Top 25 Anarchist/Socialist Best Selling Books

Peter Kropotkin

The Conquest of Bread item image #1is Kropotkin’s most extensive study of human needs and his outline of the most rational and equitable means of satisfying them. The most important and widely read exposition of anarchist economic theory, its combination of detailed historical analysis and far-reaching utopian vision is a step-by-step guide to social revolution: the concrete means of achieving it, and the new world that humanity is capable of creating. Writing in a style that he describes as “moderate in tone, but revolutionary in substance,” Kropotkin adeptly translates complex ideas into common language, while rendering the often amorphous aspirations of social movements into coherent form. – AK Press

https://ia601408.us.archive.org/13/items/Top25AnarchistSocialistBestSellingBooks/2redo.pngMutual Aid: A Factor in Evolution in which Kropotkin argues the principles of sociability and cooperation are the foundations upon which a free and ethical society are to be built, are found first in the natural world, where they function as principles of evolutionary survival among animal species. There is an implicit positivism here, in which political and social phenomena are seen as conditioned by natural principles and scientifically observable conditions. Here I think one should reject this view of a social order founded on deep rational principles.

In the words of Stirner, ‘The essence of the world, so attractive and splendid, is for him who looks to the bottom of it – emptiness.’ In other words, rather than there being a rational objectivity at the foundation of society, an immanent wholeness embodying the potential for human freedom, there is a certain void or emptiness, one that produces radical contingency and indeterminacy rather than scientific objectivity. – Saul Newman

Emma Goldman

https://ia601408.us.archive.org/13/items/Top25AnarchistSocialistBestSellingBooks/3redo.pngAnarchism and Other Essays from Anarchist and feminist Emma Goldman is one of the towering figures in global radicalism of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. An early advocate of birth control and women’s rights, as well as a dedicated anarchist, she was an important and influential figure in such far-flung events as the Russian Revolution and the Spanish Civil War. In addition to her classic essay which lays out anarchist ideals, this volume contains six other essays on prisons to marriage, direct action, violence, and sexuality. – AK Press

item image #21Living My Life by Anarchist, journalist, drama critic, advocate of birth control and free love, Emma Goldman was the most famous—and notorious—woman in the early twentieth century. This abridged version of her two-volume autobiography takes her from her birthplace in czarist Russia to the socialist enclaves of Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Against a dramatic backdrop of political argument, show trials, imprisonment, and tempestuous romances, Goldman chronicles the epoch that she helped shape: the reform movements of the Progressive Era, the early years of and later disillusionment with Lenin’s Bolshevik experiment, and more.

Sounding a call still heard today, Living My Life is a riveting account of political ferment and ideological turbulence.

– Penguin Classics

Noam Chomskyitem image #21

On Anarchism in which Chomsky eloquently refutes the notion of anarchism as a fixed idea, suggesting that it is part of a living, evolving tradition, and he disputes the traditional fault lines between anarchism and socialism, emphasizing the power of collective, rather than individualist, action. – The New Press

item image #22Global Discontents: Conversations on the Rising Threats to Democracy in which over the course of 12 interviews, Chomsky examines the latest developments around the globe: the rise of ISIS, the reach of state surveillance, growing anger over economic inequality, conflicts in the Middle East, and the presidency of Donald Trump. In personal reflections on his Philadelphia childhood, Chomsky also describes his own intellectual journey and the development of his uncompromising stance as America’s premier dissident intellectual. – AK Press

James C. Scott

https://ia601408.us.archive.org/13/items/Top25AnarchistSocialistBestSellingBooks/7redo.pngTwo Cheers for Anarchism: Six Easy Pieces on Autonomy, Dignity, and Meaningful Work and Play teaches us what’s wrong with seeing like a state. Now, in his most accessible and personal book to date, the acclaimed social scientist makes the case for seeing like an anarchist. Inspired by the core anarchist faith in the possibilities of voluntary cooperation without hierarchy, Two Cheers for Anarchism is an engaging, high-spirited, and often very funny defense of an anarchist way of seeing–one that provides a unique and powerful perspective on everything from everyday social and political interactions to mass protests and revolutions.

