctures. Undoubtedly, this was at least in part due both to his influential editorial work for The New Left Review and to his involvement in the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham. Hall’s position between structuralist Marxism and cultural studies, which is the focus of this volume, makes him interesting (again) for our contemporary debates, since we can learn from Hall how to avoid the pitfalls of either doing too much Marxist theorizing or doing too much cultural interpretation. In the spirit of Kant’s dictum that concepts without intuitions remain empty and intuitions without concepts remain blind, we might say that a critical theory of society without cultural studies remains empty, and cultural studies without a Marxist theory of society remains blind.

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Capital Hates Everyone: Fascism or Revolution

Maurizio Lazzarato

Semiotext(e), South Pasadena, 2021. 247 pp., $15.95 pb
ISBN 9781635901382

Reviewed by Conor Bean

Marx & Philosophy Review of Books | June 11, 2022

For a decade now Maurizio Lazzarato’s analyses have been swiftly translated into English after a period of relative lag in uptake in the anglophone world, a case of missed connection in the flurry of importing French and Italian radical thought. His reception has picked up speed because he writes passionately in a polemical tenor that makes for quick and punchy reading, although much of the analysis relies on technical terminology from contemporary European philosophy that renders accessibility elusive at times. The rapidity of translation via the Semiotex(e) Intervention Series has resonated with the conjunctural nature of Lazzarato’s writing, as he has moved swiftly to make sense of a shifting political terrain in theory and providing assessments of radical political movements. Capital Hates Everyone: Fascism or Revolution offers a political intervention in the sense of taking stock of contemporary tendencies and putting forth a set of strategic concerns animating a politics for the moment of its writing. As such, Capital Hates Everyone might be best read as a historical appraisal of a particular conjuncture in which the threat of ascendent fascist tendencies in global politics meets the continuing dominance of neoliberalism, while protest movements like the Gilets jaunes in France struggle to find a footing. In the book’s introduction, the ‘yellow vests’ movement roiling France at the time of the book’s writing is instructive in multiple ways. First, far from being a model of future organization, the yellow vests movement demonstrates some of the weaknesses and temptations found in what Lazzarato describes as ‘68 thought’, the proliferation of leftist political theories and organizational models in Western Europe since the failed pre-revolutionary moment of 1968. More than this, however, the response of the French state to these protests has laid bare the depth of ‘class hatred’, the affective revulsion of capitalism’s managers for any insurgent activity, along with the strategic lengths they will go to erase political possibilities beyond the neoliberal consensus (9-10). Hence the title, Capital Hates Everyone. For Lazzarato, anti-capitalists must reckon with the intensity of reaction that capitalists can rouse among themselves and in new fascist movements that seek nothing less than the liquidation of dissent.

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From Feudalism to Capitalism

Social and Political Change in Castile and Western Europe, 1250–1520

Series: Historical Materialism Book Series, Volume: 252

Author: Carlos Astarita Translator: David Broder

BRILL

Cover From Feudalism to Capitalism

Carlos Astarita’s From Feudalism to Capitalism: Social and Political Change in Castile and Western Europe, 1250–1520 presents for an English-speaking readership a major intervention in a number of debates in Marxist historiography. The work has four thematic nuclei: the socio-political evolution that led to the feudal state, the genesis of capitalist rural production, the class struggle and the relationship of these factors with the commercial flow between regions. Received interpretations are revaluated through a series of original case studies that greatly enrich our understanding of theoretical terms, and suggest new interpretations of the absolutist state, the temporal validity of the law of value and the origins of capitalism.

This book was originally published in Spanish as Del feudalismo al capitalismo/i> by Publicacions Universitat de València (PUV), 2005, 978-84-370-6206-8.

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Wars of Position? Marxism Today, Cultural Politics and the Remaking of the Left Press, 1979-90

Series: Historical Materialism Book Series, Volume: 248

Author: H.F. Pimlott

BRILL

<img src="https://brill.com/coverimage?doc=%2Ftitle%2F21878&width=300&quot; alt="Cover Wars of Position? <i>Marxism Today

Inspired by Raymond Williams’ cultural materialism, H.F. Pimlott explores the connections between political practice and cultural form through Marxism Today’s transformation from a Communist Party theoretical journal into a ‘glossy’ left magazine. Marxism Today’s successes and failures during the 1980s are analysed through its political and cultural critiques of Thatcherism and the left, especially by Stuart Hall and Eric Hobsbawm, innovative publicity and marketplace distribution, relationships with the national UK press, cultural coverage, design and format, and writing style. Wars of Position offers insights for contemporary media activists and challenges the neglect of the left press by media scholars.

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‘The Dawn of Everything’ gets human history wrong

Is inequality inevitable? Is freedom just a choice? Two materialist critiques of a widely-praised book.

Climate and Capitalism | December 17, 2021

Introduction

It’s not often that a book by radical authors gets reviewed — let alone favorably reviewed — in the mainstream press. The Dawn of Everything, by David Graeber and David Wengrow, is an exception. Published just two months ago, it has already received accolades from many of the world’s most influential English-language newspapers and magazines.

Even reviewers who question the author’s arguments for anarchism have hailed it as “a brilliant new account upends bedrock assumptions about 30,000 years of change,” (Atlantic) and “a dazzling array of stories about civilizations across many continents and thousands of years, all of which are grappling with what it means to be free” (Washington Post). We’ve also seen positive comments — raves in some cases! — from left-wing posters on social media.

It is certainly an enthralling book, but the two reviews published below, both from materialist anthropologists, argue that its account of human history ignores masses of contrary evidence, and that its political argument is idealist and voluntarist. Both reviews are particularly critical of the book’s failure to consider the causes of the oppression of women.

Chris Knight is a senior research fellow in anthropology at University College London, where he forms part of a team researching the origins of our species in Africa. His books include Blood Relations: Menstruation and the Origins of Culture and Decoding Chomsky: Science and Revolutionary Politics. His review of The Dawn of Everything was first published in Times Higher Education.

Nancy Lindisfarne and Jonathan Neale both trained as anthropologists and are finishing a book about human evolution, class society and sexual violence. Nancy’s most recent book, with Richard Tapper, is Afghan Village Voices: Stories from a Tribal Community, 2020. Jonathan’s is Fight the Fire: Green New Deals and Global Climate Jobs. Their review of The Dawn of Everything was published in The Ecologist, and in their blog, Anne Bonny Pirate.

Both reviews are republished with the kind permission of the authors.

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