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.
May Day 2015 in London saw a rally of trade unions, migrant workers & London’s many communities and other organisations finishing in Trafalgar Square. 2016 demos include speakers such as Yannis Gourtsoyhannia (from the Junior Doctor’s dispute), Christine Blower (the General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, to talk about the government’s attacks on education), Frances O'Grady (TUC General Secretary), Jeremy Corbyn, and John McDonnell. See the full details here!
In New York there's a rally and march in Union Square on Sunday starting at noon, in Los Angeles there's a May Day March and Bernie Sanders rally on Saturday starting at 3pm, and in Oakland there's a rally at the Fruitvale Bart starting at noon. See an incomplete list of May Day activities here.
This May Day we bring you the following reading list, AND we're doing a FLASH SALE with 50% off all of them! Don't forget - we have free worldwide shipping and free bundled ebooks where available!
The sale will end on Monday, May 2 at 11pm ET.
Crowds and Party
by Jodi Dean
“Dean has a powerful point to make: political movements have to move beyond immediate expression— the crowd— and embrace long-term organization— the party.” – Open Letters Monthly
Crowds and Party channels the energies of the riotous crowds who took to the streets in the past five years into an argument for the political party. Rejecting the emphasis on individuals and multitudes, Jodi Dean argues that we need to rethink the collective subject of politics.
Red Rosa: A Graphic Biography of Rosa Luxemburg
by Kate Evans, Edited by Paul Buhle
“Utterly brilliant” – Guardian
“This book is hard to put down and contains a challenge that is impossible to turn away from: We could create a better world—peaceful, egalitarian, even joyful—if we are willing to learn from Red Rosa.” – Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Living with a Wild God
Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class
by Owen Jones
In this best seller called "a work of passion, sympathy, and moral grace" by the New York Times, Jones investigates the demonization of the working class, who went from “salt of the earth” to “scum of the earth.” It's no wonder that growing numbers of people, regardless of income, tend to identify as middle class. This book is a go-to for anyone interested in why people are afraid of identifying with the working-class, and by extension, working-class struggles.
Serve the People: Making Asian America in the Long Sixties
by Karen L. Ishizuka
Foreword by Jeff Chang
“Serve the People describes beautifully not merely the making of a people but an entire era.” – Gary Y. Okihiro, author of American History Unbound: Asians and Pacific Islanders
Until the political ferment of the Long Sixties, there were no Asian Americans. There were only isolated communities of mostly Chinese, Japanese, and Filipinos lumped together as “Orientals.” Serve the People tells the story of the social and cultural movement that knit these disparate communities into a political identity, the history of how—and why—the double consciousness of Asian America came to be.
Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming
by Andreas Malm
“The definitive deep history on how our economic system created the climate crisis. Superb, essential reading from one of the most original thinkers on the subject.” – Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything and The Shock Doctrine
Sweeping from nineteenth-century Manchester to the emissions explosion in China, from the original triumph of coal to the stalled shift to renewables, this study hones in on the burning heart of capital and demonstrates, in unprecedented depth, that turning down the heat will mean a radical overthrow of the current economic order.
Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work
by Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams
“A fascinating book about an alternative to austerity.” – Owen Jones
Inventing the Future is a bold new manifesto for life after capitalism. Against the confused understanding of our high-tech world by both the right and the left, this book claims that the emancipatory and future-oriented possibilities of our society can be reclaimed.
A History of the Barricade
by Eric Hazan
In the history of European revolutions, the barricade stands as a glorious emblem. Its symbolic importance arises principally from the barricades of Eric Hazan’s native Paris, where they were instrumental in the revolts of the nineteenth century, helping to shape the political life of a continent.
Hazan traces the many stages in the barricade’s evolution, from the Wars of Religion through to the Paris Commune, drawing on the work of thinkers throughout the periods examined to illustrate and bring to life the violent practicalities of revolutionary uprising.
The “S” Word: A Short History of an American Tradition … Socialism
by John Nichols
“A chilling reminder of how much rich American history has been erased by shallow messaging. A crucial book.” – Naomi Klein
During the Cold War it became a dirty word in the United States, but “socialism” runs like a red thread through the nation’s history, an integral part of its political consciousness since the founding of the republic. In this unapologetic corrective to today’s collective amnesia, John Nichols calls for the proud return of socialism in American life.
Outsider in the White House by Bernie Sanders
Afterword by John Nichols
“Bernie is the real thing. He’s about an unwavering commitment to basic justice, equality and sound financial sense.” – Ben Cohen, cofounder of Ben & Jerry’s and founder of Stampede: Stamp Money out of Politics
In this book, Sanders tells the story of a passionate and principled political life. He describes how, after cutting his teeth in the Civil Rights movement, he helped build a grassroots political movement in Vermont, making it possible for him to become the first independent elected to the US House of Representatives in forty years. The story continues into the US Senate and through the dramatic launch of his presidential campaign.
Disaster Capitalism: Making a Killing out of Catastrophe
by Antony Loewenstein
“A keenly observed and timely investigation into rampant resource plunder, privatized detention centers, and an array of other forms of corporate rapacity on four continents.” – Naomi Klein
What emerges through Loewenstein’s reporting is a dark history of multinational corporations that, with the aid of media and political elites, have grown more powerful than national governments. In the twenty-first century, the vulnerable have become the world’s most valuable commodity.
