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.
The Chinese Communist party’s central committee recently held its sixth plenum, to discuss “the major achievements and historical experience” of the party in its 100-year-history, as well as to consider policy “for the future.” Just after this, Jamie Dimon, the JPMorgan Chase chief executive, joked that the Wall Street Bank would outlast the Chinese Communist party. “I made a joke the other day that the Communist party is celebrating its 100th year. So is JPMorgan. I’ll make a bet that we last longer,” he said, speaking at the Boston College Chief Executives Club, a business forum.
What is the experience and future for China and its Communist party rule? It seems appropriate to consider a number of new books on China that have been published that try to answer this question.
False Social Value’ and Real Imperial State Power Andy Higginbottom, Kingston University, London
The dynamics of International exploitation Roberto Veneziani, Queen Mary University of London. UK; Jonathan Cogliano, University of Massachusetts Boston, USA; Naoki Yoshihara, University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA
The International Legal Life of Imperial Rentier Capitalism Christine Schwobel-Patel, University of Warwick, UK
Technological revolutions, global capitalism and the periphery Eduardo Albuquerque, UFMG, Brazil
The Ideological Condition: Selected Essays on History, Race and Gender is a reader comprised of many of Himani Bannerji’s English writings over a long period of teaching and research in Canada and India. Bannerji creates an interdisciplinary analytical method and extends the possibilities of historical materialism by predominantly drawing on Marx, Gramsci, and Dorothy Smith. Essays here instantiate Marx’s general proposition that while all ideology is a form of consciousness, all forms of consciousness are not ideological. Applying this insight to issues ranging from patriarchy through race, class, nationalism, liberalism and fascism, Bannerji breaks through East-West binaries, challenging the mystifying approaches to the constitution of the social, and shows that a sustained struggle against ideological thinking is at the heart of a fundamental socialist struggle.
Archaeologists have uncovered evidence that hunter-gatherers in North America were using tobacco around 12,300 years ago — 9,000 years earlier than was previously documented.
Tobacco use spread worldwide after contact between European explorers and Indigenous people in North America in the fifteenth century. But researchers debate precisely how and when tobacco plants (Nicotiana spp.) were first domesticated.
Now, Daron Duke and his colleagues at the Far Western Anthropological Research Group in Davis, California, have discovered the oldest direct evidence of tobacco use at a hunter-gatherer camp in Utah’s West Desert. They published the findings on 11 October in Nature Human Behaviour1.
The systematic assassination of social leaders and human rights defenders in Colombia continues unceasingly at a horrifying rate. On average, everyday, at least one violent incident and more than one death is recorded in the South American country. On September 20, the Institute of Development and Peace Studies (INDEPAZ) reported that five social leaders were murdered in different parts of the country on that same day.
María Nancy Ramírez, a teacher and member of the Antioquia Teachers Association, was shot dead by two assassins in Santa Rosa de Osos city in the Antioquia department. Jose Luis Pai and Jovanny Javier García, Indigenous leaders of the Awa Quejuambi Feliciana and Hojal La Turbia communities respectively, disappeared on September 19 and were found dead with several signs of violence in Tumaco city, in the Nariño department. Dilio Bailarin, Indigenous leader and member of the Alto Guayabalito Community, was killed in Carmen del Darién town, in the Chocó department. He had recently received threats from illegal armed groups operating in the municipality. David Aricapa Viscue, a member of the Lopez Adentro Indigenous Community, was also shot dead in Caloto town, in the Cauca department.
Maeve Wallace has studied maternal health in the United States for more than a decade, and a grim statistic haunts her. Five years ago, she published a study showing that being pregnant or recently having had a baby nearly doubles a woman’s risk of being killed1. More than half of the homicides she tracked, using data from 37 states, were perpetrated with a gun.
In March 2020, she saw something she hadn’t seen before: a funding opportunity from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study deaths and injuries from gun violence. She had mentioned firearms in her studies before. But knowing that the topic is politically fraught, she often tucked related terms and findings deep within her papers and proposals. This time, she says, she felt emboldened to focus on guns specifically, and to ask whether policies that restrict firearms for people convicted of domestic violence would reduce the death rate for new and expecting mothers. Male partners are the killers in nearly half of homicides involving women in the United States. “This call for proposals really motivated me to ask the research questions that I may not have otherwise asked,” says Wallace, an epidemiologist at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.
[The Chinese Revolution and the Chinese Communist Party is a textbook which was written jointly by Comrade Mao Tse-tung and several other comrades in Yenan to the winter of 1939. The first chapter, “Chinese Society”, was drafted by other comrades and revised by Comrade Mao Tse-tung. The second chapter, “The Chinese Revolution”, was written by Comrade Mao Tse-tung himself. Another chapter, scheduled to deal with “Party Building”, was left unfinished by the comrades working on it. The two published chapters, and especially Chapter II, have played a great educational role in the Chinese Communist Party and among the Chinese people. The views on New Democracy set out by Comrade Mao Tse-tung in Chapter II were considerably developed in his “On New Democracy”, written in January 1940.]
China is one of the largest countries in the world, her territory being about the size of the whole of Europe. In this vast country of ours there are large areas of fertile land which provide us with food and clothing; mountain ranges across its length and breadth with extensive forests and rich mineral deposits; many rivers and lakes which provide us with water transport and irrigation; and a long coastline which facilitates communication with nations beyond the seas. From ancient times our forefathers have laboured, lived and multiplied on this vast territory.
China borders on the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in the northeast, the northwest and part of the west; the Mongolian People’s Republic in the north; Afghanistan, India, Bhutan and Nepal in the southwest and part of the west; Burma and Indo-China in the south; and Korea in the east, where she is also a close neighbor of Japan and the Philippines. China’s geographical setting has its advantages and disadvantages for the Chinese people’s revolution. It is an advantage to be adjacent to the Soviet Union and fairly distant from the major imperialist countries in Europe and America, and to have many colonial or semi-colonial countries around us. It is a disadvantage that Japanese imperialism, making use of its geographical proximity, is constantly threatening the very existence of all China’s nationalities and the Chinese people’s revolution.
Media reports from the U.S. tell about environmental incidents and hardship of the common people in the society.
Fracking and Children
A Fort Worth Star-Telegram report (Thousands of Arlington’s schoolchildren are exposed to fracking fumes, report warns, Thu, June 17, 2021) said:
More than half of Arlington’s public school children attend classes within half a mile of a natural gas drilling site, prompting concerns about the effects of fracking on their health, according to a new report published Tuesday.
A year-long investigation by the Center for Investigative Reporting — which produces the popular news podcast Reveal — found that more than 30,000 Arlington kids go to school near a drilling site. Up to 7,600 infants and toddlers are dropped off at private daycares within the same half-mile radius of drilling, according to the center’s analysis.