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BOOKS ON ANARCHISM

No Gods No Masters: An Anthology of Anarchism---" The first English translation of Guerin's monumental anthology of anarchism, published here in one volume. It details a vast array of unpublished documents, letters, debates, manifestos, reports, impassioned calls-to-arms and reasoned analysis; the history, organization and practice of the movement-its theorists, advocates and activists; the great names and the obscure, towering legends and unsung heroes. This definitive anthology portrays anarchism as a sophisticated ideology whose nuances and complexities highlight the natural desire for freedom in all of us. The classical texts will re-establish anarchism as both an intellectual and practical force to be reckoned with. Includes writings by Emma Goldman, Kropotkin, Berkman, Bakunin, Prouhon, and Malatesta."

Chomsky on Anarchism --- "We all know what Noam Chomsky is against. His scathing analysis of everything that's wrong with our society reaches more and more people every day. His brilliant critiques of-among other things-capitalism, imperialism, domestic repression and government propaganda have become mini-publishing industries unto themselves. But, in this flood of publishing and republishing, very little ever gets said about what exactly Chomsky stands for, his own personal politics, his vision of the future. Not, that is, until Chomsky on Anarchism, a groundbreaking new book that shows a different side of this best-selling author: the anarchist principles that have guided him since he was a teenager. This collection of Chomsky's essays and inter-views includes numerous pieces that have never been published before, as well as rare material that first saw the light of day in hard-to-find pamphlets and anarchist periodicals. Taken together, they paint a fresh picture of Chomsky, showing his lifelong involvement with the anarchist community, his constant commitment to nonhierarchical models of political organization and his hopes for a future world without rulers. For anyone who's been touched by Chomsky's trenchant analysis of our current situation, as well as anyone looking for an intelligent and coherent discussion of anarchism itself, Chomsky on Anarchism will be one of this season's most exciting and surprising reads."

Anarchism and Other Essays ---"This title is the classic collection of Emma Goldman essays which were originally published in 1910. Emma Goldman is widely known as the first major female radical and became the female face of leftist politics in the early 20th century. Anarchism and Other Essays should be read by anyone interested in early works on women's rights or the origins of leftist female politics."

The Spanish Anarchists: The Heroic Years 1868-1936---Bookchin covers the exponential growth of the anarchist movement in Spain from it's beginnings in 1868, to the outbreak of the country's civil war in 1936.

Anarchists In The Spanish Revolution --An account of the social revolution that was carried out in both the Spanish Cities and the country side in the midst of the civil war which lasted from 1936-1939. The author lived through the era as a member of the most influential anarchist trade union of the time.

Anarchism: A Collection of Revolutionary Writings "Important writings by the leading theorist of anarchism, including the brief but moving "Spirit of Revolt," "Law and Authority," an argument for social control through custom and education; "Prisons and Their Moral Influence on Prisoners," an unparalleled description of the evils of the prison system, and other documents. An invaluable addition to the libraries of instructors, students, and anyone interested in history, government, and anarchist thought."

Bakunin: Statism and Anarchy (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought)---"Statism and Anarchy is a complete English translation of the last work by the great Russian anarchist Michael Bakunin. It was written in 1873, in the aftermath of the rise of the German Empire and the clash between Bakunin and Karl Marx in the first International. Bakunin assesses the strength of a European state system dominated by Bismarck. Then, in the most remarkable part of the book, he assails the Marxist alternative, predicting that a "dictatorship of the proletariat" will in fact be a dictatorship over the proletariat, and will produce a new class of socialist rulers. Instead, he outlines his vision of an anarchist society and identifies the social forces he believes will achieve an ananarchist revolution. Statism and Anarchy had an immediate influence on the "to the people" movement of Russian populism, and Bakunin's ideas inspired other anarchist movements. This is the only complete and reliable rendition of Statism and Anarchy in English, and in a lucid introduction Marshall Shatz locates Bakunin in his immediate historical and intellectual context, and assesses the impact of his ideas on the wider development of European radical thought. A guide to further reading and a chronology of events are appended as aids to students encountering Bakunin's thought for the first time."

Proudhon: What is Property? (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought) ---This is a new translation of one of the classics of the traditions of anarchism and socialism. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was a contemporary of Marx and one of the most acute, influential, and subversive critics of modern French and European society. What is Property? (1840) has become a classic of political thought through its wide-ranging and deep-reaching critique of private property as at once the essential institution of Western culture and the root cause of greed, corruption, political tyranny, social division, and violation of natural law.