Capitalism in the Web of Life: Ecology and the Accumulation of Capital
by Jason W. Moore
“Moore’s radical and rigorous work is, and richly deserves to be, agenda-setting.” – China Miéville
Finance. Climate. Food. Work. How are the crises of the twenty-first century connected? Jason Moore argues that the sources of today’s global turbulence have a common cause: capitalism as a way of organizing nature, including human nature. Drawing on environmentalist, feminist, and Marxist thought, Moore offers a groundbreaking new synthesis: capitalism as a “world-ecology” of wealth, power, and nature.
by Kristin Ross
“This is an indispensable text for all current left theory!” – Fredric Jameson
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.
The New Prophets of Capital
by Nicole Aschoff
“Through four well-chosen and emblematic case studies, Aschoff tackles this slippery subject with confidence and subtlety, providing readers with key intellectual tools to separate fact from fiction.” – Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate
Enter the new prophets of capital: Sheryl Sandberg touting the capitalist work ethic as the antidote to gender inequality; John Mackey promising that free markets will heal the planet; Oprah Winfrey urging us to find solutions to poverty and alienation within ourselves; and Bill and Melinda Gates offering the generosity of the 1 percent as the answer to a persistent, systemic inequality. The new prophets of capital buttress an exploitative system, even as the cracks grow more visible.
24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep
by Johnathon Crary
If you're interested in working life today, you can't limit your analysis to 9-5. As Crary illuminates in this timely and frightening book, the tentacles of work's demands have spread into nearly every hour of human existence. As labor becomes increasingly flexible, freelance, and tied to a global economy, attempting to "turn off" or "clock out" grows more difficult. A perfect bedtime story for any anti-capitalist.
Heroes: Mass Murder and Suicide
by Franco “Bifo” Berardi
“As a diagnostician, Berardi is among the sharpest.” – Slate
What is the relationship between capitalism and mental health? In his most unsettling book to date, Franco “Bifo” Berardi embarks on an exhilarating journey through philosophy, psychoanalysis and current events, searching for the social roots of the mental malaise of our age.
State of Insecurity: Government of the Precarious
by Isabell Lorey
Translated by Aileen Derieg, Foreword by Judith Butler
“The important contribution of this thoughtful work is to let us understand finally that precarity is not a passing or episodic condition, but a new form of regulation that distinguishes this historical time.” – Judith Butler, from the foreword
Years of remodeling the welfare state, the rise of technology, and the growing power of neoliberal government apparatuses have established a society of the precarious. Encouraged to believe ourselves flexible and autonomous, we experience a creeping isolation that has both social and political impacts, and serves the purposes of capital accumulation and social control.
Déjà Vu and the End of History
by Paolo Virno, Translated by David Broder
Déjà vu, which doubles and confuses our experience of time, is a psychological phenomenon with peculiar relevance to our contemporary historical circumstances. From this starting point, the acclaimed Italian philosopher Paolo Virno examines the construct of memory, the passage of time, and the “end of history.” In examining the way the experience of time becomes historical, Virno forms a radical new theory of historical temporality.
Willing Slaves of Capital: Marx and Spinoza on Desire
by Frédéric Lordon
Many conversations about work and labor movements focus on the objective conditions of exploitation, from the length of the working day to stagnant wages. But by bringing together Marx and Spinoza, Lordon sets out to explore the subjective dimensions of labor: Why, exactly, do people work for other people? This analysis is especially on point, as Mark Fisher says, "at a time when all workers are required to show 'passion' for their jobs."
The Extreme Centre: A Warning
by Tariq Ali
“Ali remains an outlier and intellectual bomb-thrower; an urbane, Oxford-educated polemicist.” – Observer
What is the point of elections? The result is always the same: a victory for the Extreme Centre. Since 1989, politics has become a contest to see who can best serve the needs of the market, a competition now fringed by unstable populist movements. The same catastrophe has taken place in the US, Britain, Continental Europe and Australia.
Strike for America: Chicago Teachers Against Austerity
by Micah Uetricht
In another labor-oriented text for the Jacobin Series, Uetricht traces one of the most important contemporary worker-led struggles: the Chicago Teacher's Strike. Based on front-line organizing, Uetricht shows how the successful actions were years in the making, bringing together school workers, community members, and students to resist the far-reaching consequences of contemporary educational restructuring.
The Death and Life of American Labor: Toward a New Workers’ Movement
by Stanley Aronowitz
“Stanley Aronowitz is the most important scholar on the past and present US working class.” – Cornel West
The decline of the American union movement – and how it can revive, by a leading analyst of labor
The Prophet: The Life of Leon Trotsky
by Isaac Deutscher
Few political figures of the twentieth century have aroused such intensities of fierce admiration and reactionary fear as Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky. His extraordinary life and extensive writings have left an indelible mark on the revolutionary consciousness.
The Communist Manifesto
by Karl Marx & Frederick Engels
Two standards are held aloft on every May Day march - the Red Flag, and the portrait of Marx, who lays out in The Manifesto that the history of the world is the history of the class struggles. As the world financial system continues to teeter, The Communist Manifesto is enjoying a resurgence of interest.