Activist Librarian/Library Activist
Contact Me
Site Under Construction... more to come!
Favorite Links

Arguing for socialism: a bibliography

by Mark C. Rosenzweig

A descriptive note from the author:

The idea of this bibliography is to provide a reading list for younger people, literate but not necessarily erudite, leaning in an anarcho-road-to-disillusion direction, just to give life to the idea of the most general, coherent alternative to capitalism: socialism in one form or another. It's not meant to show how many different types of socialism there are, or be a "Socialism and..." type of thing (e.g. "Socialism and American Art" or "Socialism and Anarchism") but just meant to reestablish, revitalize a little, the belief that there can be an alternative to capitalism which is not just 'do your own thing and if we meet at a demo that's great.'

Some of these writings are only available through libraries, some at your B&N or thru Powell's. None of it is "scholarly" but all of it is more than merely preachy. It's an arbitrary selection, but it was made to avoid presentations of socialism meant to promote a particular brand-name (e.g. Trotskyism or Communism) as the only or best or genuine socialism. None are canonical texts yet some are clasics, some brilliant; some are just effective, some aproach it from an interesting angle. It's a small way of contributing to the idea of creating a broad left with a range of shared beliefs and plenty of room to debate something which is feasible and worth working for.

Writings on the wall: a radical and socialist anthology 1215-1984 Benn, Tony ed. 318p Faber & Faber

A thousand years of campaigning for justice, freedom, equality, in an anthology of writings, speeches, songs. A book to "Provide hope and courage and, above all, the certainty that we are not alone."(T.Benn)

Marxism & Democracy Aptheker, Herbert, ed. Monograph Series Number One 113p 1965 American Institute for Marxist Studies/ Humanities Press, New York

"How can the rights of the individual be protected..." . First in a series of dialogues held between Marxist and non-Marxist thinkers. Symposium held in NYC Apr. 23rd 1964

Essays on Socialism Patsouras, Louis and Thomas, Jack Roy 409p 1992 Mellen Research University Press, San Francisco

A little-known, recent anthology of essays on ideas and figures in the many kinds of socialist tendencies -- utopian, anarchist, Marxian, ethical, parliamentary, extra-parliamentary. Includes contributions on Christianity and socialism, on Socialism and class, on socialist unity in practice and even on anti-socialist thought. A useful text

For socialism Landauer, Gustav (translated by David J. Parenrt) 150p 1978 Telos Press

A presentation of decentralized, libertarian socialism and a critique of social-democratic orthodoxies by a martyred revolutionary of the failed uprising in Bavaria in 1919.

How to commit revolution, American style: an anthology [Bicentennial Declaration] Rifkin, Jeremy and Rossen, John 1973 Lyle Stuart, Inc. Secaucus, New Jersey

Reflections on the living significance of the American revolutionary tradition, origially written in the Bicentennial Year.

Socialism and the limits of liberalism Osborne, Peter ,.ed 1991 Verso London

11 essays show that while appearing more besieged than ever before, socialism's classical critique of liberal ideas still maintains its vitality and can fruitfully inform a number of practical perspectives, Rights, equality, difference, history, feminism, ecology, identity -- all from a vigorous yet critical socialist point of view. Authors include: T. Furmiss, A, Arblaster, R. Blackburn, J. Berstein, R. Norman, Anne Phillips, M. Rustin, P. Osborne, Gayatri Spivak, T. Benton, Kate Soper

Socialism on the threshold of the Twenty-first century/Cavtat Conference Nikolic, Milos ed. 311p 1985 Verso NY/London

10th Round Table of the "Socialism in the World" international conference, held shortly before the fate of socialism was to experience a sea change of monumental proportions, shows the relative independence of the socialist project from the fate of the USSR and the Eastern Bloc. The thread will be picked up again and re-woven in a tapestry which will be a testimony to the indomitable will of peoples for peace, justice, security, equity, beauty, and human development and mutual appreciation and assistance.

