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

9. Dare to be a Daniel
Wilf McCartney

8. 43 Group
Morris Beckman

7. Poll Tax Rebellion
Danny Burns

6. Beating the Fascists
Sean Birchall

5. Unfinished Business
Class War

4. Teamster Rebellion
Farrell Dobbs

3. Workers Councils
Anton Pannekoek

2. Communist Manifesto
Marx & Engels

1. What is Anarchism?
Alexander Berkman

Posted By

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


Attached files


May 5 2012 12:46

Peter Marshall - Demanding the Impossible

George Orwell - Homage to Catalonia

Guy Debord - Society of the Spectacle (embarrassing... still, has some decent chapters)

Ken Knabb - Joy of Revolution

Pannekoek, Pankhurst, Ruhle, Gorter - Non-Leninist Marxism (collection of different polemics)

David Harvey - A Brief History of Neo-Liberalism

Marx - Capital vol. 1 (through the proxy of Harvey's video lectures. still haven't read the full book)

Group of International Communists - origins of the movement for
workers’ councils in germany (reprinted by the commune)

May 5 2012 14:44

homage to catalonia seems to be the #1 book here. will fetch and read.

one book that influenced me, a good while ago, was albion's seed: four british folkways in america, d. h. fischer, an anthropology of four different communities of settlers in north america 17th/18th centuries. they had important things in common (england, protestantism) but also had irreconcilably different attitudes in fundamental ways, and the book convinced me that this supposedly unitary thing "america" never existed, even among the people who are cited as founding "the american culture"; nor by extension did any other nation state ever represent any kind of unitary culture.

Insurgent G
May 5 2012 18:49

1 Free women of Spain - Martha A. Ackelsberg

2 Story of the Iron Column: Militant Anarchism in the Spanish Civil War - Abel Paz

3 The Insurrectional Project - Alfredo M. Bonanno

4 Willful Disobedience (collected writings) - Wolfi Landstreicher

5 Caliban and the Witch: Women, The Body, and Primitive Accumulation - Silvia Frederici

6 Assata: An Autobiography - Assata Shakur

7 A Problem of Memory: Stories to End the Racial Nightmare - Taylor Sparrow

8 Anarchy Works - Peter Gelderloos

9 500 Years of Indigenous Resistance - Gord Hill

10 Autonomous Self-Organization and Anarchist Intervention: A Tension in Practice - Wolfi Landstreicher

May 5 2012 20:59

Plenty of reading to consider here...great idea for a thread. Looking through the lists I think my choices have already been mentioned, but here goes anyway:

(off the top of my head & in no particular order)

Robert Tressels - Ragged Trousered Philantropists
William Morris - More news from nowhere
Edward Bellamy - Looking Backward
Colin Ward - Anarchy in Action
John Quail - Slow Burning Fuse
Peter Kroptkin - Mutual Aid
Jack London - the iron heel
Alan Sillitoe - Saturday Night Sunday Morning
Autobiography of Malcolm X
Engels- condition of the working class in England

And not books but influential none the less:

Crass lyrics
& Socialist Standard the journal of the SPGB (wouldn't subscribe any more as I don't hold with the parliamentary path to revolution but still very influential in my formative years.

Of course, if you were to ask me tomorrow I might come up with a totally different list

Dec 10 2012 23:32

Capital Vol 1 By Marx
Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber
Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
Chomsky on Anarchism by Noam Chomsky
Orientalism by Edward Said
Anarchosyndicalism by Rudolf Rocker
Anarchism and Other Essays by Emma Goldman
Discipline and Punish by Michel Foucault
Existentialism and Human Emotion by Jean-Paul Sartre
Why I am not a Christian and other Essays by Bertrand Russell

Honorable mention: The Dictator's Handbook by Bruce Bueno De Mesquita and Alastair Smith

working class s...
Dec 11 2012 01:16

Why I am not a Christian and other Essays by Bertrand Russell - Sounds interesting, will check it out