To mark May Day 2017, we bring you a selection of May Day Reading from the Verso Archive covering care work, sex work, black liberation & more; from Angela Davis, Gail Lewis, Melissa Gira Grant, Isabell Lorey, and Kristin Ross. Read them all here.
We also have 50% off all our May Day reading until May 2 at midnight: see the reading list here.
The following essay is taken from Communal Luxury by Kristin Ross. Kristin Ross’s highly acclaimed work on the thought and culture of the Communard uprising of 1871 resonates with the motivations and actions of contemporary protest, which has found its most powerful expression in the reclamation of public space. This original analysis of an event and its centrifugal effects brings to life the workers in Paris who became revolutionaries, the significance they attributed to their struggle, and the elaboration and continuation of their thought in the encounters that transpired between the insurrection’s survivors and supporters like Marx, Kropotkin, and William Morris.
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May 1st marks International Workers' Day, a festival of working-class self-organization stretching back over 130 years. It was originally inaugurated to commemorate the Haymarket Massacre of 1886 in Chicago, where a bomb thrown during a worker's strike kicked off a period of anti-labor hysteria.
To mark this significant date, we have 50% off a selection of books looking at policing, riots, Rosa Luxemburg, neoliberalism, revolution and rebellion. Click here to activate your discount.
Plus, see all our May Day Reading from the Verso Archive covering care work, sex work, black liberation & more; from Angela Davis, Gail Lewis, Melissa Gira Grant, Isabell Lorey, and Kristin Ross. Read all the essays here.
This post first appeared at Research & Destroy.
We can imagine a person slowly becoming aware that he is the subject of catastrophe. The form of consciousness might be likened to someone peering out the window of a plane. They have been aboard for a long time, years, decades. From cruising altitude the landscape below scrolls past evenly, somewhat abstracted. The stabilizing mechanisms of eye and brain smooth the scene. Perhaps they are somewhere above the upper midwest. Their knowledge of the miseries that have seized flyover country hovers at the periphery of a becalmed boredom. Steady hum of the jet engines, sense of stillness. Borne by prevailing winds the first balloonists detected no wind whatsoever. So this flight. Though the passengers will never travel faster than this they scarcely feel any motion at all.
Today marks the 169th anniversary of the publication of one of the most influential documents in world history: The Communist Manifesto. In this introduction to the new edition, published alongside Lenin's April Theses, Tariq Ali contextualises the period—the eve of the 1848 revolutions—in which Marx and Engels penned their masterpiece and argues that it desperately needs a successor.
The first English-language edition of Armed Insurrection was translated from French and Germany by Quintin Hoare and published by New Left Books in 1970, as "classic document" of the Third Period. Written in 1928 under the direction of the Agitprop division of the Comintern, the book was to be a tactical manual for insurrection — containing detailed studies of uprisings in Reval (Tallinn), Hamburg, Canton (Guangzhou), and Shanghai — to be used by communists around the world.
A work of illegal propaganda written by a collective of Comintern military and political specialists (a group which included Palmiro Togliatti and Ho Chi Minh), the book's authorship was attributed to the pseudonym "A Neuberg." In the excerpt below, published as a preface to the NLB edition, one member of the "Neuberg" group — Erich Wollenberg, a KPD functionary and military leader of the Bochum rising in North Germany in 1923 — explains the process of the book's composition, identifies the authors of some of its sections, and highlights some distortions to the accounts contained within it and the motivations behind them.
In the spring of 1928 Piatnitsky [An Old Bolshevik who was liquidated during the Stalinist purges (1936-8)], the Organizing Secretary of the Comintern, called me into his office. I was at that time on the technical staff of the Marx-Engels Institute in Moscow, in charge of its military bureau, and taught in the military schools in which German communists were trained as specialists in insurrection.