Socialism unbound Bronner, Stephen Eric 241p 1990 Routledge London

Especially see last chapter, p 146-187. 'Prolegomena to a Theory of Socialism.'

The Intelligent woman's guide to socialism, capitalism, sovietism & fascism Shaw, Bernard 524p First published 1928/Definitve text 1965 Penguin Books Ltd London

A brilliant, political tour , urbane and full of wit and dialectic, which ends with a powerful presentation of the socialist faith, based on the overwhelming idea that economic inequality perverts and distorts every aspect of modern life.

Socialism for students Cohen, Joseph E. 153p 1909

Charles H, Kerr & Company Chicago

Essays reprinted from the turn-of -the-century International Socialist Review with some insightful , compelling yet accessible arguments and felicitous formulations of ideas.Includes as an appendix a very useful reading list with unusual items supplementing each chapter.

Thinkers and Treasurers Dunham, Barrows Monthly Review Pamphlet Series -- no. 15 47p Monthly Review Press New York

Socialism explicated in the relation between two types, the Thinkers and the Treasurers: need they be in conflict? Written by a philosopher entangled in the great congressional witch-hunt.

Socialism in the nuclear age Eaton, John 191p 1961 International Publishers/Lawrence & Wishart New York/London

A Britsh economist makes a case for the union of science and humanism in the struggle for socialism. Written from a Marxist point of view but relatively jargon -free.

Why socialism? Einstein, Albert Monthly Review Pamphlet No. 1 10p 1958 Monthly Review Press New York

A landmark statement in defense of the necessity of socialism by the greatest scientist of the twentieth century. Voted 'Man of the Century' by Time magazine..Reprinted as pamphlet in 1958. Originally appeared in Volume One , Number One of "Monthly Review: an independent socialist magazine"

Triumph of the market: essays on economics, politics and the media Herman, Edward S. 276 1995 South End Press

A compilation of Wharton School, Professor Emeritus of Finance Edward Herman's writings, displaying in detail the effects of the hard-sell of market ideology on human welfare, analyzing and debunking, with incisiveness and wit, the myths of the neutrality of the 'science of 'economics', a highly politicized discipline, in rationalizing the literal rape of the earth and humanity by its drive towards global corporatization.

The truth about socialism Huberman, Leo 153p 1950 Lear Publishers New York

An ABC of Socialism, an introduction and a sketch, by the author's own admission. An over-looked book by a highly regarded author it is actually much more than he modestly proclaims and is a wonderful tool in the socialist's toolbox for counter-education about capitalism and socialism.

Marxism in the United States: history before the Russian Revolution Johnson, Oakley (1976-1919) American Institute for Marxist Studies Series no. 9 196p 1974 Humanities Press New York

While dealing with the narrower question of the origins of specifically Marxian socialism, it is nonetheless an illuminating account of the relevance of socialism to the USA and its first exponents in its Marxian form. Explores early roots of systematic socialist thought, organization and practice in the USA.

Helen Keller: Her socialist years Keller, Helen Foner, Philip S ed, 128p 1967 International Publishers New York

"Helen Keller is blind, deaf and dumb, yet in her blindness she sees oppression, in her deafness she hears the cry of outraged humanity, in her speechlessness she voices the demand for justice ." (Frederick Upham Adams, Cleveland Press 1911)

Red hunting in the promised land Kovel, Joel 331p 1994 Basic Books

A depth psycho-history of mass irrational hostilty to left political radicalism in America, which shows "red-hunting" to be deeply ingrained in what Kovel calls 'America's civil religion.' and in some of the deeper structures of Western civilization.