Through a wide-ranging series of memorable anecdotes and examples, the book describes an anarchist sensibility that celebrates the local knowledge, common sense, and creativity of ordinary people. The result is a kind of handbook on constructive anarchism that challenges us to radically reconsider the value of hierarchy in public and private life, from schools and workplaces to retirement homes and government itself.

– AK Press

item image #38The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia is an interesting read if anthropology-readers are used to embarrassment regarding the gaze on tribal peoples, then here is a license to guilt-free gawking: These weren’t tribals but rather freedom-seeking secessionists from the lowlands. There were no real ethnic others, the book suggests. Instead, linguistic and cultural diversity and the profusion of ethnic labels are just markers of state-evading strategies. In my view this is all rather problematic, in that clueless western readers (people ignorant of, say, particular histories, cultures, societies, languages, peoples, or politics in Southeast Asia) are invited to feast on the identities and politics of the Southeast Asian hinterlands without any involvement. – Hjorleifur Jonsson

Peter Marshall

https://ia601408.us.archive.org/13/items/Top25AnarchistSocialistBestSellingBooks/9redo.pngWilliam Godwin: Philosopher, Novelist, Revolutionary is a comprehensive study of this flamboyant and fascinating figure based on extensive published and unpublished materials. The picture of Godwin that emerges is one of a complex man and a subtle and revolutionary thinker. In the final analysis, Godwin stands forth not only as a rare example of a man who excelled in both philosophy and literature but as one of the great humanists in the Western tradition.

https://ia601408.us.archive.org/13/items/Top25AnarchistSocialistBestSellingBooks/10redo.pngDemanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism navigates the broad “river of anarchy,” from Taoism to Situationism, from Ranters to Punk rockers, from individualists to communists, from anarcho-syndicalists to anarcha-feminists, Demanding the Impossible is an authoritative and lively study of a widely misunderstood subject. It explores the key anarchist concepts of society and the state, freedom and equality, authority and power and investigates the successes and failure of the anarchist movements throughout the world.

While remaining sympathetic to anarchism, it presents a balanced and critical account. It covers not only the classic anarchist thinkers, such as Godwin, Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Reclus and Emma Goldman, but also other libertarian figures, such as Nietzsche, Camus, Gandhi, Foucault and Chomsky. No other book on anarchism covers so much so incisively. – AK Press

https://ia601408.us.archive.org/13/items/Top25AnarchistSocialistBestSellingBooks/11redo.pngAnarcho-Syndicalism: Theory and Practice by Rudolf Rocker

In 1937, at the behest of Emma Goldman, Rocker penned this political and philosophical masterpiece as an introduction to the ideals fueling the Spanish social revolution and resistance to capitalism the world over. Within, Rocker offers an introduction to anarchist ideas, a history of the international workers’ movement, and an outline of the syndicalist strategies and tactics embraced at the time (direct action, sabotage and the general strike). Includes a lengthy introduction by Nicholas Walter and a Preface by Noam Chomsky.

item image #4No Logo: No Space, No Choice, No Jobs by Naomi Klein

In the last decade, No Logo has become a cultural manifesto for the critics of unfettered capitalism worldwide. As the world faces a second economic depression, No Logo’s analysis of our corporate and branded world is as timely and powerful as ever.

Equal parts cultural analysis, political manifesto, mall-rat memoir, and journalistic exposé, No Logo is the first book to put the new resistance into pop-historical and clear economic perspective. It tells a story of rebellion and self-determination in the face of our new branded world.

Tiqqun

https://ia601408.us.archive.org/13/items/Top25AnarchistSocialistBestSellingBooks/13redo.pngIntroduction to Civil War is a strong anti-humanist position on the concept of Man and the related notion of identity. As they write: ‘Ultimately, our age is fanatical about the question of MAN’. Related to this is what they call the ‘desire for a positive anthropology’ which, in their view, leads to an ‘irenic, slightly vacuous and gently pious conception of human nature’. For Tiqqun, the comforting sense of this positive anthropology – even in its most pessimistic forms – leads to political and subjective stasis, with all that we can say about Man and the coexistence of men acting as a ‘tranquilizer’.

