The ten books that shaped my politics

The ten books that shaped my politics

Does what it says on the tin.

Over the last week I have been tidying cluttered and dusty bookshelves. Feeling self-indulgent I decided to put together a pile of the books that have had the biggest impact and influence on my political journey and where I currently find myself. The list is markedly different then it would have been five years ago as I have slowly developed an ‘infantile disorder’.

I would be interested to see what other people would have in their list.

They are in ranking order, linked to purchase info and a link to an online version if available

10. Anarchism and other essays
Emma Goldman
Buy
Online

9. Dare to be a Daniel
Wilf McCartney
Buy
Online

8. 43 Group
Morris Beckman
Buy

7. Poll Tax Rebellion
Danny Burns
Buy

6. Beating the Fascists
Sean Birchall
Buy

5. Unfinished Business
Class War
Buy

4. Teamster Rebellion
Farrell Dobbs
Buy

3. Workers Councils
Anton Pannekoek
Buy
Online

2. Communist Manifesto
Marx & Engels
Buy
Online

1. What is Anarchism?
Alexander Berkman
Buy
Online

Posted By

working class s...
May 2 2012 14:38

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Ernestine
May 2 2012 20:16

The Russian Tragedy - Alexander Berkman

Living my Life - Emma Goldman

Anarchism, arguments for and against - Albert Meltzer

Land and Liberty - Ricardo Flores Magon

A series of shock slogans and mindless token tantrums - Exitstencil Press

Homage to Catalonia - George Orwell

Andrew Ingham - The Self-help House Repairs Manual

William Blake - Songs of Innocence and Experience

Durruti - The People Armed

Arthur Miller - The Crucible

Honorable mention to,
Seamus Heaney - The Government of the Tongue

working class s...
May 2 2012 22:58

Interesting
This just missed out on my list
Anarchism, arguments for and against - Albert Meltzer

working class s...
May 2 2012 23:27

The people armed - need to read that but cant seem to find a copy

Redwinged Blackbird
May 3 2012 03:10

What is to be done by Vladimir Lenin

Power and Market by Murray Rothbard

Planned Chaos by Ludwig von Mises

Capitalism: the unknown ideal by Ayn Rand

America's Second Crusade by William Henry Chamberlin

Mao's Little Red Book

Classical Liberalism and the Austrian School by Ralph Raico

Temporary Autonomous Zone by Hakim Bey

Leftism: From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Marcuse
by Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

Introduction to being a DGR Field General by Lierre Kieth and Chairman Bob Avaikian

Redwinged Blackbird
May 3 2012 03:14

edit: double post

the button
May 3 2012 13:17

Ooo, this is fun. Errr...

The good soldier Schweik - Jaroslav Hasek

Reading Capital politically - Harry Cleaver

Discipline and punish - Michel Foucault

States of injury - Wendy Brown

Genealogy of morals - Freidrich Nietzsche

Syndicalism - Tom Brown

I couldn't paint golden angels - Albert Meltzer

Spike Milligan's war memoirs (if I can have that as one book)

Communist manifesto - Marx & Engels

The enemy within - Seumas Milne

... in no particular order.

Serge Forward
May 3 2012 13:54

When I was an impressionable 16 year old, I read Alan Sillitoe's novella, The Loneliness of the Longdistance Runner. It made so many things clear to me, stirring up all my righteous anger and leading me to become increasingly politcised. Everything I've read since has just been a process of political refinement following Sillitoe's initial kick up the arse.

Auld-bod
May 3 2012 14:53

Talking and working with people has probably influenced my politics more than any books I’ve read.
I think it is in ‘The Anxiety Makers’, where Alex Comfort writes there are whole libraries with books full of untruths. So my ten books in no particular order:

Robert Tressell - The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists
Walter Greenwood - Love On The Dole
William Morris – News From Nowhere
George Orwell – Homage To Catalonia
George Orwell - Down And Out In Paris And London
Alexander Berkman – Prison Memoirs Of An Anarchist
Bakunin – God And The State (intro by Paul Avrich)
Sam Dolgoff – The Anarchist Collectives
Marie Louise Berneri – Journey Through Utopia
Voline – The Unknown Revolution 1917-1921

