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Posted by: Doug Henwood | May 3, 2011

Buy this book!

Excellent collection of interviews (not that I’m praising myself here). Perfect for teaching, or just reading. Order your copies here.

Sasha Lilley, Capital and Its Discontents: Conversations with Radical Thinkers in a Time of Tumult (PM Press, 2011)

Interviewees: Ellen Meiksins Wood, David Harvey, Doug Henwood, Leo Panitch, Sam Gindin, Greg Albo, David McNally, John Bellamy Foster, Jason W Moore, Ursula Huws, Gillian Hart, Vivek Chibber, Mike Davis, Tariq Ali, John Sanbonmatsu, Andrej Grubacic, and Noam Chomsky.Through a series of incisive conversations with some of the most eminent thinkers and political economists on the Left—including David Harvey, Ellen Meiksins Wood, Mike Davis, Leo Panitch, Tariq Ali, and Noam Chomsky—Capital and Its Discontents illuminates the dynamic contradictions undergirding capitalism and the potential for its dethroning. The book challenges conventional wisdom on the Left about the nature of globalization, neoliberalism and imperialism, as well as the agrarian question in the Global South. It probes deeply into the roots of the global economic meltdown, the role of debt and privatization in dampening social revolt, and considers capitalism’s dynamic ability to find ever new sources of accumulation—whether through imperial or ecological plunder or the commodification of previously unpaid female labor.

The Left luminaries in Capital and Its Discontents look at potential avenues out of the mess—as well as wrong turns and needless detours—drawing lessons from the history of post-colonial states in the Global South, struggles against imperialism past and present, the eternal pendulum swing of radicalism, the corrosive legacy of postmodernism, and the potentialities of the radical tradition. At a moment when capitalism as a system is more reviled than ever, here is an indispensable toolbox of ideas for action by some of the most brilliant thinkers of our times.

Praise for Capital and Its Discontents:

“Few journalists can match Sasha Lilley’s knowledge of political economy, nor her keen instinct for the important questions. Read these interviews—with some of the left’s most clearheaded thinkers—for a far deeper understanding of contemporary capitalism and its problems, and, perhaps more surprisingly, a bracing and contagious optimism.”
—Liza Featherstone, author of Selling Women Short

“Enveloped by a crisis that seems to have no end, heirs to ideas that seem unable to carry us through the present—the combination is disorienting. For that, it is right to scour the intellectual malcontents to gain from their recovery of ideas from the past and their sense of how to understand the present. Ideas are the soul of social activism. Without them action dissipates into futility; the ideas help us focus our energy toward building the kind of alternative world that our hopes encourage. Sasha Lilley’s Capital and Its Discontents is a superb introduction to some of the best traditions, given to us through some of the sharpest thinkers of the Global North.”
—Vijay Prashad, author of The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World

“In this fine set of interviews, an A-list of radical thinkers demonstrate why their skills are indispensable to understanding today’s multiple economic and ecological crises.”
—Raj Patel, author of The Value of Nothing and Stuffed and Starved

“These conversations illuminate the current world situation in ways that are very useful for those hoping to orient themselves and find a way forward to effective individual and collective action. Highly recommended.”
—Kim Stanley Robinson, New York Times bestselling author of The Mars Trilogy and The Years of Rice and Salt

“Capital and Its Discontents presents the thought of many of the most astute analysts of contemporary political, economic and cultural developments in accessible interview form. Sasha Lilley’s wide-ranging and probing questions prompt her interviewees to address the intersecting crises of our time and to outline frameworks for understanding and responding to them. This collection of interviews introduces the reader to much of the best thinking about social issues on the U.S. left today.”
—Barbara Epstein, History of Consciousness, University of California, Santa Cruz

“Reading this wonderful book feels like having a face-to-face discussion with each author. These brilliant radical thinkers from many parts of the world generously and lucidly share their knowledge and insights on capitalism, empire, and resistance.”
—Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, historian and author of Red Dirt and Outlaw Woman

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Responses

  1. As soon as I know where I will be next I will get this. As it goes, I am not sure if I will be able to hold onto to the books that are currently on my shelves and scattered around the flat….


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