What is needed, in their view, is a ‘radically negative anthropology’ that eschews a sense of comfort, with ‘a few abstractions that are just empty enough, just transparent enough to prevent our usual prejudices’. One of these abstractions is the concept of ‘Civil War’: a tactical reappropriation that emphasises both the ‘free play of forms-of-life’ as the ethical principle of the coexistence of singularities, and the idea that ‘in each singular play between forms-of-life, the possibility of a fierce confrontation – the possibility of violence – can never be discounted’. As they highlight, in today’s biopolitical climate, this ‘society has forged a negative concept of violence in order to reject anything within it that might still carry a certain intensity or charge’, intensity being, for Tiqqun (and many others) a highly important concept for the politics of emancipation. Civil War, then, is a tactical act of reappropriation because to think it in this way is to think of it as a foundational and singular ethical consideration–as with Alain Badiou, for Tiqqun, it seems there is no ethics in general, only singular ethics of situation Contra the modern State (or Empire), which employs the term to ‘better control the masses of those who will give anything to avert it’, the sense in which Tiqqun uses the term Civil War then is to highlight the notion that ‘all differences among forms-of-life are ethical differences’.

https://ia601408.us.archive.org/13/items/Top25AnarchistSocialistBestSellingBooks/25redo.pngTo Our Friends – In 2007 we published The Coming Insurrection in France. It must be acknowledged that a number of assertions by the Invisible Committee have since been confirmed, starting with the first and most essential: the sensational return of the insurrectionary phenomenon. Who would have bet a kopeck, seven years ago, on the overthrow of Ben Ali or Mubarak through street action, on the revolt of young people in Quebec, on the political awakening of Brazil, on the fires set French-style in the English or Swedish banlieues, on the creation of an insurrectionary commune in the very heart of Istanbul, on a movement of plaza occupations in the United States, or on the rebellion that spread throughout Greece in December of 2008?

During the seven years that separate The Coming Insurrection from To Our Friends, the agents of the Invisible Committee have continued to fight, to organize, to transport themselves to the four corners of the world, to wherever the fires were lit, and to debate with comrades of every tendency and every country. Thus To Our Friends is written at the experiential level, in connection with that general movement. Its words issue from the turmoil and are addressed to those who still believe sufficiently in life to fight as a consequence.

To Our Friends is a report on the state of the world and of the movement, a piece of writing that’s essentially strategic and openly partisan. Its political ambition is immodest: to produce a shared understanding of the epoch, in spite of the extreme confusion of the present.

– The Invisible Committee

item image #7Markets Not Capitalism: Individualist Anarchism Against Bosses, Inequality, Corporate Power, and Structural Poverty by Gary Chartier

A new collection of left-wing pro-market, anticapitalist anarchist writings. Individualist anarchists believe in mutual exchange, not economic privilege. They believe in freed markets, not capitalism. They defend a distinctive response to the challenges of ending global capitalism and achieving social justice: eliminate the political privileges that prop up capitalists.

Massive concentrations of wealth, rigid economic hierarchies, and unsustainable modes of production are not the results of the market form, but of markets deformed and rigged by a network of state-secured controls and privileges to the business class. Markets Not Capitalism explores the gap between radically freed markets and the capitalist-controlled markets that prevail today. It explains how liberating market exchange from state capitalist privilege can abolish structural poverty, help working people take control over the conditions of their labor, and redistribute wealth and social power. Featuring discussions of socialism, capitalism, markets, ownership, labor struggle, grassroots privatization, intellectual property, health care, racism, sexism, and environmental issues, this unique collection brings together classic essays by leading figures in the anarchist tradition, including Proudhon and Voltairine de Cleyre, and such contemporary innovators as Kevin Carson and Roderick Long. It introduces an eye-opening approach to radical social thought, rooted equally in libertarian socialism and market anarchism.

– AK Press

item image #8Queering Anarchism: Addressing and Undressing Power and Desire by Deric Shannon

What does it mean to “queer” the world around us? How does the radical refusal of the mainstream codification of GLBT identity as a new gender norm come into focus in the context of anarchist theory and practice? How do our notions of orientation inform our politics—and vice versa?

Queering Anarchism brings together a diverse set of writings, ranging from the deeply theoretical to the playfully personal, that explore the possibilities of the concept of “queering,” turning the dominant, and largely heteronormative, structures of belief and identity entirely inside out.

Ranging in topic from the economy to disability, politics, social structures, sexual practice, interpersonal relationships, and beyond, the authors here suggest that queering might be more than a set of personal preferences—pointing toward the possibility of an entirely new way of viewing the world.

