Re-building American Radicalism: a reading list

soil_ride soilride at
Mon May 22 13:19:32 MDT 2000

Dear Comrade Julio Thank you for that list of books.  There will be a day when I
will be done reading books however.  There will be a day for those down and who
will go.  However we can start educating other people with the books that have
influenced us...I have added some books that inspired me...   1.  Black Skin,
White Masks by Frantz Fanon I dont think its a Marxist book, it hardly talks of
marxist theories however it talks about revolution and is a study of racial
identity. Even though this book was talking more or less on the Algerian
Revolution, i find similiarites to the truths contain in its texts.  I can
relate and it has moved me to think when before I wasnt moved at all. 2. First
World, Ha Ha Ha: The Zapatista Challenge edited by Elaine Katzenberger This is a
book that I tremendously enjoy, for its literary content and its passion.  It is
a delightful read and it makes for a time of reflection for the authors
involved...The Chiapas situation has totally gripped me ever since i first saw
El Sup in a news article declaring the Zapatista War against the PRI and Mexican
dictatorship of the indegenous. 3. Dirty Truths by Michael Parenti. I must thank
Macdonald Stainsby for directing me towards Parenti.  Before i knew little of
what he was about, this book has enlightened me more on what he is about and for
anyone interested this is a good place to start.  It includes a lot of issues
that people take for granted but it sheds light on what is going on here and
abroad. Josh   >1. Detroit: I Do Mind Dying : A Study in Urban Revolution by Dan
>et al.
>The rise and fall of DRUM, Detroit Revolutionary Union Movement, black
>autoworkers who challenged the UAW (AKA "U Ain't White")in the late sixties
>to early seventies. Determined to build a broad base, DRUM drew on
>everything from Detroit bluesmen whose anthems championed the
>proletariat(the title of the book is taken from one such song) to
>sympathizers from Michigan State, where the student newspaper pratically
>became a DRUM organ. The newly issued second edition(1999)features
>interviews with ex-members, reassesments of DRUM from Manning Marable and
>othes, and tries to extract some lessons for building a multi-class
>political alliance today.
>2. The Populist Movement (Hardback edition: "The Democratic Promise")by
>Lawrence Goodwyn.
>Goodwyn calls the Populist Party of the 1880s "the last serious attempt in
>American history to build a counterculture to the received culture of
>Protestant capitalism." Focusing on the strenghs of the party(uniting, if
>only temporarily,black and white farmers, the co-op movement, prominent
>female leaders) while not ignoring its weaknesses(a critique of capitalism
>that centered on distribution, not production)the book is a primer for
>building a radical movement from the grass-roots.
>3. Tom Paine and Revolutionary America by Eric Foner.
>What Paine is least remembered for, thanks to bourgeois biographers, is his
>economics. Foner documents that Paine spoke for the artisan element of the
>American working class, who like their English counterparts, so well
>treated by EP Thompson, made claims on behalf of a "moral economy" opposed
>to incipient American capitalism.a good place to start a discussion of the
>American radical tradition.
>4. The Decline of Socialism in America by James Weinstein.
>Yes, Weinstein went on to found and edit "In These Times", mouthpiece of a
>still-born American Social Democracy. But in this book he makes the case
>that the Socialist Party of Debs fell apart not because of World War I and
>the government repression that followed, a cherished myth among leftists
>even today, but because the party allowed itself to get caught up in the
>internal squabbles of the European labor movement and the nascent Comintern
>after 1921.
>5.SDS by Kirpatrick Sale.
>How did a small group that started life by splitting-off from the Young
>People's Socialist League (theYPSLS) go on to become THE vehicle for campus
>protest in the sixties?
>As SDS grew bigger it got more radical, something unusual in American
>politics, but its very success caused the leadership to think the
>revolution was just around the corner.If I had to recommend one book on
>what the sixties meant to America, this would be it. Predictably, it's also
>out of print; check out your nearest used book store.
>Please add to my list.
>Julio Cesar

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