Tag Archives: capitalism

A People’s History of the United States, 1492-Present (Howard Zinn)

zinn“I am often asked how I came to write this book. One answer is that my wife Roslyn urged me to write it, and continued to urge me at those times when, daunted by the magnitude of the project, I wanted to abandon it. Another is that the circumstances of my own life (which, as I now write, has spanned a fourth of the nation’s history-a startling thought) demanded of me that I try to fashion a new kind of history. By that T mean a history different from what I had learned in college and in graduate school and from what I saw in the history texts given to students all over the country.” (excerpt from the afterword)

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The Revolutionary Ideas of Karl Marx (Alex Callinicos)

Revolutionary Ideas of Karl Marx - cvr“My aim in this book has been to fill a gap in the literature on Marx by providing an accessible modern introduction to his life and thought by someone who shares his basic beliefs on history, society and revolution. I am grateful to a number of people for their help and encouragement: to Peter Clark and Tony Cliff, who had the idea in the first place; to Tony Cliff for his searching criticisms of the book in manuscript; and to Peter Goodwin and Peter Marsden, who performed the same task as well as the more difficult one of trying to make the book readable. Although the general political standpoint taken in this book is that of the Socialist Workers Party, the errors it undoubtedly contains are all my own. I would like to dedicate The Revolutionary Ideas of Karl Marx to Joanna Seddon, to whom I owe, among other things, such knowledge as I have of the Utopian socialists.” (Foreword)

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On Practice and Contradiction (Mao Tse Tung)

mao“The fundamental contradiction in the process of development of a thing and the essence of the process determined by this fundamental contradiction will not disappear until the process is completed; but in a lengthy process the conditions usually differ at each stage. The reason is that, although the nature of the fundamental contradiction in the process of development of a thing and the essence of the process remain unchanged, the fundamental contradiction becomes more and more intensified as it passes fr om one stage to another in the lengthy process. In addition, among the numerous major and minor contradictions which are determined or influenced by the fundamental contradiction, some become more intense, some are temporarily or partially resolved or mitigated, and some new ones emerge: hence the process is marked by stages. If people do not pay attention to the stages in the process of development of a thing, they cannot deal with its contradictions properly.” -Mao Tse Tung

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Empire (Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri)

empire“Empire is materializing before our very eyes. Over the past several decades, as colonial regimes were overthrown and then precipitously after the Soviet barriers to the capitalist world market finally collapsed, we have witnessed an irresistible and irreversible globalization of economic and cultural exchanges. Along with the global market and global circuits of production has emerged a global order, a new logic and structure of rule —in short, a new form of sovereignty. Empire is the political subject that effectively regulates these global exchanges, the sovereign power that governs the world.”

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What Does the Ruling Class Do When it Rules? (Goran Therborn)

“Two concerns are intimately interwoven in this book: one of
empirical social theory and one of the practice of revolutionary
politics in the advanced capitalist countries. The first essay, dealing
with the state apparatus, owes its conception to the 22nd Congress
of the French Communist Party, at which the concept of the dictatorship
of the proletariat was deleted from the statutes. But it goes
beyond the framework of the political debate that accompanied and
followed that event. Entering the field of organization theory, it
seeks to elucidate the forms of state organization characteristic of
feudal society, the classical and modem Western world, and the
contemporary regimes of Eastern Europe.” (from Science and Politics–A Foreword)

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The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State (Frederick Engels)

“The increase in wealth gave more status to the man in the family and provided the stimulus to overthrow the traditional order of matrilinial inheritance to establish the institution of patriliny. Engels argues that this gender revolution took place in prehistoric times (i.e., before the development of writing) and therefore the exact knowledge of how and when it took place is unknown but it can be demonstrated ethnographically. He states “the overthrow of mother right was the world-historic defeat of the female sex”.2 Men seized control over the households, women became degraded and slaves to men’s lust and were the instruments for reproducing more children. In fact, the word family comes from the Latin term famulus which means household slave, and familia, the totality of slaves belonging to one man, the patriarch, who inherited all the wealth and wielded absolute power over all members of the household. This shift towards gender inequality was presented as a natural, not a social process.” (excerpt)

Download: Engels-Origin of the Family