Congratulations on the 100th issue!

ISR authors, contributors, and readers weigh in

“The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it,” said the young Karl. In order to change the world, however, revolutionaries certainly need to understand it. ISR combines a high intellectual standard with active political commitment in the best tradition of revolutionaries who take analysis and theory seriously.” 
–Gilbert Achcar, professor, SOAS, University of London and author of the forthcoming Morbid Symptoms: Relapse in the Arab Uprising

International Socialist Review is an invaluable resource for Marxist scholars and activists alike, marrying insightful theoretical commentary with rich empirical analysis.”
Alexander Anievas, author of Capital, the State, and War: Class Conflict and Geopolitics in Thirty Years’ Crisis, 1914-1945; and coauthor with Kerem Nisancioglu, How the West Came to Rule: The Geopolitical Origins of Capitalism

“As the media sink in flotsam and jetsam, ISR remains an invaluable source of information and inspiration. A hundred issues is a marvelous achievement. Here’s to a thousand more.” 
David Barsamian, founder and director, Alternative Radio

“The Left today needs as many voices as possible to assert an alternative analysis and alternative values to an increasingly murderous and self-destructive world system. So well done to International Socialist Review, and long may it continue to speak out for socialist internationalism.” 
Ian Birchall, socialist translator and author of numerous works, including The Spectre of Babeuf, forthcoming from Haymarket Books.

“As student activists, we require solid social theory and research to help us assess the world around us and formulate the right objectives, strategies, and tactics to change it. For this, there’s no better place to go than ISR, which offers perspectives on the most pressing matters of our time, with the maximum degree of clarity, brevity, and sophistication.” 
Dorian Bon, Columbia University socialist, avid ISR reader

International Socialist Review is an invaluable source of socialist ideas and debate. The surprising re-entrance of the notion of socialism into US politics makes it all the more necessary to combine an iconoclastic urge for theoretical renewal with a thorough rootedness in the long history of radical thought. Congratulations on your achievement, and on to the next 100!” 
Pepijn Brandon, socialist activist, author, and radical historian from Amsterdam

International Socialist Review is a unique journal—resolutely internationalist, unapologetically Marxist, and tied to a socialist activist readership but increasingly unafraid to push against the boundaries of old certainties and timeworn truisms. It is a journal that is needed more than ever to help us navigate these stormy seas.” 
Sebastian Budgen, member of the editorial board of Historical Materialism, senior editor at Verso Books

ISR has been a regular source of informed analysis and thoughtful commentary, invaluable to an activist left intent on changing the world. And the world has to be changed: radically, and soon. The challenges that the Left faces today—that everyone faces—are not merely serious but literally awesome. The need for independent critical analysis and constructive ideas and planning is correspondingly acute. ISR continues to play a very important role in meeting these challenges.” 
Noam Chomsky

“An article in the November 2012 issue of ISR contains this sketch of the post-1970’s political environment: ‘Faced with such profound reaction and demobilization of the radical movements after a period in which revolution seemed possible, many on the left fell into disorientation, infighting, pessimism, and confusion. Most gave up on revolution altogether.’ Yes, tragically, that nails it. Which is why left publications such as ISR matter so damn much. For those who haven’t given up on revolution altogether, these spaces of informed and impassioned debate are critical to reorienting ourselves, learning to resist the seduction of infighting, and reinfusing our “pessimism of the mind” with “optimism of the will.” 
Ellen David Friedman, long-time organizer National Education Association in Vermont, founding member of the Progressive Party of VT, and member of the Labor Notes policy committee

ISR has been a big help for us. We read it, we translate it, we have discussions about it with militants in the ranks of Syriza and now in Popular Unity. The way that you are defending the revolutionary Marxist tradition, the contribution to the analysis of the contemporary world situation, the way of presenting the popular and workers’ resistance in the strongest imperialist country, has been valuable in the effort to rebuild the Left in a country with a strong Stalinist tradition. Keep up this great work, having always in mind its international importance.” 
Antonis Davanellos, International Workers’ Left (DEA), member of Popular Unity, Greece