Freedom is as Freedom Does Lamont, Corliss 327p 1990 Continuum/Ungar

The relation between the fight for the right to argue and organize for socialism and fundamental change to the defense of the Bill of Rights and the expansion of the sphere of intellectual freedom and other civil liberties, by a veteran of the ACLU, the National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee and an honorary President of the American Humanist Association.. Forward by Bertrand Russell

Jack London/American rebel London, Jack Foner, Philip S. ed. 553p 1947 Citadel Press

A collection of his social writings. Powerful. Extensive biographical introduction by P. S, Foner

Philosophy of world revolution [translation of "Philosophie von Weltrevolutionen,Beitrag zu einer Anthologie der Revolutionstheorien". /Wien 1966) Marek, Franz 138p 1969 Lawrence & Wishart Ltd London 1969

An intelligent , informed, critical, relatively independent Communist contribution into issues in revolutionary theory, with erudite but accessible discussion of issues in the matter of the international character of revolutionary processes.Not non-sectarian, but little known today and worth noting as peculiarly valuable in questioning the general issue of 'historical inevitability' once a mainstay of marxian thought. (trans. Daphne Smith)

Socialism or barbarism: from the "American Century" to the crossroads

Meszaros, Istvan 126p 2001 Monthly Review Press NY

Detailed analysis of development of US global power shows how supremacy has come at the cost of exhausting the universalizing pretensions of capitalism. Capitalist globalism poses greater threats to humanity than ever before.

Socialism for a skeptical age Miliband, Ralph 211p 1994 Verso NY/London

Masterful defense of socialism by the late Ralph Miliband against all the developments in recent years which have called into question the idea of the possibility, the necessity and the desirability of socialism as well as refuting all the traditional arguments about human nature and political power. A political testament which still, even as his last work, asks the hard questions and does not settle for easy answers.

Political writings of William Morris Morris, William Morton, A.L. ed. 245p 1973 International Publishers

William Morris (1834-1894), poet, novelist, essayist, artist, craftsman. For Morris socialism embraced the whole of human life and was not just an economic or political system. Intro. by A.L. Morton

The making of a radical: a political autobiography Nearing, Scott 308p 1972 Harper Colophon Books

The autobiography of the forging of an independent American socialist. Includes a complete bibliography of this prolific writer.

A Scott Nearing reader Nearing, Scott Sherman, Steve, ed 301 1989 Scarecrow Press, Inc Metuchen, NJ

Socialism and the good life, Yankee style. Passionate, independent-minded, intelligent, common sense. Brilliant at times. Forward by Helen Nearing

The Economics of Feasible Socialism Nove, Alec 244p 1983

George Allen &Unwin

The possibility of an efficient and humane socialism, feasible in our lifetime, made by a socialist economist without any Marxian assumptions.

Dreams Schreiner, Olive 163p 1939 Little, Brown & Co, Boston

A highly unusual, sensitive poetic argument for socialism, the liberation of women, and, through that, the liberation of humanity. A feminist icon and socialist pioneer.

Socialisn and the New Life: The personal and sexual politics of Edward Carpenter and Havelock Ellis Rowbotham, Sheila/Weeks,Jeffrey 198p 1977 Pluto Press Ltd. Southhampton UK

Exploring nineteenth century British socialism's principal figures establishing the interconnection between personal and sexual life and radical social reform through two figures who made the dream of a New Life part of the promise of socialist social change.

Myth of the market: promises and illusions Seabrook, Jeremy 189p 1991 Black Rose Books

The forced feeding of market values is disintegrating the West and devastating the Third World, in the latter case also eliminating the last vestiges of the last living signs that the market is not a 'natural 'phenomenon. An argument against the dictatorship of the market, the basis for any effective program based on for the possibility and necessity of socialism and of the need for a Red-Green alliance.

Has socialism failed? Slovo, Joe Umsebenzi Discussion Pamphlet 28p 1990 South African Communist Party

Probing, ruthlessly honest, controversial evaluation of the significance of the collapse of the Soviet Union, by the late Chairman of the South African Communist Party. An argument for he possibility of a wiser, more just, more humane post-Soviet communism and an analysis of the fall of 'actually-existing socialism.'

