Small books, big ideas

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We bring you our quickest reads at 200 pages or less! They may be small, but they are still packed full of big ideas. Perfect for pockets or presents.

ALL our books are 50% off until January 1 as part of our end-of-year sale! See full details here, as well as our Gift GuideEnd of Year Highlights, and Top 10 Books of the Year.

Taking as its inspiration the new wave of feminist militancy that has erupted globally, this manifesto makes a simple but powerful case: feminism shouldn’t start—or stop—with the drive to have women represented at the top of their professions. It must focus on those at the bottom, and fight for the world they deserve. And that means targeting capitalism. Feminism must be anticapitalist, eco-socialist and antiracist.

A thrilling new voice who has been credited with launching the “second wave” of trans studies, Chu shows readers how to write for your life, baring her innermost self with a morbid sense of humor and a mordant kind of hope.

Injustice should not simply be accepted as “the way things are.” This is the starting point for The Xenofeminist Manifesto, a radical attempt to articulate a feminism fit for the twenty-first century. Unafraid of exploring the potentials of technology, both its tyrannical and emancipatory possibilities, the manifesto seeks to uproot forces of repression that have come to seem inevitable—from the family, to the body, to the idea of gender itself.

Our 2020 radical diary may not technically be a book, but this beautiful diary includes book excerpts and small excerpts from throughout history—including the English Civil War and Black Panther movement, through to the protests of 1968 and feminist emancipation.

The global political, ecological, economic, and social breakdown—symbolized by Trump’s election—has destroyed faith that neoliberal capitalism is beneficial to the majority. Nancy Fraser explores how this faith was built through the late twentieth century by balancing two central tenets: recognition (who deserves rights) and distribution (who deserves income). When these begin to fray, new forms of outsider populist politics emerge on the left and the right.

“Want to know why the rent’s so high? Samuel Stein meticulously documents and analyzes the rise of the rip-off ‘real estate state,’ the instruments of its power, the invidious ‘plansplaining’ arguments of its defenders, and, above all, its accelerating ethnic and class cleansing of American cities, gentrification-frenzied New York in the vanguard. This superbly succinct and incisive book couldn’t be more timely or urgent.” – Michael Sorkin, author of All Over the Map

In this radical and visionary new book, McKenzie Wark argues that information has empowered a new kind of ruling class. While techno-utopian apologists still celebrate these innovations as an improvement on capitalism, for workers—and the planet—it’s worse. Drawing on the writings of a surprising range of classic and contemporary theorists, Wark offers an illuminating overview of the contemporary condition and the emerging class forces that control—and contest—it.

To protect the future of life on earth, we need to do more than just reimagine the economy—we have to change everything. One of the seminal thinkers of the program that helped ignite the US Green New Deal campaign, Ann Pettifor explains how we can afford what we can do, and what we need to do, before it is too late.

What is wrong with capitalism, and how can we change it? Erik Olin Wright has distilled decades of work into this concise and tightly argued manifesto: analyzing the varieties of anticapitalism, assessing different strategic approaches, and laying the foundations for a society dedicated to human flourishing. 

A Planet to Win explores the political potential and concrete first steps of a Green New Deal. It calls for dismantling the fossil fuel industry, building beautiful landscapes of renewable energy, and guaranteeing climate-friendly work, no-carbon housing, and free public transit. And it shows how a Green New Deal in the United States can strengthen climate justice movements worldwide.

This debut novel from critically acclaimed artist and musician Jenny Hval presents a heady and hyper-sensual portrayal of sexual awakening and queer desire.

We are currently witnessing in Western Europe a “populist moment” that signals the crisis of neoliberal hegemony. The central axis of the political conflict will be between right- and left-wing populism. By establishing a frontier between “the people” and “the oligarchy,” a left–populist strategy could bring together the manifold struggles against subordination, oppression and discrimination.

24/7 explores some of the ruinous consequences of the expanding non-stop processes of twenty-first-century capitalism. The marketplace now operates through every hour of the clock, pushing us into constant activity and eroding forms of community and political expression, damaging the fabric of everyday life. Jonathan Crary examines how this interminable non-time blurs any separation between an intensified, ubiquitous consumerism and emerging strategies of control and surveillance.

SCUM Manifesto was considered one of the most outrageous, violent and certifiably crazy tracts when it first appeared in 1968. Valerie Solanas, the woman who shot Andy Warhol, self-published this work just before her rampage against the king of Pop Art made her a household name and resulted in her confinement to a mental institution. But for all its vitriol, it is impossible to dismiss as unhinged. In fact, the work has indisputable prescience, not only as a radical feminist analysis light-years ahead of its timepredicting artificial insemination, ATMs, a feminist uprising against under-representation in the artsbut also as a stunning testament to the rage of an abused and destitute woman.