“Committed to a clear political perspective without collapsing into sectarian certainties, prepared to engage with contemporary theoretical debates without recourse to academic jargon, ISR has for its first 100 issues been one of the most stimulating and informative journals of the revolutionary left. I wish it all the best for the next 100.” 
Neil Davidson, author of numerous books including the Deutscher Prize-winner Discovering the Scottish Revolution, and How Revolutionary Were the Bourgeois Revolutions? He lectures at the University of Glasgow, Scotland

“I discovered ISR about fifteen years ago at a Canadian bookstore and was immediately impressed with how the journal combines eloquent and sharp prose, with well-argued and original Marxist analysis, as well as a moral vision of why we must challenge and change the capitalist status quo. This journal brings together cutting-edge activists and scholars for open, nondogmatic, and mutually enriching debates to create a better world." 
Dr. Axel Fair-Schulz, associate professor of European History at SUNY Potsdam and coeditor of Volume 3 of The Collected Works of Rosa Luxemburg

“For 100 issues, International Socialist Review has been a principled exponent of a socialism from below approach to politics. Its uncompromising, well-informed and analytically sharp articles have helped new generations of activists to understand the world in order to transform it.” 
Samuel Farber, author of many articles and several books on Cuba, including Cuba Since the Revolution of 1959: A Critical Assessment, and the forthcoming The Politics of Che Guevara: Theory and Practice

“In the fight for justice, theoretical clarity is crucial. Since 1997, ISR has been invaluable for its analysis of wars and revolutions to its coverage of local struggles, making it a truly indispensable tool for the scholars and activists of our generation.
Anand Gopal, author of No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes

“In a time of intractable capitalist and ecological crisis, deepening inequality and exploitation, seemingly insatiable imperialist violence, and routine murdering of people of color by state security apparatuses, the International Socialist Review breaks through the ruling classes’ lies and distortions to offer those of us dreaming of a better world the necessary tools to understand and to act.” 
Todd Gordon, author of Imperialist Canada; and with Jeffery Webber the forthcoming Blood of Extraction: Canadian Imperialism in Latin America

“People who want to learn about socialism won’t get very far looking in Merriam-Webster. ISR, however, is a resource for teaching yourself Marxism. No one has done a better job of applying the ideas of the socialist tradition to North America (and beyond) in the twenty-first century.” 
Brian Jones, teacher, actor, activist, contributing author to Education and Capitalism: Struggles for Learning and Liberation, and co-narrator of the independent film The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman

“The financiers and business magnates have their own Ivy League publications. International Socialist Review is a freedom school for the exploited and oppressed. A subscription to ISR is an enrollment in an exhilarating course that connects immediate fights for social justice with the history, theory, strategies, and traditions we need to win the struggle for human liberation.” 
Jesse Hagopian, teacher, Black Student Union advisor, Garfield High School, Seattle; editor, More Than a Score: The New Uprising Against High-Stakes Testing; associate editor, Rethinking Schools magazine

“Congratulations to all at ISR on your first century! Looking forward to the next 100 issues keeping up the same high standard of analysis and debate.” 
Charlie Hore, socialist activist in Britain currently writing a book about China; a founding member of Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century (rs21)

“Since its inception, International Socialist Review has established itself as one of the foremost political journals of the international left. Topical, insightful, intellectually challenging, and not afraid of provoking debate, I hope it’s still around when the revolution occurs!” 
Ron Jacobs, library worker, novelist, and author of The Way the Wind Blew: A History of the Weather Underground

“Congratulations for the International Socialist Review’s 100th issue. Keep publishing and disseminating the excellent articles and reviews for which the magazine is known and which many in Latin America follow closely.” 
Claudio Katz, professor of economics at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, researcher with the National Council of Science and Technology, and a member of Economists of the Left. Author of numerous articles and books on the global economic crisis