Vision on Fire: Emma Goldman on the Spanish Revolution--This carefully chosen collection features the most important writings from the turbulent last four years of Emma Goldman's life. This incredible follow-up her popular autobiography, Living My Life, reveals her struggles with the contradictions of the Spanish Revolution and her efforts to maintain integrity and vision in the heat of political activism."

Anarchist Voices: An Oral History of Anarchism in America (Unabridged)--"The 180 interviewees in this oral history (mostly anarchists, but also their friends, associates and relatives) represent diverse political tendencies-individualists, collectivists, pacifists, revolutionaries. What unites them is an optimistic faith that people will live in harmony once the impositions of government disappear. The respondents give firsthand recollections of Emma Goldman, Rudolf Rocker, Sacco and Vanzetti and other key anarchists; describe their experiences in libertarian schools and colonies; and offer trenchant observations on the dangers of authoritarian communism, bureaucracy and entrenched institutions. Among those interviewed are self-proclaimed "philosophical anarchist" Roger Baldwin, founder of the American Civil Liberties Union; Daniel Guerin, historian of the U.S. labor movement; Alexandra Kropotkin, English-born daughter of Russian anarchist Peter Kropotkin; Albert Boni, publisher of "Modern Library" classics and a socialist; and Dwight Macdonald, who launched the journal Politics in 1944. Avrich (The Haymarket Tragedy) profiles a movement that continues to exercise an appeal with its calls for self-determination, direct grass-roots action and voluntary cooperation."

The Russian Anarchists--"In the turmoil of the Russian insurrection of 1905 and civil war of 1917, the anarchists attempted to carry out their program of "direct action"-workers' control of production, the creation of free rural and urban communes, and partisan warfare against the enemies of a free society. Avrich consulted published material in five languages and anarchist archives worldwide to present a picture of the philosophers, bomb throwers, peasants, and soldiers who fought and died for the freedom of "Mother Russia." Including the influence and ideas of Bakunin and Kropotkin, the armed uprisings of Makhno, the activities of Volin, Maximoff, and the attempted aid of Berkman and Emma Goldman"

Anarcho-Syndicalism: Theory and Practice (Working Classics)--"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 strategies and tactics embraced at the time (direct action, sabotage and the general strike). New introduction by Mike Davis, with a Preface by Noam Chomsky."

FEW DECENT MARXIST BOOKS

Marx for Beginners--Rius through cartoons explains the core ideas of "Marxism" in an easy to read and simple way, yet doesn't lose any of their subtelty. Great read for a beginner, or anyone really. The cartoons are very humorous! It's a welcome break from dry philosophical analysis.

The Communist Manifesto: A Road Map to History's Most Important Political Document --The best version of the Manifesto out there. It's fully annotated, with lots of historical facts and trivia for everybody. Related essays are also included.

The Marx-Engels Reader--Huge selection of Marx and Engel's most relevant and influential works and letters.

Workers' Councils--"Contemporaries across the spectrum of Left thought, from Antonio Negri to Noam Chomsky, are falling over each other to claim the mantle of Left Communism. Left Communism is the theory and practice of worker control and self-organization whose adherents provided the main opposition to the Bolsheviks. Rarely printed, often cited, Pannekoek's Workers' Councils is the Das Kapital of Left Communism. This updated edition includes a substantial introduction from Noam Chomsky, illuminating the continuing relevance of this classic text."

OTHER BOOKS

Subterranean Fire: A History of Working-Class Radicalism in the United States--- Sharon Smith belongs to the International Socialist Organization (Trotskyist). But whether or not you subscribe to her ideology or not, this is an inspiring, exciting overview of the history of the labor movement in the United States. While I was a little disapointed in the absence of a personal hero of mine--Emma Goldman--in the book, don't let that hold you bac from getting this. Good read.

People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present (P.S.)---"According to this classic of revisionist American history, narratives of national unity and progress are a smoke screen disguising the ceaseless conflict between elites and the masses whom they oppress and exploit. Historian Zinn sides with the latter group in chronicling Indians' struggle against Europeans, blacks' struggle against racism, women's struggle against patriarchy, and workers' struggle against capitalists. First published in 1980, the volume sums up decades of post-war scholarship into a definitive statement of leftist, multicultural, anti-imperialist historiography. This edition updates that project with new chapters on the Clinton and Bush presidencies, which deplore Clinton's pro-business agenda, celebrate the 1999 Seattle anti-globalization protests and apologize for previous editions' slighting of the struggles of Latinos and gays. Zinn's work is an vital corrective to triumphalist accounts, but his uncompromising radicalism shades, at times, into cynicism. Zinn views the Bill of Rights, universal suffrage, affirmative action and collective bargaining not as fundamental (albeit imperfect) extensions of freedom, but as tactical concessions by monied elites to defuse and contain more revolutionary impulses; voting, in fact, is but the most insidious of the "controls." It's too bad that Zinn dismisses two centuries of talk about "patriotism, democracy, national interest" as mere "slogans" and "pretense," because the history he recounts is in large part the effort of downtrodden people to claim these ideals for their own."

