Revolutionary Keywords for a New Left

Here is the further reading, with web-links from Revolutionary Keywords for a New Left.

These further readings, with web-link suggestions to complement them, do not map one-to-one onto the keywords in this book. And some of these readings illustrate some problems with these debates rather than neat ways to resolve them. What is most important now in these texts is to explore further how the different ideas link with each other, and so many of these references span the different debates around each of the keywords.

Achcar, G. (2006) The Clash of Barbarisms: The Making of the New World Disorder. Boulder: Paradigm Publishers; London: Saqi. This detailed analysis of the so-called ‘war on terror’ shows how Western intervention constituted the Islamic fundamentalist organisations as both enemy and partner of imperialism to destroy the left. An interview with Gilbert Achcar about the themes in the book after the Paris massacre is here:

Ahmed, S. (2010) The Promise of Happiness. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press. This book includes the classic essay ‘Feminist Killjoys’ by Sara Ahmed, a motif taken up by many other feminists as a critique of all the various forms of enjoyment that buttress power and violence against women. See also Ahmed’s essay ‘Walls of Whiteness’ here:

Anievas, A. and Nisancioglu, K. (2015) How the West Came to Rule: The Geopolitical Origins of Capitalism. London: Pluto Press. This study shows how capitalism is grounded in territorial control which intimately links the fate of the ‘West’ with, in Walter Rodney’s term, the ‘underdevelopment’ of the rest of the world. An interview with the authors about Eurocentrism is here:

Arruzza, C. (2013) Dangerous Liaisons: The Marriages and Divorces of Marxism and Feminism. London: Resistance Books. This book provides a detailed overview of the range of different debates at the intersection of Marxism and feminism, including the impact of Black feminism and queer theory. The ideas in the book are explored further by Cinzia Arruzza here:

Bourne, J. (1987) ‘Homelands of the mind: Jewish feminism and identity politics’, Race and Class 29 (1): 1-24. Jenny Bourne’s article was a controversial intervention into identity politics that got a bad reception from some anti-Zionist Jewish feminists in the UK. The questions of identity and the way it is addressed as something ‘intersectional’ is explored in a different context in Sharon Smith’s 2013 ‘Black feminism and intersectionality’ here:

Burstow, B. (2015) Psychiatry and the Business of Madness: An Ethical and Epistemological Accounting, London: Palgrave Macmillan. This book is produced from years of radical feminist political activity in and alongside the psychiatry and disability movements, drawing on the voices of the oppressed to explore how the psychiatric apparatus appears from the standpoint of those subject to it. The arguments are linked with contemporary political struggle in Asylum: Magazine for Democratic Psychiatry which can be accessed here:

Butler, J. (1990) Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. London and New York: Routledge. This is one of the classic grounding texts for what became known as ‘queer theory’ and, more importantly, of ‘queer politics’ in ‘third-wave’ feminism that was expressed in HIV/AIDS activist movements like ACT UP. The argument in the book is explored further here in relation to Islam and secularism in a 2009 text Is Critique Secular? by Talal Asad, Wendy Brown, Judith Butler and Saba Mahmood here:

Chen, K. (2010) Asia as Method: Toward Deimperialization, Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press. This book provides a ‘standpoint’ argument of a quite different type, grounding the political resistance to imperialism in Asia on the terrain of intersecting histories of China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. The global context is also addressed in relation to Western feminism and imperialism here:

Combahee River Collective (1977) ‘History is a Weapon’ This document was written as one of the founding texts of Black feminism, making a strong standpoint argument for autonomous collective organisation. The text is available here:

Davis, A. (1981) Women, Race and Class. London: Women’s Press. Angela Davis, once a member of the Communist Party of the United States of America, and campaigner against the ‘Prison-Industrial Complex’, works at the intersection of different forms of exploitation and oppression in this book; Chapter 13 of her book, on ‘Women, Race and Class: The Approaching Obsolescence of Housework: A Working-Class Perspective’, is available here:

Debord, G. (1967) Society of the Spectacle. Detroit: Black and Red. Guy Debord, the leader and master of the ‘Situationists’, provides a polemical analysis drawing on Hegel and Marx of the way that radical action is ‘recuperated’. There is an illustrated guide of his argument here:

