Nupur Pattanaik, Critical Sociology

Review of Rethinking Alternatives with Marx: Economy, Ecology and Migration

Marcello Musto is a Professor in Sociology at York University at Canada and in the book Rethinking Alternatives with Marx has revealed the resilience, power of Marxist ideas in the contemporary contexts of culture, gender equality, migrant rights and protection of the environment, the brilliant book illustrates the culture and society with Marxist viewpoints. The author has put together vari¬ous prestigious scholars, activists who guide us through the frontiers of the struggle for our times, from gender and race to migration and the climate crisis which suggests that Marx’s analyses are arguably resonating even more strongly today than they did in his own time. Marcus Musto has made the book by the efficient innovative perspectives on Marx’s points of view about ecology, migration, gender, the capitalist mode of production, the labour movement, globalization, social relations and the contours of a possible socialist alternative by delving deeper into a new critical discussion of some of the classical themes of Marx’s thought.
The book consists of four parts and each part is segmented into different chapters; the first part is about capitalism, gender and social relations which have been including four chapters that reflect about factory and family as spaces of capital, followed by Marx on Gender, Race and Social Reproduction With the third chapter which is about capital as a social relation form analysis and class struggle and the last chapter in this segment is about commodity and post-modern spectacle.
But in Marx, and in Hegel for that matter, the term functioned differently, less prominently culturally, but more as regards the family, economy and the relationship of both to nature. Rethinking Marx’s treatment of ‘gender’ relations confronts us with a paradox.
On one side, Marx’s approach to ‘gender’, as discussed in his major works, is at best wanting. Whether by gender we refer to male-female relations and the rules by which they are constructed or to the history and origins of the sexual division of labour and patriarchal domination in capital¬ism, in vain we turn to Marx for an analysis of these issues. New forms of governance that depend on collective networks and solidarity rather than profit-oriented market forces and hierarchical command structures.
The second part of this book which is about the environmental crisis and the struggle for nature divulges into three chapters which highlight Primitive Accumulation as the cause of economic and ecological disaster with Marx and the Environmental Catastrophe, with the seventh chapter ‘Finding a Way Out of the Anthropocene: The Theory of “Radical Needs” and the Ecological Transition’ by enlightening the readers in sum, takes capitalism at its word, and demand that our vital and qualitative needs be at last fulfilled.
The third part focuses on the most prominent issue of Migration, Labour and Globalization with three chapters like ‘Accumulation and Its Discontents: Migration and Nativism in Marx’s Capital and Late Manuscripts’ followed by ‘Marx on Migration and the Industrial Reserve Army: Not to Be Misused!’ and the last chapter ‘Globalization, Migrant Labour, and Capitalism: Past and Present’; the chapters deal with the most pertinent issues of migration, Migrant labour has been a feature of global capitalism since the latter’s, beginning. Capitalism needed labour from colonies, semi-colonies, and other parts of the world. Thus, while Atlantic slavery was supplying labour across the ocean, there was an increase in the mobility of labour in post manumission age, when capital became global and global trade became a defining feature of global capitalism.
Communism as a Free Association is the last part of the book which consists of three chapters where the first chapter is the Experience of the Paris Commune and Marx’s Reflections on Communism by the author following Communism as Probability and Contingency and the last chapter of the book which is about Uniting Communism and Liberalism: An Unsolvable Task or a Most Urgent Necessity? This details that humanity finds itself confronted with the task of con-sciously, deliberately and very rapidly revolutionizing its metabolic process and social relationship with nature, between this heaven and earth, its task is to face the plurality of mixed communist and liberal forms of regulating the complex relations of a multiplicity of actors and to shape these forms by solidarity.
The book by Marcello Musto who is an accomplished scholar has devoted his academic career to reviving the understanding of Marx’s ideas and their applications to the contemporary world, driven and passionate about the significance of Marx’s contributions in politics, sociology, the critique of political economy and philosophy, Musto has delivered seven books within the last 3 years. Each of them focuses on a different aspect of Marx’s work and highlights his relevance for finding alternative solutions to the most pressing current issues of capitalism and how it influences culture and society. Furthermore, the book is useful for researchers, academicians in understanding more about the role of capitalist culture in different dimensions of society.

Dr. Nupur Pattanaik
Central University of Odisha, India

Published in:

Critical Sociology

Date Published

2 May, 2022