– AK Press

item image #9Property Is Theft! by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

More influential than Karl Marx during his lifetime, Pierre-Joseph Proudon’s work has long been out of print or unavailable in English. Weighing in at over 700 pages, Iain McKay’s comprehensive collection is a much-needed and timely historical corrective, and includes a number of new translations of Proudhon’s work for an English-speaking audience, as well as an exhaustive historical introduction to Proudhon’s life and works.

item image #10No Wall They Can Build: A Guide to Borders and Immigration Across North America by CrimethInc

Why do people cross the border without documents? How do they make the journey? Whose interests does the border serve and what has it done to North America?

Every year, thousands of people risk their lives to cross the desert between Mexico and the United States. Drawing on nearly a decade of solidarity work along the border, this book uncovers the true goals and costs of US border policy and what to do about it.

https://ia601408.us.archive.org/13/items/Top25AnarchistSocialistBestSellingBooks/19redoredo.pngBlack Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism by Lucien van der Walt

Black Flame (Counter-Power, Volume 1) is the first of a two-volume set examining the democratic class politics of the worldwide anarchist movement, its vision of a decentralized planned economy, and its impact on popular struggles on five continents over the course of the past 150 years. From anarchism’s first glimmers as a nineteenth-century ideology to today’s anticapitalist struggles, Black Flame traces anarchism’s lineage and contemporary relevance, outlining the movement’s insights into questions of race, gender, class, and imperialism.

With Black Flame, Michael Schmidt and Lucien van der Walt, both writers and activists in South Africa, have begun what promises to be the definitive synthetic account of the international anarchist tradition. Nearly exhaustive in scope, and rigorous in its scholarly detail, this first volume significantly reframes the work of previous historians and, especially, examines coherent alternatives to Marxist and nationalist approaches to revolutionary theory and practice. An indispensable conceptual roadmap to the history and continuing relevance of anarchist praxis.

https://ia601408.us.archive.org/13/items/Top25AnarchistSocialistBestSellingBooks/19originalredo.pngThe Ecology of Freedom: The Emergence and Dissolution of Hierarchy by Murray Bookchin

If we examine, for instance, Bookchin’s idea of municipalism as the basis for a new politics of citizenship and democratic decision making, we find many interesting and appealing ideas for libertarian institutions and practices, including forms of council democracy and decentralisation. However, there is little acknowledgement of the possibility of new forms of power and exclusion emerging with such institutions.

For instance, the category of citizenship, which often perpetuates such pervasive practices of exclusion and securitisation, is never really questioned or deconstructed in his account. Instead, we are presented with an image of the political structure of a rational ecological society of the future. As part of this confederalist vision, Bookchin invokes as examples of an ‘authentic politics’ models of political participation from Athenian democracy and New England town meetings, as well as the Arendtian and Aristotelian motifs of the properly political life.

While an anarchist politics can certainly draw upon the democratic forms and practices of the past, the problem lies more in the way that this confederalist vision of Bookchin’s is imagined as part of a dialectical totality of social and political interdependencies that unfolds towards its own selfrealisation.

This confederalist model is thus confirmed as the only political form a liberated society can take. However, if we are to understand anarchism not only as a way of thinking about future forms of a free society, but also as an anarchic disturbance of all political forms, then we would have to insist on a certain constitutive openness and a space of contestation and disagreement. – Saul Newman

https://ia601408.us.archive.org/13/items/Top25AnarchistSocialistBestSellingBooks/20redo.pngPossibilities: Essays on Hierarchy, Rebellion, and Desire by David Graeber

In this collection, David Graeber revisits questions raised in his popular book, Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology. Employing an unpretentious style to convey complex ideas, these twelve essays cover a lot of ground: the origins of capitalism, the history of European table manners, love potions and gender in rural Madagascar, the phenomenology of giant puppets at street protests, and much more. But they’re linked by a clear purpose: to explore the nature of social power and the forms that resistance to it have taken—or might take in the future.

In the best anthropological tradition, Graeber uses rich ethnographic and historical detail to support and illuminate broad insights into human nature and society. In the process, he shows how scholarly concerns can be of use to radical social movements, and how the perspectives of such movements shed new light on debates within the academy.

