The Guardian • Issue #2090

Media: Monthly Review

  • by gra
  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2090
Masthead of PDF version of Monthly Review.

Masthead of PDF version of Monthly Review.

Being truly informed and aware is a challenge under capitalism and the associated state apparatus which for us is also geared to US imperialism. It’s a delightful contradiction for me hearing from the belly of the beast via Monthly Review (MR) a self-styled independent socialist organisation based in New York. MR goes beyond the all-too-frequent ‘the left should’ tone of many left publications, and provides the reader with information and inspiration. This can be seen in the recent February edition.

First up, ‘Review of the Month’ by John Bellamy Foster alerts the reader to the alarming danger of US “naked imperialism” as it embraces true first strike nuclear capacity and intent. The US has gone from MAD (mutually assured destruction) to NUTS (nuclear utilisation target selection). With an already frightening array and number of nuclear weapons, added to this arsenal are B61-12 nuclear bombs “the most dangerous nuclear weapon … because it is the most usable, serving the dual purpose of a strategic nuclear weapon capable of a counterforce first strike against hardened missile silos while also doubling as a tactical battlefield weapon.” This more “usable” nuclear weapon is ‘delivered to its target by fighter jets, such as the F-35 stealth fighter, as well as by strategic bombers [and] the US is using it to replace its current nuclear weapons in Europe.’ Clearly Russia feels threatened as NATO’s nuclear sharing agreement means these bombs are just a short flight from their border. More than a history lesson, which alone is reason enough to read it; the article is an accessible fact-based resource for peace activism.

‘Marx and Engels as Polygots’ is an enjoyable and scholarly look at Marx and Engels’ lifelong love of learning and using multiple languages.

As for Benjamin Selwyn and Charis Davis’s article, “The Case for Socialist Veganism – A Political-Economy Approach,” you don’t have to be a vegetarian, a vegan, or a de-growth eco-warrior to understand that humanity has the knowledge and technological capacity to sustain human existence. Selwyn and Davis conclude “that ethical veganism and socialist politics share significant interests” and will need “equalised social relations of production” to better the world, i.e. a plea for socialism. Again their article is more than a clichéd “the left should” as they make concrete evidence-based arguments for how exactly humanity could feed itself less destructively. This reader delighted in understanding how technologies like “precision fermentation,” are able to produce ‘the same amount of protein as soy production does in the United States on 1,700 times less land.’ Or ‘wheat flour-like compound called Solien, composed of 65 to 70 per cent protein, 10 to 15 per cent dietary fiber, 3 to 5 per cent mineral nutrients, and 5 to 8 per cent fat … [which] it is claimed requires twenty thousand times less land than is required to produce the same amount of soy-based protein.

Relocalising elements of food production also accords with this reader’s sense of how the process of decision-making will be after the revolution, which will also bring a much cherished peace.

Monthly Review can be found online at This reader subscribes to the print edition supporting MR’s determination to remain a printed journal.

The Guardian can also be viewed/downloaded in PDF format. View More