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Contemporary Capitalism: A Reading List

A reading list of books about the politics, economy, and ideology of contemporary capitalism, as well as 21st century modes of resistance to the system. All of these books are currently 30% Off.

"Highly informed, lively and readable, this is a badly needed study of the giant high tech corporations that increasingly dominate the means of work and social interaction, amass and scrutinize the details of our lives, seek to shape attitudes and behavior, and like the great virtual monopolies of the past both rely on state power and heavily influence it. Beyond exposing the nature of this awesome and threatening system, Larson goes on to outline how it can, and should, be brought under popular control. A most valuable contribution to understanding and guide to action." —Noam Chomsky 

If the 20th Century was the American Century, it was also UPS's Century. Joe Allen's The Package King tells the story of how UPS became the very symbol of American capitalism—the largest, private sector, unionized employer in the United States—and the cost paid by its workers and surrounding communities.

These ten essays provide a comprehensive introduction and overview of the theory of global capitalism and its application to a wide range of contemporary issues.

In this stirring and insightful analysis, activist and scholar Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor surveys the historical and contemporary ravages of racism and persistence of structural inequality such as mass incarceration and Black unemployment. In this context, she argues that this new struggle against police violence holds the potential to reignite a broader push for Black liberation.

Activist, teacher, author and icon of the Black Power movement Angela Davis talks Ferguson, Palestine, and prison abolition.

Organized alphabetically as a lexicon, Keywords explores the hidden histories, unexpected coinages, and common usage of major terms in the everyday language of capitalism.

In this collection of essays from 1969 to 2013, many in book form for the first time, Noam Chomsky examines the nature of state power, from the ideologies driving the Cold War to the War on Terror, and reintroduces the moral and legal questions that all too often go unheeded.

On New Terrain challenges conventional wisdom about a disappearing working class and the inevitability of a two-party political structure as the only framework for struggle. Through in-depth study of the economic and political shifts at the top of society, Kim Moody shows how recent developments in capitalist production impact the working class and its power to resist the status quo.

Neoliberalism's War on Higher Education reveals how neoliberal policies, practices, and modes of material and symbolic violence have radically reshaped the mission and practice of higher education, short-changing a generation of young people.

Leo Panitch, Sam Gindin, and Stephen Maher provide a newly updated and expanded primer for twenty-first century democratic socialists. The Socialist Challenge Today presents an essential historical, theoretical, and critical perspective for understanding the potential as well as the limits of three important recent phenomena: the Sanders electoral insurgency in the United States; the Syriza experience in Greece; and Corbyn's leadership of the Labour Party in the United Kingdom. 

Susan Buck-Morss highlights new forms of international solidarity and revolutionary subjectivity that can break the impasse of neoliberal capitalism and reactionary nationalism.

An original and compelling analysis of how a newly emboldened and radicalizing right has come to global political ascendance in the years after 9/11, culminating in the victories of Trump and Brexit.

Building Global Labor Solidarity in a Time of Accelerating Globalization is a call for international solidarity to resist the assaults on labor’s power. This collection of essays by international labor activists and academics examines models of worker solidarity, different forms of labor organizations, and those models’ and organizations’ relationships to social movements and civil society.

This pathbreaking book offers a radical analysis of how people play, produce, and profit from video games, and the major role the industry plays in contemporary capitalism.

For as long as there have been rich nations and poor nations, debt has been a powerful force for maintaining the unequal relations between them. Treated as sacrosanct, immutable, and eternally binding, it has become the yoke of choice for imperial powers in the post-colonial world to enforce their dominance over the global south. In this ground-breaking history, renowned economist Éric Toussaint argues for a radical reversal of this balance of accounts through the repudiation of sovereign debt.

An introductory guide to the neo-liberal ideology of the global 1%. Perfect for those of us without economics degrees.

From the election from hell to the future according to Donald Trump, A Nation Unmade by War surveys American exceptionalism in the age of absurdity.

In China, capitalist development since the 1980s has given rise to an enormous new industrial working class. In the vast export-processing zones along China’s southeastern coast, countless so-called “migrant workers” or “peasant workers” from interior provinces eke out a living in innumerable factories. Through thirty-five years of struggle, they have gradually established a foothold as part of China’s new industrial working class.

The Class Strikes Back examines case studies of twenty-first-century workers’ struggles from both the Global North and South, highlighting the stories of workers fighting to organize and join democratic and independent unions.

In this updated and expanded edition of Invisible Leviathan, Murray E.G. Smith critically explores and makes significant contributions to the debate surrounding Karl Marx's 'capitalist law of value' and its corollary, the law of the falling rate of profit. A powerful case is presented that capitalism has exhausted its potential to contribute to human progress. 

This radical and innovative volume develops a Marxist understanding of the symbiosis between law and capital in our society.

A persuasive and thorough response to those fashionable social theorists who challenge both the explanatory and emancipatory power of ‘class.’

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