Socialism Sweezy, Paul M. Harris, Seymour H., series editor Ecocnomcs Handbook Series 276p 1949 McGraw-Hill New York

A remarkable and little-known textbook, which is both suitable in style for an introductory undergraduate course and well-argued and comprehensive enough to answer the most sophisticated needs

"What is read and what should be" Szabo, Ervin Litvan, Gyorgy \Bak, Janos M. ed. in Socialism and Social Science: Selected writings of Ervin Szabo 198-201 1911 trans. Routledge & Kegan Paul

A librarian socialist on libraries and socialism.

Arguments for a new left: answering the free-market right
Wainwright, Hilary 325p 1993 Blackwell Oxford, UK

"As disillusion sets in with the free-market right ...Hilary Wainwright retrieves and develps what was best in the thinking and practice of the new left." ,,,"[T]ransformative political agency as self-consciously experimental and involving a combination of representative and participatory forms of democracy." [from the book jacket]

The soul of man under socialism Wilde, Oscar. 2001 paperback Penguin USA.

Born in Ireland, he died in exile in Paris after being imprisoned for homosexuality in England. Wilde (1854-1900) wrote a novel, many short stories and poems, volumes of criticism and, of course, plays. His vision of socialism in the suggested essay, with its abhorrence of inequality, suffering, shabbiness, meaningless labor and violence, envisions a future in which people can dream freely and create and enjoy beauty while an imagined automated industry takes care of the soul-crushing labor which is the burden of the majority of mankind.

Socialist Reasoning: An inquiry into the political philosophy of scientific socialism Collier, Andrew. 184p. Pluto Press 1990

A British philosopher examines the coherence and significance of the idea of politics involved in making the case for socialism from the concrete analysis (science) of capitalist society, arguing for the continued relevance in this framework of 'the Big Words of political philosophy, like 'liberty', 'justice', 'rights'...". Written with refreshing verve and clarity, it ably explicates its theses in an almost conversational tone, with modesty and humor.


A Program for International Progressive Librarianship

Mark Rosenzweig

1) we shall work towards an international agenda as the basis of common action of librarians everywhere actively committed, as librarians, to social justice, equality, human welfare, and the development of cultural democracy.

2) we will unite librarians and information workers in opposition to the marketization of public goods, to privatization of social resources and to outsourcing of services and will oppose international treaties and institutions which advance destructive neo-liberal policies.

3)we insist upon the equality of access to and inclusiveness of information services, especially extending such services to the poor, marginalized and discriminated against, including the active solidarity-based provision of information assistance to these groups and their advocates in their struggles.

4) we shall encourage the exploration of alternative models of human services; promote and disseminate critical analysis of information technology's impact on libraries and societies; and support the fundamental democratization of existing institutions of education, culture, communications.

5) we shall undertake joint, interdisciplinary research into fundamental library issues (e.g. into the political economy of information in the age of neo-liberalism and corporate globalization) in order to lay the basis for effective action in our spheres of work.

6) we will support cooperative collection, organization and preservation of the documents of people's struggles and the making available of alternative materials representing a wide range of progressive viewpoints often excluded as resources from the debates of our times.

7) we will investigate and organize efforts to make the library-as-workplace more democratic and encourage resistance to the managerialism of the present library culture.

8) we will lead in promoting international solidarity among librarians and cooperation between libraries across borders on the basis of our joint commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and related covenants which create a democratic framework for constructive cooperative endeavours.

9) we will organize in common with other cultural and educational progressives, to help put issues of social responsibility on the agendas of international bodies such as IFLA and UNESCO.

10) We shall oppose corporate globalization which, despite its claims, reinforces existing social, economic, cultural inequalities, and insist on a democratic globalism and internationalism which respects and cultivates cultural plurality, which recognizes the sovereignty of peoples, which acknowledges the obligations of society to the individual and communities, and which prioritizes human values and needs over profits.