Karl Marx's The Communist Manifesto is 174 years old. The legacy of the thinker who changed the course of history and lit the world on fire lives on, but every generation in disparate parts of the world who has inherited this legacy has had to reassess what it will mean to them. What does Marxism have to offer today's Left? This reading list explores some of Marxism's past and current contributions to help us in our future struggles.
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Learn to Read Marx
This is where you begin: the essential manuals for new and long-time Marx readers to best understand Marxist fundamentals.[book-strip index="1" style="buy"]
This is the Marx handbook. Sophisticated but succinct, Etienne Balibar opens a gateway into Marxist thought in this rich and accessible introduction that examines all the key areas of Marx’s writings in their wider historical and theoretical context—including the concepts of class struggle, ideology, humanism, progress, determinism, commodity fetishism, and the state. It is complete with key “information boxes” for a lucid reading of Marx to address our world today.[book-strip index="2" style="buy"]
This is the most comprehensive guide and how-to for both first-time and long-time readers of Capital from David Harvey to date, one of the world's foremost Marx scholars, who has written and lectured on Capital for over forty years. A Companion to Marx's Capital brings together volumes I, II, and II of Harvey's guides based on his most recent lectures. Here, he offers fresh, original, and sometimes critical interpretations of a book that changed the course of history and, as Harvey intimates, may do so again.[book-strip index="3" style="buy"]
Originally published in 1965, Reading Capital is a landmark of French thought and radical theory, reconstructing Western Marxism from its foundations. Through a critical rereading this work offers a revival of Marx's project. Born out of a seminar that Louis Althusser ran with his students at the École normale supérieure, this is the first unabridged edition available in English that restores chapters by Roger Establet, Pierre Macherey and Jacques Rancière with a new introduction by Étienne Balibar.
The Key Critics of Yesterday for Today's Crises
Critics have torn apart and rebuilt anew many threads of Marxist thought: you'll need to read them for yourself to decide what Marxism you'll bring into the end of the world, the revolution, or both.[book-strip index="4" style="buy"]
In the face of the rise of the far right today, Lukács’s critique of post-Hegelian tradition as the root of fascist thought is as necessary as ever. He asks, how did Western philosophy lose its innocence: from Enlightenment to fascism? The Destruction of Reason is Georg Lukács’s trenchant criticism of certain strands of philosophy after Marx and the role they played in the rise of National Socialism: ‘Germany’s path to Hitler in the sphere of philosophy,’ as he put it. Starting with the revolutions of 1848, his analysis spans post-Hegelian philosophy and sociology, and spares no one on the way.[book-strip index="5" style="buy"]
A critical evaluation of the course and legacy of the Analytical Marxist project. In the 1980s, leading philosophers at Oxford, Chicago and UCLA undertook a controversial reassessment of Marxism using the techniques of analytical philosophy. The aim of these so-called “Non-Bullshit” Marxists was no less than the complete reconstruction of Marxist theory, recasting it on a logical and rigorous basis, free from all metaphysical jargon and sentimentality.
NOT AVAILABLE IN CANADA[book-strip index="6" style="buy"]
A compact but masterful synoptic essay on the great currents of Marxist thought. Perry Anderson offers a surveying critique of the nature and evolution of the Marxist theory that developed in Western Europe, after the defeat of the proletarian rebellions in the West and the isolation of the Russian Revolution in the East in the early 1920's. Including Lukács, Korsch and Gramsci; Adorno, Marcuse and Benjamin; Sartre and Althusser; and Della Volpe and Colletti. He asks, What was the structural unity of 'Western Marxism', beyond its individual thinkers? How did it contrast its heritage with the tradition of 'classical' Marxism that preceded it? Moreover, how will both fare with the problems which confront any historical materialism to succeed it?
NOT AVAILABLE IN CANADA
What will we inherit from the father of structuralist Marxism?
What is the role of the state in capitalist society? Does the state reproduce the logic of capitalist structure in its economic, legal, and political institutions? Leading figure of structural Marxism, Louis Althusser says yes.