“Most of the texts extruded by contemporary publishing are turgid or trivial or both. ISR’s lucid analyses and commentaries are a region of light in this vast, dingy swamp. I look forward to the journal’s next hundred issues.” 
Rick Kuhn, winner of the Deutscher Prize for Henryk Grossman and the Recovery of Marxism, and veteran Marxist writer and activist in Australia

ISR has been an important vehicle for radical thought in a world characterized by increasing class polarization, intensifying oppression of all sorts, environmental degradation, and militarism. Its key strength is that is has not only brought socialist classics to a new generation of activists and thinkers, it has also published original articles that have developed Marxist theory and practice. Congratulations on 100 issues, and I look forward to the next 100.” 
Deepa Kumar, professor of media studies, and vice president, AAUP-AFT union at Rutgers University

“The first hundred issues of ISR have impacted substantially on the development of Marxist analysis and socialist consciousness, just as expanding struggles cry out for the journal’s deepening contributions today and tomorrow.” 
Paul LeBlanc, socialist historian and activist, author of numerous books, including Lenin and the Revolutionary Party and Leon Trotsky

“With the intensification of global ecological, geopolitical, and economic crises many people are searching for both information and to understand the underlying causes. This provides an opportunity to educate on the pitfalls of capitalism and its role in creating these crises as well as the possibilities of socialism—a system based on equality, solidarity, democracy, and production for social needs using ecologically sound methods instead of profit. In its 100th issue ISR is continuing to play an important role in forwarding the greatly needed educational effort at this critical time.” 
Fred Magdoff, writer for Monthly Review, author and co-author of many books including The Great Financial Crisis and What Environmentalist Needs to Know about Capitalism

“The Left today urgently needs serious theoretical forums that celebrate the achievements of past struggles, while not flinching in the face of the new challenges confronting us, from the environmental crisis to race, gender and the changing working class. For many years, International Socialist Review has been just such a place for the sort of Marxist analysis we need—intelligent, creative and politically committed to understanding the world in order to change it.” 
David McNally, author of Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis, and Resistance and Monsters of the Market: Zombies, Vampires and Global Capitalism

“Since its inception ISR has been a beacon of ideas and analysis for the international left, a tribune for workers of the world, and an essential voice for the oppressed. Every issue is a brick in the revolution we need to build.” 
Bill V. Mullen, coeditor with Ashley Dawson, Against Apartheid: The Case for Boycotting Israeli Universities; Organizing Collective, US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel

International Socialist Review is one of those rare publications on the revolutionary left—a journal that attempts to bridge the gap between Marxian intellectuals and socialist militants in the movements.” —Charles Post, long-time socialist activist and author of The American Road to Capitalism

ISR brings a significant contribution to the struggle for a better world, when action is necessary but it is just as urgent that we take the time to think things through.” 
Benoit Renaud, former general secretary of Québec Solidaire (QS) 2008-2010. He has written for several socialist and leftist publications in both French and English

“Socialists the world over benefit from ISR’s careful analysis and free-wheeling debate. We particularly appreciate ISR’s close-up view of workers’ experience and political struggle in the world’s prime imperialist power. Congratulations to ISR on its centenary issue.” 
John Riddell, translator and editor of volumes of documents of the Communist movement in the era of the Russian revolution, including To the Masses: Proceedings of the Third Congress of the Communist International, 1921

“During this dreary era of neoliberal ascendency, International Socialist Review has been a rare anticapitalist voice, combining informed topicality with grounded Marxist analysis accessible to activists.” 
Michael Schwartz, author of many books including War without End: The Iraq War in Context

“The first issue of ISR appeared in the summer of 1997, when Bill Clinton occupied the White House and the global justice movement was on the ascendancy. While much has changed since that time, ISR’s concise Marxist analysis remains indispensable to the debates that are crucial to rebuilding the Left. If anything, we need ISR today more than ever.” 
Sharon Smith, author of Women and Socialism:Class, Race, and Capital, and Subterranean Fire: A History of Working-Class Radicalism in the United States

