This page is a gateway to resources about socialism, socialist history, and socialist ideas, compiled by Connexions. You’ll find some articles and books, as well as a handful of quotes, which provide an introduction to various aspects of Socialism. The Connexions website has many more articles and books on Socialism and related topics in addition to the ones shown below. You can find them using the Subject and Author indexes, or the Search engine.
The Subject Index is a good tool for finding articles and books about various aspects of Socialism. Here are some of the most relevant Subject Index pages:
Selected Articles & Books
There are many, many different views and interpretations of socialism. Here is a small selection of resources.
What is Socialism? Overviews and History
The Two Souls of Socialism: Socialism from Above vs. Socialism from Below Hal Draper traces the historical evolution of the socialist idea. He identifies two sharply different conceptions of socialism: one which seeks to impose a just society from above; the other which holds that socialism can only result from struggles 'from below', that is, by people working together to liberate themselves. Marx’s greatest contribution, says Draper, was to unite the idea of democracy with the idea of socialism, insisting that there could be no democracy without socialism, and no socialism without democracy.
The Principle of Self-Emancipation in Marx and Engels For Marx and Engels, there was a direct relationship between the revolutionary (literally subversive) nature of their socialism and the principle of emancipation-from-below.
What is Socialism? It seems that, no matter how many times we are told that socialism doesn’t work or that we’re all too selfish to pull it off, the dream persists. So what exactly is it all about, and what’s the key to its enduring appeal? Louise O’Shea gives her view.
Democracy Against Capitalism (book) Ellen Meiksins Wood provides an explication and defense of the key theoretical concepts relevant to socialism, understood to be the most radical social and economic democracy.
The History of Democracy: A Marxist Interpretation (book) Brian S. Roper traces the history of democracy from ancient Athens to the emergence of liberal representative and socialist participatory democracy. He argues that democracy cannot be understood separately from the social and economic contexts in which democratic states operate.
Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution: Volume IV: Critique of Other Socialisms (book) Much of Karl Marx’s most important work came out of his critique of other thinkers, including many socialists who differed significantly in their conceptions of socialism. Hal Draper looks at these critiques to illuminate what Marx’s socialism was, as well as what it was not.
Back to Marx Ellen Meiksins Wood argues that this historical moment, the one we’re living in now, is the best not the worst, the most not the least appropriate moment to bring back Marx. She says that this is the moment when Marx should and can come fully into his own for the first time – not excluding the historical moment when he actually lived.
The Case for Socialism A series of articles by Pham Binh making the case for socialism.
How to Change Everything A discussion, by Alyssa Battisoni, of Naomi Klein's book This Changes Everything, a vital book whose limitations, says Battisoni, should spark discussion about where we go from here.
Manifestos, Political Statements, Programs, Visions A selection of radical and progressive political manifestos, statements, programs and visions dating from 1649 to the present
Yes, There is an Alternative! A review of Marx’s Concept of the Alternative to Capitalism A review of Peter Hudis’ book Marx’s Concept of the Alternative to Capitalism
Another world is possible if... (book) Susan George suggests that we can create a new and better world -- if we act together to bring about changes. She discusses the ifs and hows.
An Anti-Capitalist Manifesto (book) Alex Callinicos unfolds an extended argument about what the anti-capitalist movement should stand for.
Build It Now: Socialism for the Twenty-First Century (book) Michael Lebowitz re-imagines a socialism for the twenty-first century that places workers and popular communities at the centre of the project.
The Case for Socialism (book) Alan Maass presents an argument for socialism: a society built from the bottom up through the struggles of ordinary people against exploitation, oppression, and injustice – one in which people come before profit. A society based on the principles of equality, democracy, and freedom.
Marx’s Concept of the Alternative to Capitalism (book) In contrast to the traditional view that Marx’s work is restricted to a critique of capitalism – and that he consciously avoided any detailed conception of its alternative – this work by Peter Hudis shows that Marx was committed to a specific concept of a post-capitalist society which informed the whole of his approach to political economy.
Real Utopia (book) Real Utopia identifies and discusses how to eliminate the barriers to an egalitarian, bottom-up society, and outlines how to build it.