– AK Press

item image #14Black Flags and Windmills: Hope, Anarchy, and the Common Ground Collective by Scott Crow

Tracing a life of radical activism and the emergence of a grassroots organization in the face of disaster, this chronicle describes Scott Crow’s headlong rush into the political storm surrounding the catastrophic failure of the levee in New Orleans in 2005 and the subsequent failure of state and local government agencies in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

It recounts crow’s efforts with others in the community to found Common Ground Collective, a grassroots relief organization that built medical clinics, set up food and water distribution, and created community gardens when local government agencies, FEMA, and the Red Cross were absent or ineffective. The members also stood alongside the beleaguered residents of New Orleans in resisting home demolitions, white militias, police brutality, and FEMA incompetence. This vivid, personal account maps the intersection of radical ideology with pragmatic action and chronicles a community’s efforts to translate ideals into tangible results. Resisting indifference, rebuilding hope amidst collapse, and independence from government entities emerge as persistent themes in this call to activism, demonstrating what can be done by determined individuals in extreme circumstances.

https://ia601408.us.archive.org/13/items/Top25AnarchistSocialistBestSellingBooks/22redo.pngThe Anarchist Roots of Geography: Toward Spatial Emancipation by Simon Springer

The Anarchist Roots of Geography sets the stage for a radical politics of possibility and freedom through a discussion of the insurrectionary geographies that suffuse our daily experiences. By embracing anarchist geographies as kaleidoscopic spatialities that allow for nonhierarchical connections between autonomous entities, Simon Springer configures a new political imagination.

Experimentation in and through space is the story of humanity’s place on the planet, and the stasis and control that now supersede ongoing organizing experiments are an affront to our survival. Singular ontological modes that favor one particular way of doing things disavow geography by failing to understand the spatial as a mutable assemblage intimately bound to temporality. Even worse, such stagnant ideas often align to the parochial interests of an elite minority and thereby threaten to be our collective undoing. What is needed is the development of new relationships with our world and, crucially, with each other.

By infusing our geographies with anarchism we unleash a spirit of rebellion that foregoes a politics of waiting for change to come at the behest of elected leaders and instead engages new possibilities of mutual aid through direct action now. We can no longer accept the decaying, archaic geographies of hierarchy that chain us to statism, capitalism, gender domination, racial oppression, and imperialism. We must reorient geographical thinking towards anarchist horizons of possibility. Geography must become beautiful, wherein the entirety of its embrace is aligned to emancipation.

– AK Press

https://ia601408.us.archive.org/13/items/Top25AnarchistSocialistBestSellingBooks/23redo.pngJoyful Militancy: Building Thriving Resistance in Toxic Times by Carla Bergman

Why do radical movements and spaces sometimes feel laden with fear, anxiety, suspicion, self-righteousness, and competition? Montgomery and bergman call this phenomenon rigid radicalism: congealed and toxic ways of relating that have seeped into social movements, posing as the “correct” way of being radical. In conversation with organizers and intellectuals from a wide variety of political currents, the authors explore how rigid radicalism smuggles itself into radical spaces, and how it is being undone. – AK Press

item image #17Gramsci is Dead: Anarchist Currents in the Newest Social Movements by Richard J. F. Day

Gramsci and the concept of hegemony cast a long shadow over radical political theory. Yet how far has this theory got us? Is it still central to feminism, anti-capitalism, anti-racism, anarchism, and other radical social movements today?

Unlike previous revolutionary movements, Day argues, most contemporary radical social movements do not strive to take control of the state. Instead, they attempt to develop new forms of self-organisation that can run in parallel with — or as alternatives to — existing forms of social, political, and economic organization. This is to say that they follow a logic of affinity rather than one of hegemony.

This book draws together a variety of different strands in political theory to weave together an innovative new approach to politics today. Rigorous and wide-ranging, Day introduces and interrogates key concepts. From Hegel’s concept of recognition, through theories of hegemony and affinity to Hardt and Negri’s reflections on Empire, Day maps academia’s theoretical and philosophical concerns onto today’s politics of the street.

Ideal for all students of political theory, Day’s fresh approach combines Marxist, Anarchist and Post-structuralist theory to shed new light on the politics and practice of contemporary social movements.

– Pluto Books

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