BanjoRed91
May 3 2012 15:34

Karl Marx- Communist Manifesto

The Jungle- Upton Sinclair

Nickle and Dimed- Barbara Ehrenreich

Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism- Peter Marshall

Uses of a Whirlwind

The Coming Insurrection

There is Power in a Union- Philip Dray

The Wretched of the Earth- Frantz Fanon

Ours to Master and to Own: Workers' Control from the Commune to the Present

Homage to Catalonia

Entdinglichung
May 3 2012 15:47

difficult question ... a provisional (not official) list

- Christa Wolf: Kassandra
- Ernst Toller: Eine Jugend in Deutschland (I was a German)
- Wolfgang Leonhard: Die Revolution entlässt ihre Kinder (Child of the revolution)
- Primo Levi: Ist das ein Mensch (If This Is a Man)
- Karl Korsch: Marxismus und Philosophie
- Kollektiv Hispano-Suiza: Arbeiter und Apparate - Bericht französischer Arbeiter über ihre Praxis 1945-70 (Ouvriers face aux appareils: Une Experience de militantisme chez Hispano- Suiza)
- Karl Retzlaw: Spartakus – Aufstieg und Niedergang. Erinnerungen eines Parteiarbeiters
- Karl Marx/Friedrich Engels: Deutsche Ideologie (German Ideology)
- Franz Jakubowski: Der ideologische Überbau in der materialistischen Geschichtsauffassung (Ideology and Superstructure in Historical Materialism)
- Heinrich Heine: Deutschland. Ein Wintermärchen. (Germany, a winter's tale)

and stuff by Brandt (Heinz and Willy), Mandel, Marcuse, Bloch, Kafka, Loewy, Trotzki, Bourdieu, Freud, Fromm, Hobsbawm, Heym (Stefan and Georg), Landauer, Mühsam, Kropotkin, Lenin, Bookchin, Lasker-Schüler, Zimmer-Bradley, Feuerbach, Freud, Zhuangzi, Laozi, Kemal (Yasar, not Mustafa), Garcia Marquez, Ana Guadelupe Martinez, Goethe, Celan, Li Bai, Kollontai, Tronti, Ausländer, Schwitters, Roth, Hobsbawm, Thompson, Gramsci, Orwell, Luxemburg, Tolkien, Brothers Grimm, etc.

Crow
May 3 2012 15:48

Nice thread. Few listed here that I haven't got my hands on yet, will be checking them out when I have the chance.

As for mine:

E. Zola - Germinal
U. K. Le Guin - The Dispossessed
P. Kropotkin - Mutual Aid
W. Morris - News from Nowhere
M. Bakunin - God and the State
P. Kropotkin - Conquest of Bread
P. Marshall - Demanding the Impossible
R. Rocker - Anarchism and Anarcho-Syndicalism
E. Goldman - Living My Life/ Anarchism and Other Essays
M. Bookchin - SALA

And of course loads from the 'other' side helped define my politics. Reading Friedman, Rand or Plato certainly pushed me to the left just as much as the above pulled me that way.

flaneur
May 3 2012 15:59
Serge Forward wrote:
When I was an impressionable 16 year old, I read Alan Sillitoe's novella, The Loneliness of the Longdistance Runner. It made so many things clear to me, stirring up all my righteous anger and leading me to become increasingly politcised. Everything I've read since has just been a process of political refinement following Sillitoe's initial kick up the arse.

Definitely with ya on Sillitoe, he has more than enough anger to share, especially for his age when he wrote that book. Powerful grim oop north stuff.

Strumpet City by James Plunkett
Swing Hammer Swing by James Torrington
Factotum by Charles Bukowski
Sabotage in the American Workplace
Fire on the Mountain by Terry Bisson
Rivethead by Ben Hamper
Good Morning Midnight by Jean Rhys
Straight Time by Edward NBunker
Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut
Anarchy by Errico Malatesta

Serge Forward
May 3 2012 17:44

The film's not bad an all.

freemind
May 3 2012 21:51

Sam Dolgoff-Bakunin on Anarchism
Piotr Arshinov-History of the Mahknovist Movement
Abel Paz-Durruti-The People Armed
Emma Goldman-Living My Life
Rudolf Rocker-Nationalism and Culture
Murray Bookchin-The Spanish Anarchists
Noam Chomsky-American Power and the New Mandarins
Daniel Guerin-No Gods,No Masters
Naomi Klein-The Shock Doctrine
David Beresford-Ten Men Dead

Juan Conatz
May 3 2012 23:39
bulmer
May 4 2012 08:03

George Orwell - Homage to Catalonia
Rudolf Rocker - Anarchism and Anarcho-syndicalism
Sean Birchall - Beating the fascists
Alexander Berkman - ABC of Anarchism
Charles Bukowski - Post Office
Delo Truda - The Organisational Platform for Libertarian Communists
Lucien van der Walt and Michael Schmidt - Black Flame
Stuart Christie - Granny made me an Anarchist
Dave Douglass - Geordies wa Mental
Naomi Klein - The Shock Doctrine

I suppose I like people's personal accounts of their lives and politics more than anything else usually. It's just easier to relate to for me.

