“This type of historical awareness is a key reminder that we still live in a society deeply divided by class. The actions of the past stand as inspiring, yet unfinished movements to continue to build upon and to adapt to present conditions.” (Nicholas Lampert, Realising the Impossible).
With occupations and general strikes taking place around the world, what better time to read up on some ideas to help further the struggle. We can learn from those who have walked similar paths before us—their methods and tactics, successes and failures. And we can be inspired to push our actions further.
Here’s a few titles that we hope may be relevant:
For anarchist Lucy Parsons, a general strike and an occupation are synonyms.
Her amazing speech can be read here. Other of her talks elements resonate greatly with the present moment. Parsons discusses her experiences with the police and state murder of her husband, sadly relevant to recent police violence. Parsons talks about how U.S. residents drew inspiration from struggles around the world, another parallel to the present where protests around the world look to each other for ideas and motivation. Parsons also discusses gender divisions within movements of her day, issues which we still need to address today.
Rabble Rousers and Merry Pranksters captures some of the imagination, the audacity, the laughs and the wildness that animated many of the social movements of the sixties and seventies in Aoteaora/New Zealand. During this time, particularly from the late sixties to the early seventies, an astonishingly broad-based revolt occurred throughout the country. Thousands of workers, Maori, Pacific people, women, youth, lesbians, gays, students, environmentalists and others rebelled against authority. Innovative new styles and anarchistic methods of political dissent became popular.
7″ 5″, b&w photo-studded tour of the global justice movement’s many locales and leaderless actors, from a mostly London-based editorial collective that includes an editor of New Internationalist magazine. The book is divided into seven primer-like chapters-”Emergence,” “Networks,” “Autonomy,” “Carnival,” “Clandestinity,” “Power” and “Walking”-each with a headline-like subtitle (e.g., “Power: building it without taking it”). The book as a whole makes a case for “direct action,” or organized resistance to specific policies or decisions
Pacifism as Pathology was written as a response not only to Churchill’s frustration with his own activist experience, but also to a debate raging in the activist and academic communities. He argues that pacifism is in many ways counterrevolutionary; that it defends the status quo, rather than leading to social change. In these times of upheaval and global protest, this is a vital and extremely relevant book.
In Gathering Rage, writer, poet,and activist Margaret Randall describes how two of these revolutions, in Nicaragua and Cuba, addressed or failed to address a feminist agenda. Writing as both observer and participant, Randall vividly describes how in each case, to varying degrees and in different ways, women’s issues were gradually pushed aside. Combining anecdotes with analysis, she shows how distorted visions of liberation and shortcomings in practice left a legacy that not only shortchanged women but undermined the revolutionary project itself.
This new, authoritative introduction to Rosa Luxemburg’s two most important works presents the full text of Reform or Revolution and The Mass Strike, with explanatory notes, appendices, and introductions.
One of the most important Marxist thinkers and leaders of the twentieth century, Rosa Luxemburg is finding renewed interest among a new generation of activists and critics of global capitalism.
The bible of anarchism! This exhaustive volume, the first of two, seeks to provide answers for the curious and critical about anarchist theory, history, and practice. More a reference volume than a primer, An Anarchist FAQ eschews curt answers and engages with questions in a thorough, matter-of-fact style.
Having been an internet staple for over a decade, we are proud to offer this solicitously edited print version. AFAQ’s oversized and affordable format (topping out at over 700 pages) will ensure it a place on every shelf, where it will be referenced again and again.
Bringing to bear more than twenty years of experience as an environmental journalist, Kempf describes the invincibility that many of the world’s wealthy feel in the face of global warming, and how their unchecked privilege is thwarting action on the single most vexing problem facing our world.
In this important primer on the link between global ecology and the global economy, Kempf makes the following observations: First, that the planet’s ecological situation is growing ever worse, despite the efforts of millions of engaged citizens around the world. And second, despite environmentalists’ emphasis that “we’re all in the same boat,” the world’s economic elites—who continue to benefit by plundering the environment—have access to “lifeboats” that insulate them from the resulting catastrophes.
This Friday we will be ordering new books from AK Press (once they’re back from the Oakland General Strike!), so stay tuned for some new material over the next month or so. Also, Justseeds posters are back on the site for your viewing pleasure.