Books for changing the world

Karl Marx Was Right: A Reading List

Karl Marx was right about the cruelty and irrationality of the capitalist system, and the economic and political crises inherent to its profit-above-all model.

Marx's writing has helped inspire revolutions, rebellions, and struggle all over the world; we could use a little bit of that inspiration now. We’ve put together this Marx and Marxism reading list to help that effort.

China Miéville's riveting engagement with the Communist Manifesto offers a lyrical introduction and a spirited defense of the modern world's most influential political document.

This beginners guide to Capital illustrates the key concepts, humour, and immense vitality to be enjoyed in Marx's great work. 

The authoritative introduction to history's most important political document, including the full text of the Manifesto. 

 A bracing, concise, and accessible overview of the entirety of Marx’s thought, by a major figure of twentieth-century Western Marxism.

An accessible, enlightening, and compelling introduction to Karl Marx's ideas, with an emphasis on their enduring relevance.

A comprehensive course in the contributions of key figures to the Marxist tradition. 

Eminent scholar-activist Neil Davidson’s brilliance is on full display in this posthumous work, a timely and prescient introduction to the neoliberal era.

This indispensable volume surveys revolutionary upheavals across the world between 1989 and 2019, drawing lessons for theorizing revolution today.

Renowned Marxist scholar Michael Löwy offers an indispensable assessment of an enduringly fascinating revolutionary.

A lively, accessible, and timely guide to Capitalism for those who want to understand and dismantle the world of the 1%.

Revolutions is a unique collection of rare photographs documenting some of the most important revolutionary upheavals, from the 1871 Paris Commune to the Zapatista rebellion of the 1990s, accompanied by commentary from leading Marxist historians.

This book surveys revolutionary socialist ideas and engages a gallery of contentious political thinkers, offering an indispensable assessment of the place of revolutionary collectives in this radical tradition.

In this important collection of debates at congresses of the Second International, Reform, Revolution, and Opportunism captures the International’s vibrancy and gives a snapshot of its strengths, weaknesses, and contradictions. 

Olivier Besancenot and Michael Löwy offer a deeply informed, and eminently enjoyable, imagined history of what might have been if Karl Marx and his eldest daughter, Jenny, had travelled to Paris during the heady weeks of the Commune in April 1871. 

Marx's early writings come alive in this important examination of their lasting relevance. 

Discusses the inner logic, coherence, and analytical power of Marx’s treatment of natural conditions, which has not been previously recognized. 

Lise Vogel revisits classical Marxian texts, tracking analyses of “the woman question” in socialist theory and drawing on central theoretical categories of Marx's Capital to open up an original theorization of gender and the social production and reproduction of material life. 

V.I. Lenin's influential text on the state, presented with a rigorous and accessible introduction. 

The two founding texts of the analysis of capitalism and imperialism in one volume, with annotation. 

Essays and speeches by German Marxist Clara Zetkin, long unavailable in the US, on women's equality, labor, peace, and socialism. 

Rosa Luxemburg's most important works: Reform or Revolution and The Mass Strike, presented with an authorative introduction.

A remarkable collection of essays illuminating Rosa Luxemburg's tremendous contributions to revolutionary struggle and enduring relevance. 

The collected pre-prison letters of Antonio Gramsci, one of the most brilliant and creative Marxist thinkers of the 20th century.

August Nimtz focuses on Lenin's approach to electoral politics and the institutions of bourgeois democracy, drawing on Bolshevik debates and Marx and Engels' own writings to show this to be a central feature of their revolutionary strategy. 

An expertly selected collection of articles on class, party, and revolution from one of the world’s most important socialist journals 

This volume offers a radical critique of techno-utopianism, instead seeing innovation as a field of ongoing class struggle.

The first English-language biography of one of Latin America’s most important, innovative, and enduringly relevant Marxist thinkers.

CLR James and Revolutionary Marxism collects some of the most important, but difficult to obtain, articles from the legendary Trinidadian-Marxist. 

A collection of all the resolutions adopted by Second International congresses during the movement's revolutionary Marxist period of 1889-1912.

A political portrait focused on Guevara’s thought and political record aimed at dispelling many of the myths about the revolutionary.

“Hal Draper may never had ‘professor' before his name but he was the greatest Marx scholar of modern times.”
—Mike Davis 

A study of the most influential English translations of the Communist Manifesto, including an original translation by the author: American socialist Hal Draper. 

A perfect introduction to one of the most influential figures in the fields of post-colonial studies, critical theory, and Marxism. 

Explores relevance of Marxism to emancipatory politics through critical examination of core concepts and key twentieth-century revolutionary figures and movements. 

Complete with a new introduction, Revolutionary Democracy argues that Marxism, including pre-revolution Bolshevism, has historically been firmly aligned with democracy.

Neil Davidson discusses how Marxism can retain a sense of historical tradition without becoming fossilized.

This collection of lively and insightful essays covers a wide range of topics and figures often neglected by the dominant trends in Marxist literature.

Enzo Traverso carefully reconstructs the intellectual debate surrounding the “Jewish Question” over a century of Marxist thought.

Marxism, to be truly relevant, must engage in constant critical encounter with contemporary ideas. Ted Stolze shows us how to Become Marxist. 

With this volume, Marxist scholars can finally compare Engels’s Volume III with Marx’s original manuscript and evaluate the differences.

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