Read these to decide whether we need to dismantle the state apparatus or the ruling class first.[book-strip index="7" style="buy"]
A milestone in the development of post-war Marxist thought - this is the work in which Louis Althusser formulated some of his most influential ideas. For Marx, first published in France in 1968, has come to be regarded as the founding text of the school of “structuralist Marxism” which was presided over by the enigmatic figure of Louis Althusser. Structuralism constituted an intellectual revolution in the 1960's and 70's and radically transformed the way philosophy, political and social theory, history, science, and aesthetics were discussed and thought about. For Marx was a key contribution to that process and it fundamentally recast the way in which many people understood Marxism.[book-strip index="8" style="buy"]
Written in the afterglow of May 1968, this text addresses a question that continues to haunt us today: in a society that proclaims its attachment to the ideals of liberty and equality, why do we witness the ever-renewed reproduction of relations of domination? Available for the first time, in full, in English, On the Reproduction of Capitalism develops Althusser’s conception of historical materialism, outlining the conditions of reproduction in capitalist society and the revolutionary struggle for its overthrow. Its essays have radically transformed the concept of the subject, the understanding of the state and even the very frameworks of cultural, political and literary theory. The text has influenced thinkers such as Judith Butler, Ernesto Laclau and Slavoj Žižek.[book-strip index="9" style="buy"]
Nicos Poulantzas' debate with Ralph Miliband is essential reading to understand the differences between structural Marxism and instrumental Marxism on the state and its relationship to capitalism. Nicos Poulantzas is yet another leading structural Marxist, developing seminal analyses of the state and social classes during the crisis of monopoly capitalism. This volume brings together a wide selection of Poulantzas’ key writings in legal philosophy and political sociology, texts include his early analyses of law, his studies of hegemony, authoritarianism, and social classes, and his debate on the state with Ralph Miliband and Ernesto Laclau.
Revolutionary Potential Energy
To carry out the revolutions of tomorrow we will need to gather the right tools. These texts contextualize and historicize the logic of revolutionary thought, the legacy of revolutionary figures, and a lineage of failed or ongoing revolutions.[book-strip index="10" style="buy"]
This book reinterprets the history of nineteenth and twentieth-century revolutions by composing a constellation of “dialectical images”: Marx’s “locomotives of history,” Alexandra Kollontai’s sexually liberated bodies, Lenin’s mummified body, Auguste Blanqui’s barricades and red flags, the Paris Commune’s demolition of the Vendome Column, among several others.[book-strip index="11" style="buy"]
Revolution in the Revolution? is a brilliant, pragmatic assessment of the situation in Latin America in the 1960s. First published in 1967, it became a controversial handbook for guerrilla warfare and revolution, read alongside Che’s own pamphlets, with which it can compete in terms of historical importance and insight to this day. Lucid and compelling, it spares no personage, no institution, and no concept, taking on not only Russian and Chinese strategies but Trotskyism as well.[book-strip index="12" style="buy"]
Literature of Revolution explores the pivotal texts and topics in the Marxist tradition, drawing on the works of Marx, Trotsky, Luxemburg, Lenin, and Althusser. In close dialogue with common themes and arguments in revolutionary Marxist thought, Geras brings some of his persistent preoccupations to the fore: the relationship between Marxism and justice; the debates on political organization; and the role of revolutionary mass action and party pluralism; as well as an enthralling exploration into the literary power of Trotsky’s writing.
Are we post-Marx?
What now? Is Marx even relevant anymore? Read these to analyze the legacy of Marxism in radical thought and action in our twenty-first century world.[book-strip index="13" style="buy"]
Henri Lefebvre saw Marx as an ‘unavoidable, necessary, but insufficient starting point’, and always insisted on the importance of Hegel to understanding Marx. Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche: or the Realm of the Shadows proposes that the modern world is, at the same time, Hegelian in terms of the state, Marxist in terms of the social and society and Nietzschean in terms of civilisation and its values.[book-strip index="14" style="buy"]
In this pithy and panoramic work—both stimulating for the specialist and accessible to the general reader—one of the world’s leading social theorists, Göran Therborn, traces the trajectory of Marxism in the twentieth century and anticipates its legacy for radical thought in the twenty-first.[book-strip index="15" style="buy"]
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.