Wobblies!: A Graphic History of the Industrial Workers of the World--"Imagine being a workers' rights activist at the time of the Industrial Revolution. As shown in Wobblies!: A Graphic History of the Industrial Workers of the World, you had to have resolve as steely as anything produced on the factory floor. It's slightly ironic, then, to have these heroic, life-and-death tales of class warfare captured in the ephemeral medium of a comic book. Created as a collaboration between historians and graphic novelists, it is an engaging, informative, and sometimes uneven look at a time of violent social upheaval. The editors of this collection assume that their readers are at least somewhat familiar with the history of the Wobblies--this is not a children's primer. Many entries are similar, filled with pedantic text, but two in particular are superb, harnessing the potential power of the graphic novel form to great emotional effect. "Strike! (Lawrence 1912)," by Seth Tobocman, tells of ruling-class cruelty against striking workers with a ghostly grace born from its wood-cut graphical style. Nicole Schulman's "Mourn Not the Dead" strikes the right balance between storytelling and artistry, bringing the terrible reality of the Cook County Prison--where Wobblies died from mistreatment behind bars--to unforgettable reality. These entries alone fulfill the promise of a book that seeks to make the often overlooked history of the Wobblies relevant again."

The COINTELPRO Papers: Documents from the FBI's Secret Wars Against Dissent in the United States (South End Press Classics Series)---"Readers anxious about civil liberties under George W. Bush will find fodder for fears-and suggestions for activism-in The COINTELPRO Papers. Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall's expose of America's political police force, the FBI, reveals the steel fist undergirding "compassionate conservatism's" velvet glove. Using original FBI memos, the authors provide extensive analysis of the agency's treatment of the left, from the Communist Party in the 1950s to the Central America solidarity movement in the 1980s. The authors' new introduction posits likely trajectories for domestic repression."

Homage to Catalonia (Harvest Book)---"Most war correspondents observe wars and then tell stories about the battles, the soldiers and the civilians. George Orwell--novelist, journalist, sometime socialist--actually traded his press pass for a uniform and fought against Franco's Fascists in the Spanish Civil War during 1936 and 1937. He put his politics and his formidable conscience to the toughest tests during those days in the trenches in the Catalan section of Spain. Then, after nearly getting killed, he went back to England and wrote a gripping account of his experiences, as well as a complex analysis of the political machinations that led to the defeat of the socialist Republicans and the victory of the Fascists."

The Zapatista Reader---"Collecting essays, interviews, articles and letters that center on a Latin American guerilla revolution and its hero, Subcomandante Marcos, this anthology is an excellent resource for anyone interested in the movement born in 1983 as the National Zapatista Liberation Army. As Hayden, a California state senator and the author of Irish on the Inside, writes in his introduction, largely because of Marcos, there is "a diary, a poetry, an intellectual account" of the struggles of southern Mexico's indigenous communities to preserve their lands and their rights. Hayden's thoughtful volume is divided into three sections: eyewitness accounts of the movement's most spectacular display (on Jan. 1, 1994, 3,000 Zapatistas took control of six large towns and hundreds of smaller ranches in response to the implementation of NAFTA); the poetic writings of Marcos; and a series of essays by political and intellectual leaders reflecting on the Zapatistas. Since the 1994 uprising, skirmishes between the Mexican government and the Zapatistas have continued lives are lost and lands are stolen, returned and stolen again but the U.S. media reports little of these affairs. This neglect has encouraged Latin American and European journalists and writers to step forward, their imaginations caught up with what many consider to be one of the last revolutions of and for the people. Jos‚ Saramago, Gabriel Garcˇa M rquez, Octavio Paz and Eduardo Galeano all weigh in on the insurgency and its mysterious and charismatic leader; it is these essays, along with Marcos's letters and speeches, that make this collection a worthy addition to the canon of Latin and South American literature as well as a valuable historical text."

