Paul Mattick is the Field Notes Editor.
FEB 2017 | Field Notes
No one could call globalization a failure: To the succession of the hottest years ever must now be added the achievement of a distribution of wealth in which eight men (six of them Americans) own the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorer half of humanity.
OCT 2017 | Field Notes
By a curious coincidence, 2017 marks a pair of anniversaries: that of the publication of the first volume of Karl Marx’s Capital 150 years ago, and that of the October Revolution which in 1917 ushered in the USSR.
JUNE 2016 | Field Notes
These days, critics of electoral politics can sit smugly and enjoy the deepening disarray of the political parties; the worries of the 1%, who really want little more from their governments than low taxes, high subsidies, social peace and quiet, and just enough military action to keep the world safe for democracy; and the panicked musings of the political pundits trying to make sense of it all and reclaim their lost function of predictors and explainers.
DEC 16-JAN 17 | Field Notes
No slight challenge, but the stakes are very high: literally, survival of organized human society in any decent form.
MAR 2015 | Field Notes
As the Last Days of Mankindalready diagnosed by Karl Kraus while the First World War was underwaymarch on, apparently endlessly (despite the dispiriting hints of a Final Last Day suggested by the weather), they seem to have brought with them an increasing flabbiness of discourse.
JUNE 2015 | Field Notes
In 2007 the group that calls itself The Invisible Committee published The Coming Insurrection, which was widely discussed across the range of leftwing media (and Fox News to boot). The Committee has now brought out To Our Friends, published in the United States by Semiotext(e).
DEC 15-JAN 16 | Field Notes
I grew up around adults who had made it through the Second World Warby leaving Europe in time, evading or refusing the draft in the United States, or by being among the lucky ones to survive a spell in a concentration camp.
MAY 2014 | Field Notes
New York has never seemed more like the supposedly future world portrayed in Ridley Scotts 1982 film Blade Runner than in the last few monthsnot just the noodle stands tucked in around the towering high-rises, but above all the endless cold, grey drizzle that mocked the persistent hope that winter was about over. So its hard not simply to be happy to see the sun again, along with the seasonal pleasures of blooming trees, flowers, people enjoying the streets.
JUL-AUG 2014 | Field Notes
Gabriel Kolko died in Amsterdam on May 19, 2014, at 81. As long as I knew himand I met him around 1960, when I was a teenager and he was a graduate student in history at Harvardhe was motivated by three passions: a hatred of capitalism; a devotion to detailed empirical research; and the enjoyment of life with his wife, Joyce, and their many friends.
NOV 2014 | Field Notes
In the old days of the historical Left the most-widely read piece of Marxist writing was probably Friedrich Engelss Socialism: Utopian and Scientific. In this short text, Engels sketched the history of capitalism and the development of socialist ideas and movements as part of that history.
MAY 2011 | Express
Marchs civic strife in Wisconsin, with citizens and workers in the hundred-thousands protesting anti-union legislation passed by the Republican-dominated state government, suggests that, at long last, the spirit of rebellion may be migrating even to our politically somnolent shores.
APRIL 2009 | Express
Its hard to imagine a more stunning demonstration of the theoretical bankruptcy of economics as a putative science than the ongoing discussion of the current economic situation.
NOV 2008 | Express
The current neo-Keynesian critiques fail to confront the actual state of affairs facing global capitalism.
APR 2006 | Art
In 1962 Andy Warhol made a portrait of Robert Rauschenberg, titled Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.
DEC 05-JAN 06 | Express
Among the millions who marched in the world’s streets before the American assault on Iraq and the hundreds of thousands who demonstrated against the war while the Republicans met in New York to reannoint G.W. Bush, I was not, I am sure, the only one to have felt a curious sensation of political energy coexisting with the assumption of failure.
SEPT 2004 | Express
Quite often these days Im stopped on the street by a young person with a clipboard who asks me if I want help defeat George W. Bush. When I answer, as I always do, that "I am for the violent overthrow of the United States government and therefore not a big voter," I get a blank stare.
OCT 2003 | Art
Although visitors troop dutifully in and out of museums in Venice, as in every site of touristic pilgrimage, its really impossible for even the best art works to hold their own against the city outside. Venice itself is the most beautiful thing one can imagine. It is a survivor from a time when painting and sculpture was not set apart from the rest of life in special places but decorated houses and churches, and not just the interiors: every turning of a street leads to some pleasurable sight and it is only the wish for the next one that keeps one moving.
APR 2017 | Field Notes
Perhaps it is not surprising that the Age of Celebrity, having produced a celebrity president, should focus discussion of the political situation thus created on the personality quirks and attention-seeking antics of the TV Personality-in-Chief himself.
