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Feeling underwhelmed by your orthodox assigned readings? Expand your knowledge of left theory, give your political arguments some bite, and spark a love for revolutionary writers with this updated list of essential Verso books for undergraduates.
Whether you're a student of history, sociology, political science, or geography, look no further for key radical texts and indispensable primers on today's top thinkers.
The list is divided into Politics, Philosophy, Feminism, Postcolonial Studies, History and Geography - see below for our recommended reading in these areas.
All of these books will be discounted by 50%, with free shipping and bundled ebook, when you buy through our website until midnight on Tuesday September 16th! Not all books are available in all regions (apologies!) and - of course - only whilst stocks last.
Hugo Chávez (waving a replica of 19th century revolutionary Símon Bolívar's sword) has once again triumphed over the bastions of neoliberal capitalism. After 14 years in power, he won 55% of the vote on a record 81% turnout, proving to the World Bank, the IMF, Barclays, and the United Statess (among others) that the people want socialism, not corporate imperialism. As Seamus Milne notes in the Guardian, despite the fact that Chávez's opponent Henrique Capriles was backed by the US (whose antagonism toward his government is well-known and most noteably manifested itself in a failed coup in 2002) and outspent him three to one using virtually all of the private media to his advantage, it was a decisive victory. Only two states, in which most all of the wealthy & bourgeois reside, went to Capriles. The other twenty-one went to Chávez. Milne celebrates the importance of this victory,
Venezuela and its Latin American allies have demonstrated that it's no longer necessary to accept a failed economic model, as many social democrats in Europe still do. They have shown it's possible to be both genuinely progressive and popular. Cynicism and media-fuelled ignorance have prevented many who would naturally identify with Latin America's transformation from recognising its significance. But Chávez's re-election has now ensured that the process will continue – and that the space for 21st-century alternatives will grow.
Anti-colonialist thinker, writer and revolutionary Frantz Fanon died fifty years ago today, on December 6, 1961
To mark the anniversary, here's an extract from Jean-Paul Sartre's preface to The Wretched of the Earth, published in Fanon's final year:
Not so very long ago, the earth numbered two thousand million inhabitants: five hundred million men, and one thousand five hundred million natives. The former had the Word; the others had the use of it. Between the two there were hired kinglets, overlords and a bourgeoisie, sham from beginning to end, which served as go-betweens. In the colonies the truth stood naked, but the citizens of the mother country preferred it with clothes on: the native had to love them, something in the way mothers are loved. The European élite undertook to manufacture a native élite. They picked out promising adolescents; they branded them, as with a red-hot iron, with the principles of western culture, they stuffed their mouths full with high-sounding phrases, grand glutinous words that stuck to the teeth. After a short stay in the mother country they were sent home, whitewashed. These walking lies had nothing left to say to their brothers; they only echoed. From Paris, from London, from Amsterdam we would utter the words ‘Parthenon! Brotherhood!' and somewhere in Africa or Asia lips would open ... thenon! ... therhood!' It was the golden age.
It came to an end; the mouths opened by themselves; the yellow and black voices still spoke of our humanism but only to reproach us with our inhumanity. We listened without displeasure to these polite statements of resentment, at first with proud amazement. What? They are able to talk by themselves? Just look at what we have made of them! We did not doubt but that they would accept our ideals, since they accused us of not being faithful to them. Then, indeed, Europe could believe in her mission; she had hellenized the Asians; she had created a new breed, the Graeco-Latin Negroes. We might add, quite between ourselves, as men of the world: ‘After all, let them bawl their heads off, it relieves their feelings; dogs that bark don't bite.'