FILMS

Reds (25th Anniversary Edition) [HD DVD] ---"Warren Beatty's lengthy 1981 drama about American Communist John Reed and his relationships with both the Russian Revolution and a writer named Louise Bryant (Diane Keaton) is a compelling piece of little-known history told in a uniquely personal way. Beatty plays Reed as he did the title gangster in Bugsy and Senator in Bulworth, as a visionary likely to die before anyone fully recognizes the progressiveness of the vision, including those who are supposed to be on the same page. Jack Nicholson has an interesting part as fellow intellectual Eugene O'Neill, and the late author Jerzy Kosinski--himself a refugee from then-Soviet-controlled Poland--makes a strong impression as Reed's problematic Russian liaison."

Matewan --- "A little-known chapter of American labor history is brought vividly to life in this period drama from writer-director John Sayles. It's a fictional story about labor wars among West Virginia coal miners during the 1920's, but every detail is so right that the film has the unmistakable ring of truth. The tension begins when the Stone Mountain Coal Company of Matewan, West Virginia, announces a lower pay rate for miners, who respond by calling a strike under the leadership of a United Mine Workers representative (Chris Cooper). Proving strength in numbers, the miners are joined by black and Italian miners who initially resist the strike, and a fateful battle ensues when detectives hired by the coal company attempt to evict miners from company housing. Violence erupts in a sequence of astonishing, cathartic intensity, and Matewan achieves a rare degree of moral complexity combined with gut-wrenching tragedy. The film salutes a pacifist ideal while recognizing that personal and political convictions often must be defended with violence. To illustrate this point, Sayles enlisted master cinematographer Haskell Wexler, who creates the film's authentic visual texture--a triumph of artistry over limited resources. The result is a milestone of independent filmmaking, and Matewan remains one of Sayles's finest achievements."

Harlan County, U.S.A. - Criterion Collection ---"A man crouches and pokes at what first appears to be a wad of chewed-up pink bubble gum on the ground. "That's what a scab will do to ya, by God," he says, his voice quavering with emotion. The pink wad is brain tissue from a striker shot in the head by a strikebreaker. That's one of the harsh realities of Harlan County USA. Barbara Kopple's documentary camera looks at this forgotten corner of 1970s America, the site of some of the bitterest labor violence in American history. It's hard to believe that some 40 years after the Depression, there were parts of Appalachia that were hardly better off than they were in the 1930s. The care-worn faces of the miners and their families speak volumes. They're the tough, proud faces of people struggling to make a living the way that their parents and grandparents did in generations past. Kopple skillfully weaves archival footage and traditional labor songs through the film to give a historical perspective to the strike against Eastover Mining Company. Above and beyond the labor issues, the film takes a hard look at the living conditions, health issues, and poverty faced by Harlan's residents, the human toll that goes along with the mining industry. The tense confrontations between Eastover's slimy security goons and the unionizers are particularly gripping, with the threat of violence hanging thick in the air. Sometimes ugly, always absorbing, this is an important, enlightening social record, one that serves the highest calling of the documentary filmmaker's art."

The Wobblies---""Solidarity! All for One and One for All!" With that slogan, the Industrial Workers of the World, aka the Wobblies, took to organizing unskilled workers into one big union and changing the course of history. Along the way to winning an eight-hour workday and fair wages in the early 20th century, the Wobblies were one of the few unions to be racially and sexually integrated and often met with imprisonment, violence, and the privations of prolonged strikes. This award-winning film airs a provocative look at the forgotten American history of this most radical of unions, screening the unforgettable and still-fiery voices of Wobbly members--lumberjacks, migratory workers, and silk weavers--in their 70s, 80s, and 90s. Eerily echoing current times, THE WOBBLIES boldly investigates a nation torn by naked corporate greed and the red-hot rift between the industrial masters and the rabble-rousing workers in the field and factory. Replete with gorgeous archival footage, the film pays tribute to American workers who took the ideals of equality and free speech seriously enough to die for them. Directed by Stewart Bird and Deborah Shaffer, THE WOBBLIES is a rare and challenging invitation to rethink both past and present through the eyes of an organization largely omitted from memory."