APR 2016 | Field Notes
This issue marks the start of the third year of Field Notes. I’m very happy to say “thank you” to Publisher Phong Bui, Managing Editor Laila Pedro, Lead Art Director Maggie Barrett, Webmaster Don Leistman, and everyone else who makes the Rail take physical form each monthand especially to the writers who are responsible for making this section of the Rail a continually exciting locus for discussion of contemporary politics.
DEC 16-JAN 17 | Field Notes
In the model country of the democratic swindle this election time is full of contingencies that may give the logic of events ... a quite unexpected smack in the face. Karl Marx to Friedrich Engels, September 7, 1864.
FEB 2015 | Field Notes
Its hard to know what to deal with firstnot only is the world continuing to go to hell in a handbasket, but the speed of descent seems to have increased.measures of income re-distribution at a moment when, with the Republican victory in the midterm elections, such things have become practically impossible.
APR 2015 | Field Notes
Everyone I know says that things are just moving faster, but I was still shocked to discover that this month begins the second year of Field Notes. Taking stock before rushing on, I must say it has been a great adventure so far.
SEPT 2015 | Field Notes
No doubt it was not by accident that the above-the-fold story in the June 28th issue of the New York Times, about the latest twist in the Greek debt drama, was accompanied below the fold (along with a photo of a smiling García Padilla) by “Puerto Rico’s Governor Says Island’s Debts Are ‘Not Payable.’”
APR 2014 | Field Notes
The Rail has something to contribute to creating the conditions for coherent thinking about whats happening to us. FIELD NOTES intends to gather information about life in our age of austerity, and to think about it as clearly as possible.
JUNE 2014 | Field Notes
People are pretty impressed with Thomas Piketty, author of Capital in the Twenty-First Centuryif we leave aside right-wing pundits and congressmen who have denounced him for Marxism (in fact, his book has nothing in common with the one by Marx except the first word of its title).
SEPT 2014 | Field Notes
Michael Brown will not be going back to school. Angry people in Ferguson, Missouri have been helping us remember that as we return to our jobs after Labor Day, to the search for work or other pursuits if we are unemployed, to school as teachers or students.
DEC 14-JAN 15 | Field Notes
Since 2011, Brandon Jourdan and Marianne Maeckebergh have been making a series of videos available on the web under the name Global Uprisings. Their latest production, After Gezi: Erdogan and Political Struggle in Turkey, was made available in late October. On a recent visit to Brooklyn, Brandon Jourdan made time for an interview with Field Notes Editor Paul Mattick.
FEB 2009 | Express
The current worldwide economic slump represents the return of the capitalist economy to the dark side of its pre-World War II history.
OCT 2008 | Express
As recently as early September we were being reassured, not only by politicians but by experts everywhere, from the halls of academe to newspaper financial pages, thatserious though things might becomparisons to the Great Depression were uncalled for. By the official end of summer, as I am writing this, that comparison is everywhere, if only as background for insistence that this time the downward spiral can be controlledprovided that the government does the right thing, and does it fast.
APR 2007 | Express
How did World War I come to an end? Nobody I ask knows the answer to this question. This isnt surprisingpeople arent taught much history, and anyway it happened long ago.
OCT 2005 | Art
Rainer Ganahl, born in Austria, studied art in Vienna, Paris, and Düsseldorf; since 1990 he has been living predominantly in the United States. His recent exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Vienna, Road to War, was devoted to the post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; Spring Publications has just issued Counting the Last Days of the Sigmund Freud Banknote, containing reproductions of a series of text drawings made in 2001-02. An exhibition, Please, teach me Rainer Ganahl and the Politics of Learning, will be on view at the Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University from 28 September to 10 December. This show, which is a sort of mini-retrospective, provided the occasion for this interview.
MAY 2004 | Art
Robert Bergman is a photographer who extends out of the tradition of Walt Whitman and William Carlos Williams, poets who possessed a bottomless empathy for their subjects. And, like a poet, his work can be found in a book, rather than in a gallery.
APR-MAY 2003 | Art
The very idea of arts exaltedness led ambitious artists to aspire to a public importance, at some odds with their actual position, as producers for the luxury trade.
WINTER 2003 | ArtSeen
At first sight, the works by James Castle in this beautifully installed exhibition look like fragments from a lost civilization. Assembled from bits and pieces of paper and cardboard, their ragged edges and worn surfaces bearing signs of the passage of time, they seem relics of some pre-industrial civilization (perhaps the kind of culture now more politely called "tribal").