Entdinglichung
May 4 2012 09:18
Redwinged Blackbird wrote:
What is to be done by Vladimir Lenin

Power and Market by Murray Rothbard

Planned Chaos by Ludwig von Mises

Capitalism: the unknown ideal by Ayn Rand

America's Second Crusade by William Henry Chamberlin

Mao's Little Red Book

Classical Liberalism and the Austrian School by Ralph Raico

Temporary Autonomous Zone by Hakim Bey

Leftism: From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Marcuse
by Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

Introduction to being a DGR Field General by Lierre Kieth and Chairman Bob Avaikian

you should add:

Giulio Evola: Revolt Against the Modern World: Politics, Religion, and Social Order in the Kali Yuga

Otto Weininger: Sex and Character: An Investigation Of Fundamental Principles

Juan Posadas: The Relationship of Humanity towards the animals, the universe and socialism

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: La Pornocratie ou Les Femmes dans les temps modernes

Khieu Samphan: Cambodia's Economy and Industrial Development

Silvio Gesell: The Natural Economic Order

Erich Honecker: Aus meinem Leben

August Winnig: Vom Proletariat zum Arbeitertum

Joseph Stalin: Marxism and Problems of Linguistics

Oswald Spengler: Prussianism and Socialism

gypsy
May 4 2012 09:25
the button wrote:

The enemy within - Seumas Milne

Class book which shows the lengths the state will go to in order to fuck up any threat to the status quo.

Joseph Kay
May 4 2012 09:29

Good idea for a thread. In no particular order...

Homage to Catalonia - George Orwell
Reading Capital Politically - Harry Cleaver
Eclipse and Re-emergence of the Communist Movement - Gilles Dauvé
Delusions of Gender - Cordelia Fine
The 21st Century Brain - Steven Rose
Discipline and Punish - Michel Foucault
Genealogy of Morals - Friedrich Nietzsche
Capital Vol. 1 - Karl Marx
The Ecology of Freedom - Murray Bookchin
Society of the Spectacle - Guy Debord

Honourable mentions for Durruti in the Spanish Revolution by Abel Paz and Anarcho-syndicalism in the 20th Century by Vadim Damier, but these didn't influence me as much as the above, which all changed the way I thought about one thing or another at some point. In honesty there should probably be some Chomsky in there, but I can't remember what book(s) I actually read by him. I've read some really good stuff in the last year or so too, but no telling how influential it's been yet.

the button
May 4 2012 10:11
gypsy wrote:
the button wrote:

The enemy within - Seumas Milne

Class book which shows the lengths the state will go to in order to fuck up any threat to the status quo.

Have you read David Peace's novel, "GB84"? Fucking amazing semi-fictional account of the same thing. Would have been on the list, but it didn't really 'shape' my politics, just confirmed how right I am. grin

sabot
May 4 2012 11:28
Entdinglichung wrote:
Redwinged Blackbird wrote:
What is to be done by Vladimir Lenin

Power and Market by Murray Rothbard

Planned Chaos by Ludwig von Mises

Capitalism: the unknown ideal by Ayn Rand

America's Second Crusade by William Henry Chamberlin

Mao's Little Red Book

Classical Liberalism and the Austrian School by Ralph Raico

Temporary Autonomous Zone by Hakim Bey

Leftism: From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Marcuse
by Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

Introduction to being a DGR Field General by Lierre Kieth and Chairman Bob Avaikian

you should add:

Giulio Evola: Revolt Against the Modern World: Politics, Religion, and Social Order in the Kali Yuga

Otto Weininger: Sex and Character: An Investigation Of Fundamental Principles

Juan Posadas: The Relationship of Humanity towards the animals, the universe and socialism

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: La Pornocratie ou Les Femmes dans les temps modernes

Khieu Samphan: Cambodia's Economy and Industrial Development

Silvio Gesell: The Natural Economic Order

Erich Honecker: Aus meinem Leben

August Winnig: Vom Proletariat zum Arbeitertum

Joseph Stalin: Marxism and Problems of Linguistics

Oswald Spengler: Prussianism and Socialism

Continuing on:

Crimthinc: Recipes for Disaster: An Anarchist Cookbook

United States Army Field Manuals (FM 1 thru FM 34-52)

Abbie Hoffman: Steal This Book

U.S. CIA: The Freedom Fighter's Manual

Che Guevara: Guerrilla Warfare

Sun Tzu: The Art of War

Kim Il-sung: Complete Collection of Kim Il Sung's Works

J. Stalin: Defects in Party Work and Measures for Liquidating Trotskyite and Other Double Dealers

petey
May 4 2012 13:38
Redwinged Blackbird wrote:
Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

a blast from my past embarrassed

Entdinglichung
May 4 2012 14:10
sabot wrote:
Entdinglichung wrote:
Redwinged Blackbird wrote:
What is to be done by Vladimir Lenin