Ebert, T. (2009) The Task of Cultural Critique. Champaign, IL: Illinois University Press. Teresa Ebert takes on a number of different cultural theorists, including Slavoj Žižek, from a feminist and Marxist standpoint; her 1995 essay ‘(Untimely) Critiques for a Red Feminism’ is available here:

Fanon, F. (1967) The Wretched of the Earth. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Fanon’s book, which was published in France with an incendiary introduction by Jean-Paul Sartre and promptly banned, is a classic of anti-colonial and post-colonial writing. It is work that needs to be taken forward with feminist critique, with one attempt here:

Federici, S. (2004) Caliban and the Witch: Women, The Body and Primitive Accumulation. New York: Autonomedia Silvia Federici writes in the Italian autonomist tradition that takes that Marxist politics in a more explicitly feminist direction than, for example, Antonio Negri. There is an interview with her here:

Firestone, S. (2015) The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution. London: Verso. Shulamith Firestone was one of the inspirations for a ‘radical feminist’ strand of ‘second-wave’ feminism; the first chapter of her book ‘The Dialectic of Sex’, which was originally published in 1970, is available here:

Fisher, M. (2009) Capitalist Realism: Is there no alternative? London: Zero Books. Mark Fisher’s book addresses the way that neo-liberal capitalism today presents itself as normal and natural; it is an analysis that can be situated in relation to ‘new materialist’ feminist theory articulated by Karen Barad which precisely aims to show how what is normal and natural is constituted as such; she outlines this argument here:–new-materialism-interviews-cartographies?rgn=div2;view=fulltext

Foucault, M. (1981) The History of Sexuality, Vol. I: An Introduction. Harmondsworth: Pelican. First published in 1976, Michel Foucault’s ‘History of Sexuality’ was intended to be the first volume of a six-volume study that could eventually, perhaps, have addressed feminism. There have been claims that Foucault himself named neoliberalism and then became rather fond of it, a claim rehearsed here:

Fraser, N. (2013) Fortunes of Feminism: From State-Managed Capitalism to Neoliberal Crisis. London: Verso. Nancy Fraser is quite clear that she is still a feminist, despite the attempts to misrepresent her as arguing that feminism as such has failed because it has been recuperated under neoliberalism, and she makes her feminist commitment clear in her 2014 article ‘How feminism became capitalism’s handmaiden – and how to reclaim it’ available here:

Freeman, J. (1970) ‘The Tyranny of Structurelessness’, Jo Freeman specifically addressed contexts in which some ‘consciousness-raising’ groups claimed to have dispensed with power, and her arguments are complemented and critiqued in Cathy Levine’s response ‘The tyranny of tyranny’ which is available here:

Greenstein, A. (2015) Inclusive Radical Pedagogy: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Education, Disability and Liberation. Abingdon/New York: Routledge. Anat Greenstein links the development of critique and practice around what is called in the United States ‘normalcy’ with questions of education and liberation; further attempts to link disability activism with feminism have been made here:

Guerin, D. (1973) Fascism and Big Business. New York: Monad Press. Daniel Guerin’s analysis of the rise of fascism, first published in 1939, focuses on the way that, despite the claims to be anti-corporate, fascism arises as a strategy of last resort for the bourgeoisie to destroy capitalism; an extract from Guerin’s book is available here:

Haraway, D. J. (1989) Primate Visions: Gender, Race, and Nature in the World of Modern Science. London and New York: Routledge. This important book by Donna Haraway locates feminism clearly in relation to the exploitation and animals and the destruction of nature; Haraway’s ‘cyborg manifesto’, which takes the analysis in the direction of the relationship between women and technology, is available here:

Hardt, M. and Negri, A. (2000) Empire. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, a key figure in the Italian autonomist tradition, provide an analysis of capitalism as intrinsically global, and the book, which was followed by Multitude in 2004 and Commonwealth in 2009, became important in the ‘Occupy’ movement. As well as taking distance from Marxist analyses of imperialism, it also had little to say about feminism, which is reasserted here in the argument for Wages for Housework by Selma James:

Henley, N. (1979) Body Politics: Power, Sex, and Nonverbal Communication. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Nancy Henley shows how women are expected to take up less space than men, both in big public spaces and in more intimate settings, and to have a different relation to time; it is an analysis that provides some context for the changes in production analysed in Alex Williams and Nick Srinicek’s 2013 ‘Accelerationist manifesto’, available here:

Hochschild, A. R. (1983) The Managed Heart: Commercialisation of Human Feeling. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. The US American feminist sociologist Arlie Hochschild shows how women’s stereotypical capacities for ‘care’ become instrumentalised under capitalism with the rise of ‘feminisation’ of industry in the service sector, which is something Silvia Federici addresses in her 2010 article ‘Wages against Housework’ available here:

Kelly, J. (1992) ‘Postmodernism and feminism’, International Marxist Review, 14, pp. 39-55. Jane Kelly’s feminist critique of postmodernism homes in on the ‘theories of difference’ that run through a range of different ‘postmodernist’ approaches to language; the article, which was written before many feminists reworked these theories for themselves, is available here:

Klein, N. (2008) The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Naomi Klein has combined scholarly analysis with socialist, feminist and environmental activism in a number of books, including in this one on the way that capitalism requires the systematic destruction of human resources in order to rebuild itself and stimulate profit; raw materials for the book are available here:

Knight, C. (2016) Decoding Chomsky: Science and Revolutionary Politics. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Chris Knight shows how the deep split between Chomsky’s academic work on linguistics and his political commitment actually has dire consequences for both aspects; an earlier journal article version of the argument in Knight’s book is available here:

Kollontai, A. (1977) Selected Writings of Alexandra Kollontai. New York: Norton Alexandra Kollontai, one of the most radical of the ‘first-wave’ feminists, was one of the Bolshevik leaders who put energy into the abolition of the family and the reconfiguration of personal relationships in the Soviet Union; an essay reclaiming Kollontai for contemporary Marxist feminism by Teresa Ebert is available here:

Kovel, J. (2007) The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of the World? (2nd Revised edn). London: Zed Books. Joel Kovel’s argument for ‘ecosocialism’ is grounded in a detailed description of the way that capitalism in a variety of different contexts must devote itself to the destruction of nature; the question which is touched on in the book, and which needs more work, is how ecosocialism connects with ecofeminism, a question addressed here:

Laclau, E. and Mouffe, C. (1985) Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics. London: Verso. Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe were, with Stuart Hall in Britain, driving forces in theory of what was known at the time as ‘Eurocommunism’, and they both now provide resources for new social movements like Podemos. They link ideas from linguistics and Lacan’s psychoanalysis with the work of the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, whose prison writings are available here:

Leon A. (1950) The Jewish Question: A Marxist Interpretation. New York: Pathfinder Press. Abram Leon was a Trotskyist murdered by the Nazis, and his book was published posthumously on the prompting of the Belgian economist and secretary of the Fourth International Ernest Mandel; one of Mandel’s own texts on ‘the Jewish question’ is available here:

Lorde, A. (1984) Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Berkeley, CA: Crossing Press. This book by US American Black socialist lesbian feminist Audre Lorde includes the 1977 essay ‘The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action’ which is also available online here:

Löwy, M. (2010) Morning Star: Surrealism, Marxism, Anarchism, Situationism, Utopia. Dallas TX: University of Texas. Michel Löwy’s book provides a passionate description and defence of the variety of different challenges to orthodox Marxism from within the surrealist movement. It takes forward the arguments made by Trotsky in a document signed by André Breton and Diego Rivera in their 1938 ‘Manifesto for an Independent Revolutionary Art’ which is here:

Millett, K. (1977) Sexual Politics. London: Virago. Kate Millet was one of the key figures in ‘second-wave’ feminism, arguing in this book for a radical feminist critique of dominant cultural resources which buttress patriarchy, which she defines as the domination of women by men and of younger men by older men; the second chapter of Millett’s book is available here:

Mitchell, J. (1974) Psychoanalysis and Feminism. Harmondsworth: Penguin. This classic text re-examined the hostility of some feminists to psychoanalysis, and argued that the shift from biology to language in the work of Jacques Lacan opened the way to thinking about transformation of society instead of adaptation to it, a line explored in this online volume edited by Carol Owens:

Mojab, S. (ed.) (2015) Marxism and Feminism. London: Zed Books. This edited book includes chapters on intersectionality and standpoint and on other key issues that span the different keywords in this present book; a short introduction to connections between Marxism and feminism and a list of more resources is available here:

Nayak, S. (2014) Race, Gender and the Activism of Black Feminist Theory: Working with Audre Lorde. Abingdon/New York: Routledge. This study is devoted to the work of Audre Lorde and to the connection between her theoretical writings and contemporary Black feminist political practice: Audre Lorde’s 1980 text ‘Age, Race, Class and Sex: Women Redefining Difference’ is available here:

Puar, J. (2007) Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times. Durham, CA.: Duke University Press. Jasbir Puar shows how gay culture becomes harnessed to capitalist state practices and to imperialism as a segregated niche category of identity that then functions ideologically; the ideas are explored in the specific context of Islamophobia and Zionism here:

Raymond, J. (1980) The Transsexual Empire. London: The Women’s Press. Janice Raymond’s book gives a clear and polemical account of the radical feminist objection to ‘trans’, the way that gender binaries risk being reinforced as particular bodies transition from one gender to the other; some problems in Raymond’s account are outlined in Jacqueline Rose’s 2016 essay ‘Who do you think you are?’ here:

Reed, E. (1975) Women’s Evolution: From Matriarchal Clan to Patriarchal Family. New York: Pathfinder Press. This book takes forward Engels anthropological claims in his classic 1884 text ‘Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State’. The specific consequences for an analysis of women’s oppression are spelled out in Evelyn Reed’s 1970 article ‘Women : Caste, Class or Oppressed Sex’ available here:

Rowbotham, S., Segal, L. and Wainwright, H. (2013) Beyond the Fragments: Feminism and the Making of Socialism (3rd Edn). Pontypool, Wales: Merlin. The first edition of ‘Beyond the Fragments’ was published as a pamphlet in 1979, bringing together feminist activists from three different far-left groups in Britain; reflections by Johanna Brenner on this third edition, published during a time of crisis in the British left over questions of sexual violence, are available here:

Said, E. (2003) Orientalism: Western Conceptions of the Orient. Harmondsworth: Penguin. First published in 1978, Edward Said’s book on ‘orientalism’ took up work by Michel Foucault and focused on the production and functions of representations of the exoticised and feared ‘other’; Said opened the way to further analysis of orientalism and feminisation, explored here:

Spender, D. (1980) Man Made Language, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Dale Spender shows how the English language is skewed against women to render them as less than human, and this provides a feminist context to the argument Jean-François Lyotard made about ‘language games’ as defining interaction in his 1979 book ‘The Postmodern Condition’; the introduction to the English translation of Lyotard’s book by Fredric Jameson links postmodernism with Mandel’s diagnosis of ‘late capitalism’, and is available here:

Spivak, G. C. (1990) The Post-Colonial Critic. London and New York: Routledge. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak translated and introduced writings of Jacques Derrida into English, reframing ‘deconstruction’ as something compatible with Marxism and feminism; her argument about a tactical use of identity categories in the notion of ‘strategic essentialism’ is explored here:

Tiqqun (2012) Preliminary Materials for a theory of the Young-Girl. Los Angeles: Semiotext(e). The Tiqqun collective provide a diagnosis of the way feminised imagery functions ideologically, but also tend to repeat this imagery in their own critique, as is made clear in this critical appraisal and review of their work:

Trotsky, L. D. (1938) The Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the Fourth International, This document, written as a founding text for the Fourth International, is usually known as the ‘Transitional Programme’, and the updating of ‘transitional demands’ for the present day has often been debated, as in this example linking it with ecological questions:

Tuhiwai Smith, L. (1999) Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. London: Zed Books. This is an academic book for researchers that brings them out of their comfort zone and insists that any radical research worth the name must be rooted in the experiences and forms of knowledge of the oppressed. The ideas are worked through in the open-access online journal Disability and the Global South which can be accessed here:

Wilkinson, R. and Pickett, K. (2010) The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone. Harmondsworth: Penguin. This book, with the argument that gross inequalities lead to greater unhappiness, has been influential on new generations of community and environmental activists, and the link with ‘gender equality’ has also been taken up by feminists like Carol Gilligan:

Williams, R. (1976) Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society. London: Fontana. Raymond Williams aimed to provide an overview of the keywords that have come to make up contemporary progressive culture, but although Williams himself was a ‘cultural Marxist’, he rather overlooked feminism and other new social movements; the analysis needs to also address a range of other links to radical critique, as it is here:


If that isn’t enough, or too much, and you want some basic reading on what Marxism is, then look at the seven books that are listed here