The Verso Book of Dissent: Revolutionary Words from Three Millennia of Rebellion and Resistance is a compendium of revolt and resistance throughout the ages, updated to include resistance to war and economic oppression from Beijing and Cairo to Moscow and New York City.
To celebrate the release of the new edition - 50% off at the moment as part of our end-of-year sale - we've present a selection of key moments of dissent from the book.
Sheila Rowbotham's Rebel Crossings tells the transatlantic story of six radical pioneers at the turn of the twentieth century. Radicalised by the rise of socialism, Helena Born, Miriam Daniell, Gertrude Dix, Robert Nicol and William Bailie cross the Atlantic dreaming of liberty and equality. All six are part of a wider historical search for self-fulfillment and an alternative to a cruelly competitive capitalism.
Rebel Crossings offers fascinating perspectives on the historical interaction of feminism, socialism, and anarchism and on the incipient consciousness of a new sense of self, so vital for women seeking emancipation.
In this blog post Sheila Rowbotham shares her experience of researching and writing the book. Rebel Crossings is 40% off until October 30th, along with all the other books on our Sheila Rowbotham bookshelf.
- Helen Tufts and Helena Born, 1986
"Women’s Liberation’s emphasis on experiential subjectivity was not just a matter of asserting ‘I feel’. It was also affected by a longer term search within the left for an understanding of how to connect material life and an inner consciousness of being."
On the occasion of the new edition of Woman’s Consciousness, Man’s World, Sheila Rowbotham looks back at the world of its initial birth in the Women's Liberation movement, as she sought to situate her feminist politics in relation to the changing shape of capitalism to forge a new way to describe the interaction between inner perceptions and external material life.
Writers often say they walk for inspiration and Finnish friends assure me the sauna is the place for original thoughts, but Woman’s Consciousness, Man’s World was incubated on the 38 Routemaster bus, which used to take me from Hackney me to the British Library (then on Great Russell Street).
I wrote it between 1969 and 1971 when the Women’s Liberation Movement was just beginning to take off in Britain and the book springs out of the very beginnings of the movement in Britain. I have always tended to assume that if I had an idea everyone else must already know of it. But participating in a movement gave me an impetus to believe that my perceptions could contribute to a wider challenge to prevailing cultural assumptions. Remarkably Woman’s Consciousness, Man’s World would reach many countries, including Iran.
Sheila Rowbotham reviews The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg for the Guardian, bringing into relief the portrait of Luxemburg's passionate political and personal life painted by the letters:
George Shriver's new translation of The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg is the most comprehensive collection of her correspondence yet to appear in English. It transports us directly into the private world of a woman who has never lost her inspirational power as an original thinker and courageous activist in first the Marxist Social Democratic party, and then the German revolutionary group, the Spartacist League. She suffered for her convictions; jail sentences in 1904 and 1906 were followed by three and a half years in prison for opposing the first world war. Her brutal death at the hands of the militaristic Volunteer Corps during the 1919 workers uprising in Berlin has contributed to her mystique: she is revered as the revolutionary who never compromised. This collection of her letters reveals that the woman behind the mythic figure was also a compassionate, teasing, witty human being.
Citing Luxemburg as an influence on her own work, Rowbotham, the author of Dreamers of a New Day: Women Who Invented the Twentieth Century and Edward Carpenter: A Life of Liberty and Love, untangles Luxemburg's ambivalent relationship with the feminist movement of her time:
Luxemburg's criticism of Marxism as dogma and her stress on consciousness exerted an influence on the women's liberation movement which emerged in the late 60s and early 70s. When I was writing Woman's Consciousness, Man's World during 1971, I drew on her analysis in The Accumulation of Capital (1913) of capital's greedy quest for non-capitalist markets, adapting it as a metaphor for the commodification of sexual relations and the body