The Corporation---"An epic in length and breadth, this documentary aims at nothing less than a full-scale portrait of the most dominant institution on the planet Earth in our lifetime--a phenomenon all the more remarkable, if not downright frightening, when you consider that the corporation as we know it has been around for only about 150 years. It used to be that corporations were, by definition, short-lived and finite in agenda. If a town needed a bridge built, a corporation was set up to finance and complete the project; when the bridge was an accomplished fact, the corporation ceased to be. Then came the 19th-century robber barons, and the courts were prevailed upon to define corporations not as get-the-job-done mechanisms but as persons under the 14th Amendment with full civil rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (i.e., power and profit)--ad infinitum. The Corporation defines this endlessly mutating life-form in exhaustive detail, measuring the many ways it has not only come to dominate but to deform our reality. The movie performs a running psychoanalysis of this entity with the characteristics of a prototypical psychopath: a callous unconcern for the feelings and safety of others, an incapacity to experience guilt, an ingrained habit of lying for profit, etc. We are swept away on a demented odyssey through an altered cosmos, in which artificial chemicals are created for profit and incidentally contribute to a cancer epidemic; in which the folks who brought us Agent Orange devise a milk-increasing drug for a world in which there is already a glut of milk; in which an American computer company leased its systems to the Nazis--and serviced them on a monthly basis--so that the Holocaust could go forward as an orderly process. The movie goes on too long, circles too many points obsessively and redundantly, and risks preaching-to-the-choir reductiveness by calling on the usual talking-head suspects--Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Michael Moore. And except for an endlessly receding tracking shot in an infinite patents archive, there's scarcely an image worth recalling. Still, it maps the new reality. This is our world--welcome to it."

Manufacturing Consent - Noam Chomsky and the Media---"Peter Wintonick and Mark Achbar made this penetrating documentary about the career and views of linguist and media critic Noam Chomsky. While the man is the subject of the movie, the filmmakers wisely and carefully choose not to make Chomsky more important than his insights into the way print and electronic journalism tacitly and often willingly further the agendas of the powerful. We learn a lot about Chomsky's formative experiences as a child, student, academic, activist, and politician (he has campaigned for office), but we learn just as much about the media institutions that deny him access today, from ABC to PBS. The centerpiece of the film, arguably, is a long examination into the history of the New York Times' coverage of Indonesia's atrocity-ridden occupation of East Timor, reportage that (as Chomsky shows us) was absolutely in lock step with the government's unwillingness to criticize an ally."

Anarchism in America---"Two fascinating documentaries on one disc! In the first, Anarchism in America, the filmmakers take a road trip to map anarchism as a distinctly American tradition, interviewing a diverse cast of characters: from "ordinary" truckers and farmers to famous anarchists like Kenneth Rexroth and Ursula LeGuin. The second, The Free Voice of Labor, traces the history of the Yiddish anarchist newspaper of that name-publishing it's final issue after 87 years-as told by it's now elderly, but decidedly unbowed staff."

Norma Rae---"In an Oscar-winning performance, Sally Field is unforgettable as Norma Rae, the Southern millworker who revolutionizes a small town and discovers a power in herself she never had. Under the guidance of a New York unionizer (Ron Leibman) and with increasing courage and determination, Norma Rae organizes her fellow factory workers to fight for better conditions and wages. Based on a true story, Norma Rae is the mesmerizing tale of a modern day heroine. Beau Bridges co-stars."

A Place Called Chiapas---"A trip into the perilous state of Chiapas in southern Mexico is taken in this documentary, which focuses on the Zapatista National Liberation Army and its mysterious leader, Subcomandante Marcos. The narration notes that The New York Times has referred to the struggle of the Zapatistas as the "world's first postmodern revolution," and there is a remarkably surreal air at times. At one point Subcomandante Marcos is filmed while posing for the French fashion magazine Marie Claire, yet there can be no denying that the residents he champions are extremely poor. The interviews with farmers who fear they will be murdered by government troops are moving, and a press conference in which tape recordings of death threats are played is disturbing. The film's director, Nettie Wild, has a definite point of view and notes stoically that a memo from American bankers may have inspired the violence directed against the local rebels by the Mexican government. The background of the rebellion in Chiapas is told concisely with most of the film consisting of atmospheric footage showing life in the troubled and violent region. The film crew was itself threatened by right-wing paramilitary death squads, and the paranoia that is an asset in such an environment is tensely translated via filmed encounters with government troops."

The Molly Maguires---"An expensive box-office flop when released in 1970, The Molly Maguires can now be appreciated as a compelling drama with potent political undertones. The talent involved is first-rate all the way: In addition to the volatile teaming of Sean Connery and Richard Harris on opposite sides of a Pennsylvania miners' war, director Martin Ritt and screenwriter Walter Bernstein were at the height of their Hollywood powers, determined to give viewers a visceral, grittily authentic drama about the exploitation of Irish immigrant miners in the centennial America of 1876. Connery's secret gang, the Molly Maguires, retaliates by destroying mines and equipment; Harris infiltrates the group as an informer hired by the coal-company owners, leading to his inevitable crisis of conscience. Pub brawls and manly action give the film its meat-and-potatoes appeal, and discerning viewers will appreciate the story's careful pacing and moral ambiguity; ironically, those qualities were blamed for the film's commercial failure."