Europe

Book Review: Naomi Wolf’s Outrages against the world of fact

Naomi Wolf loves suppressed books; she loves them so much that she’s managed to suppress her own. One way of extinguishing a brilliant idea is to smother it under an enormous quantity of misinformation. Another is to discredit the author. In her new book Outrages: Sex, Censorship, and the Criminalization of Love, Wolf seems to have accomplished both.

Outrages: Sex, Censorship and the Criminalization of Love” Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019.

The signal error, grabbing headlines immediately upon the book’s release, was her claim that “several dozen” men inVictorian England were executed for sodomy. They were not: the last were hanged in 1835. Wolf’s error was the result of an understandable but embarrassing misreading of the legal arcana: taking “death recorded” to indicate a completed execution rather than the mere documentation of a formal sentence that the judge expected to see commuted. The goof was made known to Wolf in a most public way, in the midst of a BBC interview. This led to the recall of the first British printing and the delayed release of the US edition. Some observers took the opportunity to soak in the schadenfreude, but I suspect a larger number started quietly humming “There but for Fortune.” I know I did. read more

No Picture
Blog

Position Paper: Revolutionary Socialism is the Primary Political Ideology of The Red Nation

Dear friends, if you read one thing today, might as well be this. Follow the link below to access the full statement.

Revolutionary Socialism is the Primary Political Ideology of The Red Nation

Adopted September 6, 2019

“I firmly believe that the philosophy of my ancestors lines up quite tidily with the philosophy of communism. I make no apology for my principles.”

— Lee Maracle

“Socialism is for the people. If you’re afraid of socialism, you’re afraid of yourself.”

— Fred Hampton

Introduction read more

Americas

In Memory of Immanuel Wallerstein: Ah, We Were Once Young and Hopeful!

Immanuel Wallerstein (28 September 1930 – 31 August 2019), the political sociologist best known for his writings on the “world system” and I were friends in the mid 1950s. Perhaps not close friends but at least both student activists in the world federalist/world citizen movement, especially in their international dimension. We shared a common analysis of situations and were largely in agreement as to the short-term steps to be taken. I would not say we influenced each other, but rather that we shared a common approach coming from different directions. Our shared interest in Africa as the early 1960s brought independence and later there was a focus on what Manny (as he was known by his friends) called the “world system” and I “the world society.” After the late 1950s, we rarely saw each other, but we continued to exchange offprints of our articles instead of Christmas cards at the start of the year. read more

No Picture
Blog

The Myth of Middle Class Mexico

A recent opinion piece in Bloomberg makes a concerted effort to paint Mexico as “a moderately prosperous nation,” that “the World Bank calls upper-middle-income.” The thrust of the article is that Trump’s rhetoric on Mexico is wrong, and the country is, in fact, doing pretty alright. While I’m obviously not out to prove Trump right, I do want to correct the record on a few things…

Bloomberg vs. Trump?

Let’s start with the contention that Mexico is “upper middle income.” In 2019 World Bank ranked 60 countries as upper middle income. These are countries where GNI (Gross National Income, formerly known as GDP or Gross Domestic Product) is between $3,996 and $12,375 per capita (all figures in USD unless otherwise noted). According to the World Bank, Mexican workers earned an average of $9,180 a year, which is the equivalent of approximately $15,000 pesos per month. read more