It was the 1917 Russian Revolution that transformed the scale of the Communist Manifesto, making it the key text for socialists everywhere. On the centenary of this upheaval, this volume pairs Marx and Engels’s most famous work with Lenin’s own revolutionary manifesto, “The April Theses,” which lifts politics from the level of everyday banalities to become an art-form.

Towards a New Manifesto shows Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer in a uniquely spirited and free-flowing exchange of ideas. A philosophical jam-session in which the two thinkers improvise freely, often wildly, on central themes of their work—theory and practice, labour and leisure, domination and freedom—in a political register found nowhere else in their writing. A thrilling example of philosophy in action and a compelling map of a possible passage to a new world.

Being Numerous shatters the mainstream consensus on politics and personhood, offering in its place a bracing analysis of a perilous world and how we should live in it. Beginning with an interrogation of what it means to fight fascism, Natasha Lennard explores the limits of individual rights, the criminalization of political dissent, the myths of radical sex, and the ghosts in our lives. At once politically committed and philosophically capacious, Being Numerous is a revaluation of the idea that the personal is political, and situates as the central question of our time—How can we live a non-fascist life?

Byung-Chul Han, a star of German philosophy, continues his passionate critique of neoliberalism, trenchantly describing a regime of technological domination that, in contrast to Foucault’s biopower, has discovered the productive force of the psyche. In the course of discussing all the facets of neoliberal psychopolitics fuelling our contemporary crisis of freedom, Han elaborates an analytical framework that provides an original theory of Big Data and a lucid phenomenology of emotion. 

For Marc Augé, best-selling author of Non-Places, the prevailing idea of “the Future” rests on our present fears of the contemporary world. It is to the future that we look for redemption and progress; but it is also where we project our personal and apocalyptic anxieties. By questioning notions of certainty, truth, and totality, Augé finds ways to separate the future from our eternal, terrified present and liberates the mind to allow it to conceptualize our possible futures afresh.

Based on ten years of writing and reporting on the sex trade, and grounded in her experience as an organizer, advocate, and former sex worker, Playing the Whore dismantles pervasive myths about sex work, criticizes both conditions within the sex industry and its criminalization, and argues that separating sex work from the "legitimate" economy only harms those who perform sexual labor.

NOT AVAILABLE OUTSIDE NORTH AMERICA

The Art of Asking Your Boss for a Raise is a hilarious account of an employee losing his identity—and possibly his sanity—as he tries to put on the most acceptable face for the corporate world,with its rigid hierarchies and hostility to new ideas. If he follows a certain course of action, so this logic goes, he will succeed—but, in accepting these conditions, are his attempts to challenge his world of work doomed from the outset?

What are needs? While the edifices of economic theory are built upon various mechanisms designed to satisfy “human needs,” not many economists have addressed the idea of need itself. Heller’s highly original work identifies this lacuna, recognizing the concept of needs as playing a “hidden but principal role in Marx’s economic categories.” Her writing lucidly exposes radical needs as bearing the seeds of revolutionary agency in alienated capitalist society, and reasserts our existence as sentient beings beyond the realm of the material, productive spheres.

A groundbreaking contribution to debates on women’s oppression and consciousness, and the connections between socialism and feminism, this foundational text shows how the roles women adopt within the capitalist economy have shaped ideas about family and sexuality. Examining feminist consciousness from various vantage points – social, sexual, cultural and economic – Sheila Rowbotham identifies the conditions under which it developed, and how the formation of a new “way of seeing” for women can lead to collective solidarity.

Banned by the Freud institute in Vienna, this controversial lecture eventually became Edward Said’s final book. Freud and the Non-European builds on Said’s abiding interest in the psychoanalyst’s work to examine Freud’s assumption that Moses was an Egyptian and from there explore the limits of identity. Such an unresolved, nuanced sense of identity, Said argues, might one day form the basis for a new understanding between Israelis and Palestinians.

In this vehement defence of democracy, Jacques Rancière explodes the complacency of Western politicians who pride themselves as the defenders of political freedom. As America and its allies use their military might in the misguided attempt to export a desiccated version democracy, and reactionary strands in mainstream political opinion abandon civil liberties, Rancière argues that true democracy—government by all—is held in profound contempt by the new ruling class. In a compelling and timely analysis, Hatred of Democracy rethinks the subversive power of the democratic ideal.

Taking issue with John Rawls and Jürgen Habermas on one side, and the political tenets of Blair, Clinton and Schröder on the other, Mouffe brings to the fore the paradoxical nature of modern liberal democracy in which the category of the ‘adversary’ plays a central role. She draws on the work of Wittgenstein, Derrida, and the provocative theses of Carl Schmitt, to propose a new understanding of democracy which acknowledges the ineradicability of antagonism in its workings.

ALL our books are 50% off until January 1 as part of our end-of-year sale! See full details here, as well as our End of Year Highlights, Top 10 Books of the Year, and our best short reads.