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10 books to get you in the mood for defeating the Tories

Corbyn_mural--
Mural by graffiti artist Loretto, London. via Flickr

With the upcoming General Election, we have a real opportunity to build a society that is radically fairer, radically more democratic, and radically more sustainable.

And, crucially, finally get rid of the biggest drain on this country: the Tories.

Keep hearing that Corbyn's plans for spending are "unachievable?"

Big challenges lie ahead for our society: the rise of automation and the threat of catastrophic climate change. But so, too, do the huge possibilities presented by new technology and better ways of organising our economy in the wake of neoliberalism’s failure. 

Economics for the Many, edited and with an introduction by Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell, features contributions from the participants in his New Economics conferences, including Barry Gardiner, Ann Pettifor, Prem Sikka, and Guy Standing. It covers topics from housing, public ownership, and fairer international trading systems to industrial policy for the twenty-first century and how to tackle tax avoidance and regional imbalances. Together, the essays in this volume lay out a vision for a new economics, one that works for the many, not the few.

Why the super-rich really aren't worth the hassle.

Being born outside the 1% has a dramatic impact on a person’s potential: reducing life expectancy, limiting educational and work prospects, and even affecting mental health.

What is to be done? In Inequality and the 1% leading social thinker Danny Dorling lays bare the extent and true cost of the division in our society and asks what have the super-rich ever done for us? He shows that it is the 1% that threatens us with the most harm and why we must urgently redress the balance.

How immigrants have become scapegoats for the rich and powerful, and why you shouldn't fall for it.

Through interviews with leading policy-makers, asylum seekers, and immigration lawyers, Goodfellow illuminates the dark underbelly of contemporary immigration policies. A nuanced analysis of the UK’s immigration policy from the 1960s onwards, Hostile Environment links immigration policy and the rhetoric of both Labour and Tory governments to the UK’s colonial past and its imperialist present. Goodfellow shows that distinct forms of racism and dehumanisation directly resulted from immigration policy, and reminds us of the human cost of concessions to anti-immigration politics.

A radical blueprint for a new society.

In the twenty-first century, new technologies should liberate us from work. Automation, rather than undermining an economy built on full employment, is instead the path to a world of liberty, luxury and happiness—for everyone. Technological advance will reduce the value of commodities—food, healthcare and housing—towards zero.

In Fully Automated Luxury Communism, Aaron Bastani conjures a vision of extraordinary hope, showing how we move to energy abundance, feed a world of 9 billion, overcome work, transcend the limits of biology, and establish meaningful freedom for everyone. Rather than a final destination, such a society merely heralds the real beginning of history.

Understand the shocking reality of austerity on disabled people.

In austerity Britain, disabled people have been recast as worthless scroungers. From social care to the benefits system, politicians and the media alike have made the case that Britain’s 12 million disabled people are nothing but a drain on the public purse. In Crippled, journalist and campaigner Frances Ryan exposes the disturbing reality, telling the stories of those most affected by this devastating regime. It is at once both a damning indictment of a safety net so compromised it strangles many of those it catches and a passionate demand for an end to austerity, which hits hardest those most in need.

Corbynism: this is the book that explains where it came from and the type of future it offers.

This book is essential reading for those who want to know where Corbynism comes from: the policies, personalities and moments of resistance that have produced this new horizon. This includes the story of power struggles within the Labour Party, and the eventual defeat of New Labour. The movements outside it—unions, feminists groups, anti-fascists activists, anti-war protestors—that have driven the policies of the movement forward. And the powerful influence of international groups that have shaped the potential for a global progressive politics.

The Green New Deal: what it is and how we can afford it.

Ann Pettifor was one of the Economists who predicted the 2008 Financial Crash. She is now one of the architects of the Green New Deal.

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.

The Case for the Green New Deal argues that economic change is wholly possible, based on the understanding that finance, the economy and the ecosystem are all tightly bound together. The GND demands total decarbonization and a commitment to an economy based on fairness and social justice. It proposes a radical new understanding of the international monetary system. Pettifor offers a roadmap for financial reform both nationally and globally, taking the economy back from the 1%. This is a radical, urgent manifesto that we must act on now.

Another political system is possible: a future that everyone can be a part of.

A toxic ideology of extreme competition and individualism has come to dominate our world. It misrepresents human nature, destroying hope and common purpose. Only a positive vision can replace it, a new story that re-engages people in politics and lights a path to a better future. Both democracy and economic life can be radically reorganized from the bottom up, enabling us to take back control and overthrow the forces that have thwarted our ambitions for a better society.

Urgent and passionate, Out of the Wreckage provides the hope and clarity required to change the world.

How and why socialism can work today: essential reading for anyone who wants to build a new society based on people’s needs, not profit for the elite.

From one of the most prominent voices on the American left, a galvanizing argument for why we need socialism today.

Tracing the history of some of socialism’s highs and lows—from the creation of Germany’s Social Democratic Party through bloody communist revolutions to the predicaments of midcentury social democracy—Sunkara contends that, in our global age, socialism is still the only way forward. Drawing on history and his own experience in left-wing activism, Sunkara explains how socialists can win better wages and housing and create democratic institutions in workplaces and communities.

Why a radical new education system, one that does not include private schools, is possible.

Our education system has been damaged by politicians who have arrogantly imposed a regime of market-driven reforms. It is time to reframe education as an essential public good, one arising from a hunger to find more engaging ways to learn and the powerful imperative to make our society genuinely equal.

In this timely and provocative book, Melissa Benn argues for a National Education Service. It should be free at the point of delivery. It should nurture teachers and scholarship, moving beyond an obsession with exam results to create fully rounded, questioning citizens. Its eventual aim should be an integrated, comprehensive system available to all.

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See all our General Election reading here.