The most recent New Left Review (II/86) starts off with an editorial that approaches the Ukraine crisis calmly and rationally. While exposing the hypocrisy of Western denunciations of the Russian annexation of Crimea, Susan Watkins stresses that the US stumbled into this crisis rather than engineering it. In an ambitious piece Nancy Fraser tries to improve on Marx by arguing that capitalism depends on non-economic boundary conditions, notably social reproduction, nature and the state. These conditions set limits to capitalism’s drive to commodify everything and provide ideological resources for critique and resistance. As ever, Fraser is a lucid writer, but it’s hard to see much that is really new here. Robin Blackburn offers an assessment of the late Stuart Hall that is nicely balanced between celebration and criticism. His discussion of Hall’s involvement in Marxism Today in the 1980s and Ralph Miliband’s attack on the journal’s “new revisionism” is particularly interesting.
The latest issue of Historical Materialism (22.1) has two interesting articles on Marxist value theory. The first, by Elena Louisa Lange, criticises what she argues is the tendency of Uno Kozo, the founder of an influential school of Marxist political economy, to focus his analysis of value and money on the exchange process. The second, by Peter Green (an old contributor to this journal), has much good sense to say in a discussion of some of the main interpretations of Marx’s Capital. Elsewhere in the same issue Peter Bratsis argues that the contemporary NGO-driven anti-corruption movement is a vehicle for transnational capital.
The latest issue of Race & Class features an interview with veteran anti-racist activist A Sivanandan recorded for last year’s Historical Materialism Conference. Liz Fekete also assesses the threat from fascism across Europe and argues that we shouldn’t merely equate fascism with “extremism”—a label that can also be used to attack the left.
Heather Brown is one of several scholars who have recently turned to Marx to understand women’s oppression. In her book Marx on Gender and the Family she argues that Marx and Engels disagreed on issues of gender, with Marx’s “nuanced dialectical understanding” at odds with the “monistic and deterministic nature” of Engels’s thinking. Monthly Review have published a synopsis of this influential book in the June issue.
Lawrence & Wishart’s decision to force the Marxists Internet Archive to remove the portions of Marx’s and Engels’s Collected Works it had put online has caused much justified outrage. You can find information about the campaign against this decision at: http://savemarx.net/ and a petition to sign on change.org: http://chn.ge/1pnmnwp
AC & CR