Why Marx Was Right (book) Terry Eagleton takes common objections to Marxism and demonstrates how and why they are wrong.
Resisting Capitalism and Oppression – and Working for Socialism
Fictitious Capital and the Transition Out of Capitalism Loren Goldner offers an analysis of the current state of capitalism, and a sketch of a program for change.
I Am a Woman and a Human: A Marxist-Feminist Critique of Intersectionality Theory Eve Mitchell looks at the history of identity politics and intersectionality theory in effort to construct a Marxist critique of intersectionality theory, and offer positive Marxist conception of feminism.
Let’s Stop Kidding Ourselves About the NDP Ulli Diemer calls on socialists to give up their illusions about social-democratic party like the NDP (Canada’s New Democratic Party).
Marx on Democratic Forms of Government Marx’s socialism (communism) as a political programme may be most quickly defined as the complete democratization of society, not merely of political forms, says Hal Draper. For Marx, the fight for democracy was a leading edge of the socialist effort; an integral part of it all.
Organizing Resources: The Connexions Organizing page Change requires organizing. Power gives way only when it is challenged by a movement for change, and movements grow out of organizing. Organizing is qualitatively different from simple ‘activism’. Organizing means sustained long-term conscious effort to bring people together to work for common goals.
Other Voices: The Connexions Newsletter UOther Voices is a digest of new and archival content from the Connexions website and other progressive websites. Regular features include a digest of new articles, news about grassroots archives and people’s history internationally, website of the week, book of the week, film of the week, and other news and resources.
Reform and Revolution Rosa Luxemburg's challenge to the reformism that was undermining the socialist movement. “It is contrary to history,” she writes, “to represent work for reforms as a long-drawn out revolution and revolution as a condensed series of reforms. A social transformation and a legislative reform do not differ according to their duration but according to their content.”
Regroupment & Refoundation of a U.S. Left Perspectives for socialist renewal in the 21st century.
Beyond the Fragments (book) A call for various fractions of the left to unite and work for a socialism through grass-roots activism.
The Joy of Revolution (book) Ken Knabb says “What is needed, I believe, is a worldwide participatory-democracy revolution that would abolish both capitalism and the state.”
We CAN Change the World: The Real Meaning Of Everyday Life (book) David Stratman says that the key to changing the world lies in a different view of ordinary people.
Fictitious Capital for Beginners: Imperialism, “Anti-Imperialism”, and the Continuing Relevance of Rosa Luxemburg Rosa Luxemburg’s framework, writes Loren Goldner, enabled her to see how capitalism could ultimately destroy society ... a prophecy we see materializing before our eyes today.
For a Workers Recovery Plan - The Causes and Cures of a New Great DepressionEconomics is now not just for the experts. If anything is clear from the panic that started in mid-September, 2008, it is that workers must understand the economy. For clearly the ‘experts’ have no idea what they are doing.
Socialism and Ecology
Labor in the Age of Climate ChangeClimate change must be stopped. But who will do the stopping? Who, in other words, could be the political subject of an anticapitalist climate revolution? Stefania Barca argues that this social agent could be, and indeed must be, the global working class. Yet to play this role, the working class must develop an emancipatory ecological class consciousness.
Marxism as if the planet mattered Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels held that capitalism inevitably tears apart the natural conditions that sustain life. They argued capitalism’s exploitation of working people, and the unsustainable exploitation of nature, were linked and part of the same process.
Marxism and Ecology: Common Fonts of a Great Transition Socialist thought, says John Bellamy Foster, is re-emerging at the forefront of the movement for global ecological and social change.
The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of the World? We live in and from nature, but the way we have evolved of doing this is about to destroy us. Capitalism and its by-products -- imperialism, war, neoliberal globalization, racism, poverty, and the destruction of community – are all playing a part in the destruction of our ecosystem.
Land & Labour: Marxism, Ecology and Human History (book) Explores humanity’s contradictory relationship with the environment: our role in destroying nature, and our potential to for positive change. For a discussion of the book, see this review.
This page was compiled by Ulli Diemer for Connexions.
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