“Some days it is hard not to feel lost and overwhelmed when you are working in the trenches of the neoliberal war as a labor activist and bedside nurse, but ISR is my ‘Marxist compass,’ keeping me on track and current concerning the Left’s twenty-first century challenges and opportunities through a brilliant and critical Marxist analysis.” 
Donna Stern, RN, labor activist

“At a time when there’s a huge new audience for socialist ideas, the relaunched International Socialist Review is more vital than ever.” 
Bhaskar Sunkara, founding editor and publisher of Jacobin and coeditor of Europe in Revolt!: Mapping the New European Left

“Congratulations to International Socialist Review on its 100th issue. ISR provides a unique space for socialists and radicals to discuss and debate the most important political questions facing our movements. The next 100 issues may be even more important as the struggle in the United States picks up. We are lucky to have ISR as a political resource!” 
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, assistant professor, Center for African American Studies, Princeton; author of From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation

International Socialist Review emerged initially from a political tradition, the International Socialist Tendency (IST), headquartered in London. ISR, as a journal, marked a real aufhebung [break] from this tradition. This was linked to the practice of ISO members and other like-minded militants in Europe, South America, the Arab world, and Australia, who were compelled to come to terms with a new social reality and amid social movements that existed at the heart of capitalist globalization—that is in the imperialist United States. ISR achieved this aufhebung by overcoming the dialectical contradiction of opposed elements issuing from a specific and important Marxist revolutionary tradition—the IST—by affirming what was best in the tradition without turning it into dogma. The results: a comprehension of the new features emerging in the faultlines of US class society and in the politics of US imperialism. In one word, ISR has become a point of reference for militants and activists in Europe, Latin America, Hong Kong, and, not surprisingly, in Great Britain.” 
Charles-André Udry, member of the Movement for Socialism in Switzerland, and for many years part of the leadership of the Fourth International

“Alternative socialist publications like ISR are vital in an era of economic chaos and war, especially when there is little choice of policies between the mainstream political parties. We need to read what the capitalist-controlled media will not discuss.” 
Giles Ji Ungpakorn, a founding member of Turn Left Thailand and a former associate professor of politics in Bangkok. He was forced into exile for criticizing the 2006 military coup and now lives in the UK

International Socialist Review was founded in the great tradition of those who not only dream of a society transformed, but are also willing to take on the daunting task of proposing revolutionary action. In its first 100 issues ISR has captured the winds of urgency of our time to become a journal animated by a fierce longing for the truth. Not afraid to depart from the script, ISR is increasingly an avatar of tolerant, pluralistic Marxism. As it moves forward into the new millennium, prepare to be dazzled. This is what revolutionary Marxism looks like.” 
Alan Wald, author of many books on Marxism and culture in the United States. He is on the editorial boards of Science & Society and Against the Current

“When ISR arrives in my mailbox, I know I’ll find articles tackling the day’s most urgent questions. More, I know each article will offer the welcome clarity and needed direction that come from a deft, dynamic understanding of revolutionary Marxism. If you want to understand—and change—the world, this is the journal to read.” 
Nancy Welch, coeditor, Composition in the Age of Austerity; author, Living Room: Teaching Public Writing in a Privatized World

“Congratulations to ISR on your 100th issue. I could spend a day listing off my favorite articles over the course of almost two decades of activist, radical journalism. From the first issue, you have been an indispensible source of analysis for a generation of people trying to navigate the muck of mainstream politics.” 
Dave Zirin, Edge of Sports Radio; sports columnist for the Nation; author of numerous books on sport and politics

 

 

Issue #78

July 2011

Slavery and the origins of the Civil War

Issue contents

Top story

Features

Debates

Critical Thinking

Reviews

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