The outrage, fear and depression after Trump’s inauguration is palpable everywhere. Trump’s first acts in office, moving to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, signing an anti-abortion Global Gag Rule, and reviving plans to build the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, signal that he will be as dangerous a leader as we expected. The 2.9 million people who marched around the country as part of the Women’s March on Washington on January 21st send an inspiring message that many are galvanized to fight Trump’s hateful policies. But this is the very beginning of what will be a long and painful fight.
We must never give in to despondency and futility, rather we must learn from the revolutionary movements of history and mobilize together against Trump’s regime of oppression.
We present this reading list as a useful starting point for anyone sharing in our overwhelming sense of anger and despair at our present crisis, and anyone looking for hope and inspiration in the resistance movements of the past and the organizing strategies of the present.
Download our free ebook, The Anti-Inauguration: Building Resistance in the Trump Era, here.
The “S” Word: A Short History of an American Tradition … Socialism
by John Nichols
Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign has inspired millions to engage with socialist ideas. Much has been made of both Bernie and Trump’s outsider status; but socialism is hardly something new in this country. Treat your recently radicalized friends to John Nichols’ history of socialist movements in the US.
In this unapologetic corrective to today’s collective amnesia, John Nichols calls for the proud return of socialism in American life and makes a case for socialist ideas as an indispensable part of American heritage. The S Word addresses a nation that can no longer afford to put capital before people.
The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class
by David R. Roediger
Introduction by Kathleen Cleaver
A lot of the blame for Trump’s victory is being attributed to the white working class and their anger at the perceived multiculturalism infringing on the white majority.
David Roediger’s widely acclaimed book provides an original study of the formative years of working-class racism in the United States. This, he argues, cannot be explained simply with reference to economic advantage; rather, white working-class racism is underpinned by a complex series of psychological and ideological mechanisms that reinforce racial stereotypes, and thus help to forge the identities of white workers in opposition to Blacks.
Grand Hotel Abyss: The Lives of the Frankfurt School
by Stuart Jeffries
The alt-right movement has become more visible during this election cycle, rebranding their racist, anti-Semitic cultural identity in the form of the educated, well-dressed intellectual. Trump himself has proved a skillful manipulator of cultural norms, able to capitalize on people’s fears and sow deeper divisions between those with different social and political views. The politics and importance of culture today can be better understood by looking back at the contributions of the Frankfurt School, a group of young radical German thinkers and intellectuals including Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, and Herbert Marcuse.
Grand Hotel Abyss combines biography, philosophy, and storytelling to reveal how the Frankfurt thinkers gathered in hopes of understanding the politics of culture during the rise of fascism. Not only would they change the way we think, but also the subjects we deem worthy of intellectual investigation. Their lives, like their ideas, profoundly, sometimes tragically, reflected and shaped the shattering events of the twentieth century.
If They Come in the Morning … : Voices of Resistance
Edited by Angela Y. Davis
With race and police violence once more burning issues, this classic work from one of America’s giants of black radicalism has lost none of its prescience or power.
One of America’s most historic political trials is undoubtedly that of Angela Davis. Opening with a letter from James Baldwin to Davis, and including contributions from numerous radicals such as Black Panthers George Jackson, Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale and Erica Huggins, this book is not only an account of Davis’s incarceration and the struggles surrounding it, but also perhaps the most comprehensive and thorough analysis of the prison system of the United States.
Liberalism: A Counter-History
by Domenico Losurdo
Translated by Gregory Elliott
What does it mean to be a liberal in today’s political climate? Though the mainstream media have divided the electorate into liberals and conservatives, the ideals of liberalism has never represented the most progressive ideas.
In this definitive historical investigation, Italian author and philosopher Domenico Losurdo argues that from the outset liberalism, as a philosophical position and ideology, has been bound up with the most illiberal of policies: slavery, colonialism, genocide, racism and snobbery. Among the dominant strains of liberalism, he discerns the counter-currents of more radical positions, lost in the constitution of the modern world order.
Fire and Blood: The European Civil War, 1914–1945
by Enzo Traverso
Translated by David Fernbach
The two world wars profoundly shaped the US role on the world stage and led to a new world order. To understand the current state of US foreign policy, economic policy and forms of governance it’s necessary to look back at the European crisis of the two world wars, which Enzo Traverso argues should be analyzed as a single historical sequence: the age of the European Civil War.