Power and Market by Murray Rothbard

Planned Chaos by Ludwig von Mises

Capitalism: the unknown ideal by Ayn Rand

America's Second Crusade by William Henry Chamberlin

Mao's Little Red Book

Classical Liberalism and the Austrian School by Ralph Raico

Temporary Autonomous Zone by Hakim Bey

Leftism: From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Marcuse
by Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

Introduction to being a DGR Field General by Lierre Kieth and Chairman Bob Avaikian

you should add:

Giulio Evola: Revolt Against the Modern World: Politics, Religion, and Social Order in the Kali Yuga

Otto Weininger: Sex and Character: An Investigation Of Fundamental Principles

Juan Posadas: The Relationship of Humanity towards the animals, the universe and socialism

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: La Pornocratie ou Les Femmes dans les temps modernes

Khieu Samphan: Cambodia's Economy and Industrial Development

Silvio Gesell: The Natural Economic Order

Erich Honecker: Aus meinem Leben

August Winnig: Vom Proletariat zum Arbeitertum

Joseph Stalin: Marxism and Problems of Linguistics

Oswald Spengler: Prussianism and Socialism

Continuing on:

Crimthinc: Recipes for Disaster: An Anarchist Cookbook

United States Army Field Manuals (FM 1 thru FM 34-52)

Abbie Hoffman: Steal This Book

U.S. CIA: The Freedom Fighter's Manual

Che Guevara: Guerrilla Warfare

Sun Tzu: The Art of War

Kim Il-sung: Complete Collection of Kim Il Sung's Works

J. Stalin: Defects in Party Work and Measures for Liquidating Trotskyite and Other Double Dealers

Timothy Leary: The Politics of Ecstasy

Carl Schmitt: The Concept of the Political

Leo Trotzki: Terrorism and Communism

Manon Andreas-Grisebach: Philosophie der Grünen

Henri Barbusse: Stalin: A New World Seen Through the Man

Carlos Castaneda: The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge

Aleister Crowley: Book of the Law

Corinna Lotz/Paul Feldman: Gerry Healy: A Revolutionary Life

Michail Bakunin: Polemique contre les Juifs

Charles Fourier: Theory of the four movements and the general destinies

Ernestine
May 4 2012 14:19
gypsy
May 4 2012 22:00
the button wrote:
gypsy wrote:
the button wrote:

The enemy within - Seumas Milne

Class book which shows the lengths the state will go to in order to fuck up any threat to the status quo.

Have you read David Peace's novel, "GB84"? Fucking amazing semi-fictional account of the same thing. Would have been on the list, but it didn't really 'shape' my politics, just confirmed how right I am. grin

No mate. Will seek it out.

Choccy
May 5 2012 00:28

General Strike
May 5 2012 09:18

Communist Manifesto - Marx
1844 Manuscripts - Marx
Capital Vol. 1 - Marx
Society of the Spectacle - Debord
Revolution of Everyday Life - Vaneigem
Empire - Hardt & Negri
Change the World Without Taking Power - Holloway
Crack Capitalism - Holloway
Coming Insurrection - Invisible Committee

jura
May 5 2012 09:40

In a roughly chronological order:

- Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels: Manifesto of the Communist Party
- Karl Marx: Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts
- Kurt Vonnegut: Timequake (as well as many other books by KV)
- Roy Medvedev: Stalin and Stalinism
- V. I. Lenin: What Is To Be Done?
- Rosa Luxemburg: Organisational Questions of the Russian Social Democracy ("Leninism or Marxism?")
- Harry Cleaver: Reading Capital Politically (esp. the intro)
- Steve Wright: Storming Heaven
- Revolutionary Writing: Common Sense Essays in Post-Political Politics
- Open Marxism (any of the three volumes)

jura
May 5 2012 09:42

Oh shit I forgot Martin Glaberman! Probably a lot more important than many of the others I listed.

Communard
May 5 2012 12:31

"Das Kapital" - Marx

"Society Of the Spectacle" - Debord

"Eclipse and Re-Emergence of the Communist Movement" - Dauvé

"Jalones de derrota, promesa de victoria [espana 1930-39]" - Grandizo Munis

"Marx, theoretician of anarchism" - Maximilien Rubel

"Thèses sur la communautè terrible, Comment faire?" - Tiqqun

"Raw materials for a theory of the Young-Girl" - Tiqqun

"Le militantisme stade supreme de l'alienation" - OJTR

"Le roman de nos origines" - La Banquise n°2 (Dauvé)

"The Question of the State" - La Guerre Sociale