This quarter’s selection

Issue: 107

The May issue of Monthly Review is the best for a long time. It contains an outstanding article on Albert Einstein’s Marxist politics (by John J Simon and available at; a very useful piece commemorating the 20th anniversary of Levins’ and Lewontin’s pathbreaking The Dialectical Biologist (by Brett Clark and Richard York); an account of the international experience in organising informal sector workers (by Fatma Ulku Selcuk); and an account of how the US AFL-CIO union federation’s international department has continued its long history of working for an agenda laid down by the CIA and the State Department—which has had its effect on TUC policy as regards Latin America.

In the previous issue Michael D Yates provides a thorough going ‘Statistical Portrait of the US Working Class’ (available at

Hidden away in the back end of the March-April New Left Review (number 32) is an article which complements very well Simon Gilbert’s piece on China’s workers in this journal. Yan Lian reviews a survey of peasant life by Chen Guidi and Wu Chuntao that has been banned by the Chinese government. It provides a devastating account of the desperate plight and sporadic rebellions of half the population as neo-liberals exalt the country’s embrace of the market as the model for the whole third world.

Also of interest in this issue of NLR are the first part of a long piece by Giovanni Arrighi arguing that the US is losing its global hegemony, a piece by Wang Chaohua on Taiwan and a review by John Newsinger of two recent books telling of the barbarity of the British crushing of the Mao Mao movement in Kenya half a century ago.

John Newsinger also appears in a debate with Andy Croft over George Orwell in issue 26 of Socialist History.

A useful follow-on for readers of Claudio Katz’s article in this issue will be the April Science and Society. It contains a symposium on left strategy in Latin America, with pieces by the former Mexican foreign minister Jorge Castañeda, the left wing academic specialist on Venezuela, Steve Ellner, the Cuba-based Chilian activist and journalist Marta Harnecker and veteran left wing commentator James Petras.

Recent issues of the Journal of Agrarian Change have carried a three part book-length study of the rise of capitalist agriculture in Scotland by Neil Davidson (whose review of Pierre Broué’s The German Revolution will appear in our next journal). It is very relevant to the debate over the rise of capitalism with Bob Brenner which took place at the day school we organised with Historical Materialism last year. The issues also contain what look like interesting articles on the effect of the neo-liberal turn in Vietnam, Jamaica and elsewhere.

Anyone interested in controversies in Marxist economics should look at Rick Kuhn’s long piece (using previously unpublished and untranslated material) on the German Marxist of the 1920s Henryk Grossman in Research in Political Economy 21.

The Marxists Internet Archive have recently announced that they have created and massively expanded their online Marxist writers archive in Arabic, including a lot by Lenin and Trotsky (they say, much of it for the first time).

Finally, the issue of Revolutionary History that comes out around the same time as this journal looks to be a real treat. It is devoted to the Russian Revolution of 1905, with translations of eyewitness reports and workers’ leaflets, accounts of the mass strikes and preparations for uprisings, unpublished pieces by Rosa Luxemburg and much more.