Proclamations of national unity led to eventual devastation, with entire countries torn to pieces. During these three decades of deepening conflicts, a classical interstate conflict morphed into a global civil war. It was a time of both unchained passions and industrial, rationalized massacre. Rejecting commonplace notions of “totalitarian evil,” he rediscovers the feelings and reinterprets the ideas of an age of intellectual and political commitment when Europe shaped world history with its own collapse.
Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil
by Timothy Mitchell
Donald Trump is a pro-energy, climate-denying president at a time when global warming is one of the greatest threats to our existence. One of his first actions as president was to sign a document clearing the way for the government to reconsider the Keystone XL pipeline and another expediting the Dakota Access pipeline from North and South Dakota to Illinois. Our continued reliance on oil and fossil fuels prevents us from addressing the issue of climate change in any meaningful way, and Trump’s agenda will only worsen the crisis.
Timothy Mitchell explores how oil undermines democracy, and our ability to address the environmental crisis. In this magisterial study, Mitchell rethinks the history of energy, bringing into his grasp as he does so environmental politics, the struggle for democracy, and the place of the Middle East in the modern world.
Crowds and Party
by Jodi Dean
We just saw millions of people take to the streets in cities around the world as part of the Women’s March on Washington on January 21st, estimated to be the biggest one-day protest in US history. The question now is how to harness those crowds and that energy into collective action to fight Trump’s agenda.
In Crowds and Party, Jodi Dean argues that we need to channel 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 and shows how we can see the party as an organization that can reinvigorate political practice.
Fortunes of Feminism: From State-Managed Capitalism to Neoliberal Crisis
by Nancy Fraser
The Women’s March on Washington raised legitimate concerns about the initial lack of inclusion of women of color and working class women, though the organizers did take steps to make the march more open and inclusive. Despite the long standing tension between traditional Second Wave feminism and newer forms of identity based social movements, Nancy Fraser argues that feminism can be a force working in concert with other egalitarian movements in the struggle to bring the economy under democratic control, while building on the visionary potential of the earlier waves of women’s liberation.
Fortunes of Feminism traces the feminist movement’s evolution since the 1970s and anticipates a new—radical and egalitarian—phase of feminist thought and action.
The Idea of Israel: A History of Power and Knowledge
by Ilan Pappe
President-elect Donald J. Trump thrust himself into one of the world’s most polarizing debates recently by pressuring President Obama to veto a United Nations resolution critical of Israel, the newly elected leader’s most direct intervention in foreign policy during his transition to power.
In this major new history of Zionism and Israel, Ilan Pappe looks at the continued role of Zionist ideology and considers the way Zionism operates outside of the government and military in areas such as the country’s education system, media, and cinema. Pappe himself was part of the post-Zionist movement in the 1990s and was attacked and received death threats as he exposed the truth about how Palestinians have been treated and the gruesome structure that links the production of knowledge to the exercise of power.
Violent Borders: Refugees and the Right to Move
by Reece Jones
With Trump promising to build a wall and to deport millions of immigrants and break up countless families, it’s important to remember the devastating effect of borders around the world; forty thousand people died trying to cross international borders in the past decade.
With the growth of borders and resource enclosures, the deaths of migrants in search of a better life are intimately connected to climate change, environmental degradation, and the growth of global wealth inequality. Jones crosses the migrant trails of the world, documenting the billions of dollars spent on border security projects and explores how borders are formed and their dire consequences.
On Populist Reason
by Ernesto Laclau
Many a think piece has been devoted to understanding the populist support that swept Trump into office. What are the forces that drive populism and how do these forces relate to democracy?
In this analysis Laclau focuses on the construction of popular identities and how "the people" emerge as a collective actor. Skillfully combining theoretical analysis with a myriad of empirical references from numerous historical and geographical contexts he offers a critical reading of the existing literature on populism, demonstrating its dependency on the theorists of "mass psychology" such as Taine and Freud.
Politics in a Time of Crisis: Podemos and the Future of Democracy in Europe
by Pablo Iglesias
Foreword by Alexis Tsipras
Far-Right demagogues, and the movements they cater to, have been on the rise all over the industrialized, neoliberal world—e.g. the Brexiteers, France’s Marine Le Pen, and Austria’s Norbert Hofer, not to mention Putin, Erdogan, and Park Geun-hye—but one country has not only heard very little from the Far Right, it has seen the rise of a vibrant new left: Spain. There the Podemos movement has sprung up out of social movements to challenge establishment leftists, neoliberals, and austerity conservatives.
