Anarchist Studies Network

A PSA Specialist Group for the Study of Anarchism.


ASN members secure £250k research grant from the ESRC. See here

Rowman & Littlefield Int publish two book series by ASN members Saul Newman and Ruth Kinna

Reading List: Anti-capitalism 101

or Teaching Anti-Capitalism

How do you communicate ideas, strategies, and methods employed in radical politics in order to invite cracks in the students’ expectations, understandings, and what they plan to do with their lives (i.e. “maybe you could reconsider being boss in some crappy company that destroys the environment, exploits it workers, etc…”)?

Suggestive reading list

*Silvia Federici (2004) Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body, and Primitive Accumulation **She writes: “He [Marx] assumed that the violence that had presided over the earliest phases of capitalist expansion would recede with the maturing of capitalist relations …. In this, he was deeply mistaken. A return of the most violent aspects of primitive accumulation has accompanied every phase of capitalist globalisation, including the present one … war and plunder on a world scale, and the degradation of women are necessary conditions for the existence of capitalism at all times” (pp. 12-13)

*Raoul Vaneigem (2001 [1967]) The Revolution of Everyday Life

*Notes from Nowhere, Eds. (2003) We Are Everywhere: The Irresistible Rise of Global Anti-capitalism.

*Marina Sitrin, Ed. (2006) Horizontalism: Voices of Popular Power in Argentina

*author x Conditions of the Working Class in London

*Simon Tormey (2004) Anti-Capitalism: A Beginner's Guide

*Tom Mertes, Ed (2004) A Movement of Movements: Is Another World Really Possible?

*Harry Cleaver (2000) 'Introduction' in Reading Capital Politically (pp23-80)

*Paolo Virno (2004) A Grammar of the Multitude [and perhaps just reading the section 'Ten Theses on the Multitude and Post-Fordist Capitalism' (pp97-111)?]

*'women workers and the politics of solidarity' **in Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity, by Chandra Talpade Mohanty. It's very readable and brings race/gender and more together with class analysis.

*Marcus Rediker "Villains of all Nations" **is a great collection of stories explicitly about anti-capitalist organising, - pirates are cool and can easily be likened to P2P pirates, maybe..

*Steven Johnson "Emergence: The Connected Lives of software, ants, brains etc..." **pop-sci that towards the end makes references to global social movements and anarchism-istic issues ..

*EP Thompson **The making of the English Working Class **Custom in Common

*Peter Linebaugh **The London Hanged

*Michael Perelman **Classical Political Economy - 1983-5-ish **The Invention of Capitalism: Classical Political Economy and the Hidden History of Primitive Accumulation (around 2000 - an updates version of CPE above) ***I found his style very readable, almost "non-academic" but/and hence definitely enlightening. In this particular book he uncovers the way in which the so-called "classical economists" actively supported the government policies that forced peasants violently into the factories - and hence contradicted the "laissez-faire" "liberal" theories they officially espoused. He examines letters and diaries of Adam Smith and others and some of their "private" writings are really quite shocking, definitely good discussion material for an undergraduate seminar!

*The Mondragon Experiment (video, 1980, 51 mins.; **outdated, but a pretty decent presentation of the idea of a democratic cooperative and its instantiation in a pretty successful example)

*Colin Ward, Anarchy In Action

*Colin Ward Anarchism: A Very Short Introduction **(wherein he speaks to the anti-authoritarian impulses that actually lead a lot of people to become small businessmen in the first place-- i.e., not wanting to have a "boss"!)

*Seymour Melman, "Industrial Efficiency Under Managerial Versus Cooperative Decision-Making," **in _Review of Radical Political Economics_ (Spring 1970)

*Melman, Decision-Making and Productivity (1958)

*Stephen A. Marglin, "What Do Bosses Do?" (Review of Radical Political Economics, Summer 1974)

*Other stuff on self-management: Dwight Rayton, "Shop Floor Democracy In Action"?

*Bill Watson, "Counter-Planning on the Shop Floor" **(

*Possibly studies of the use of consensus decision-making in more recent worker-management enterprises . . .

*Plus, I think, some ethical consciousness-raising about the price one pays when one signs one's loyalty away to a profit-driven institution would be in order:

*The Corporation_ (video, 2003, 145 mins.)

*The Global Assembly Line_ (video, 1985, 58 mins.;) **shows what life is like in "export zones," maquiladoras; shows violent police suppression of strikes, etc.)

*Global Village or Global Pillage: How People Around the World Are Challenging Corporate Globalization (video, 2000, 30 mins.;) **haven't seen it, but recommended, and the book it's based on is very good)

*Giorgio Agamben The State of Exception **particular pp. 11-22, which is a "footnote" titled "A Bried HIstory of the State of Exception" that presents the development of "democracy" with references to treaties, revolutions, fascism - the footnote together with the wikipedia entry: might stimulate interest

*Richard Stallman's pieces/manifestos

*John Perry Barlow's declaration of cyberspace independence, just to get a discussion about hackers, patents, aids and kartels

*Drahos and Braithwaite Information Feudalism: Who owns the knowledge economy **of which the corner house has a shorter version - an convincingly huge amount of empirical evidence of foul play is presented (1000+ interviews with ppl involved in TRIPs):

*Richard Schlatter's Private Property: The HIstory of an Idea **there is an interesting bit where he notes the changing and different perception of private property in relations to slavery - the slave owners of the south arguing that capitalism is slavery, since they take the property of the wage slave, i.e. the profit of their labour