Fascism and Dictatorship
by Nicos Poulantzas
Are the comparisons between Trump and Hitler’s rise to power substantiated? In this conceptual analysis melded with history, the first major Marxist study of German and Italian fascism to appear since the Second World War, you’ll have some more to chew over. It carefully distinguishes between fascism as a mass movement before the seizure of power and fascism as an entrenched machinery of dictatorship. It compares the distinct class components of the counter-revolutionary blocs mobilized by fascism in Germany and Italy and analyses the changing relations between the petty bourgeoisie and big capital in the evolution of fascism.
Four Futures: Life After Capitalism
by Peter Frase
From the New Inquiry review of Four Futures:
“Frase’s descriptions of technologically facilitated genocide in a war of the rich against the poor are chilling, especially given the billionaire who is set to assume the presidency in the U.S. and who is eager to compile lists of people—Muslims, immigrants, flag burners, who knows who else—that he and his administration have deemed undesirable, deportable, expendable.”
American Foreign Policy and Its Thinkers
by Perry Anderson
American foreign policy is about to take a radical turn with Trump at the helm, but to understand the full scope of the changes to come, it’s important to look at the history of US foreign policy and imperialism.
In a fresh look at the topic, Anderson charts the intertwined historical development of America’s imperial reach and its role as the general guarantor of capital and surveys the repertoire of US grand strategy, as its leading thinkers—Brzezinski, Mead, Kagan, Fukuyama, Mandelbaum, Ikenberry, Art and others—grapple with the tasks and predicaments of the American imperium today.
The ABCs of Socialism
Edited by Bhaskar Sunkara
Illustrated by Phil Wrigglesworth
The remarkable run of self-proclaimed “democratic socialist” Bernie Sanders for president of the United States has prompted—for the first time in decades and to the shock of many—a national conversation about socialism.
This slim, accessible, irreverent introduction to socialism by the writers of Jacobin magazine is the perfect gift to anyone recently interested in socialism!
The Verso Book of Dissent: Revolutionary Words from Three Millennia of Rebellion and Resistance
Edited by Andrew Hsiao and Audrea Lim
Preface by Tariq Ali
Now more than ever, we need to look to revolutionary history for inspiration in our current fight against Trump’s regime of oppression.
Throughout the ages and across every continent, people have struggled against those in power and raised their voices in protest-rallying others around them or inspiring uprisings many years later. This anthology, global in scope, presents voices of dissent from every era of human history: speeches and pamphlets, poems and songs, plays and manifestos. Every age has its iconoclasts, and yet the greatest among them build on the words and actions of their forerunners.
The Muslims Are Coming!: Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror
by Arun Kundnani
Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric has inspired a spike in hate crimes. Across the nation, more than 900 incidents of hate-related intimidation or harassment were reported in just the first 10 days following the election, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The new front in the War on Terror is the “homegrown enemy,” domestic terrorists who have become the focus of sprawling counterterrorism structures of policing and surveillance in the United States and across Europe. Domestic surveillance has mushroomed – at least 100,000 Muslims in America have been secretly under scrutiny. Based on several years of research and reportage, this is the first comprehensive critique of counterradicalization strategies.
Policing the Planet: Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter
Edited by Jordan T. Camp and Christina Heatherton
Black Lives Matter has played an important role in this election, with activists demanding that the candidates acknowledge and respond to the ongoing crisis of policing and the thousands of unarmed black and brown people killed each year by police.
Combining firsthand accounts from activists with the research of scholars and reflections from artists, Policing the Planet traces the global spread of the broken-windows policing strategy. With contributions from #BlackLivesMatter cofounder Patrisse Cullors, Ferguson activist and Law Professor Justin Hansford, Director of New York–based Communities United for Police Reform Joo-Hyun Kang, poet Martín Espada, and journalist Anjali Kamat, and more.
COMING IN FEBRUARY:
Direct Action: Protest and the Reinvention of American Radicalism
by L. A. Kauffman
We will need to employ many direct action tactics in our organizing ahead, and an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of these tactics can only be found by learning from past radical movements.
This engrossing history traces the evolution of disruptive protest over the last 40 years to tell a larger story about the reshaping of American radicalism, showing how the direct-action blockades, occupations, and campaigns of recent activist movements have functioned as laboratories for political experimentation and renewal.
All books on this reading list are 40% off until Wednesday February 1st at midnight UTC. Includes free ebooks where available and free worldwide shipping. Click here to activate your discount.