Revolution 101: Recommendations for New Leftists.

Recently (given our current climate), I have had several friends ask me for book/essay recommendations, documentaries to watch, and music/podcasts to listen to in order to understand leftist theory and practice. It’s too broad for a quick list or a simple conversation so I thought I’d create a post and show you all what I’ve personally found valuable. It won’t be comprehensive, but it’ll be something. I’m hoping this piece can serve as a decent introduction for anyone curious about our way of thinking or a refresher for those already embedded. I welcome newbies just looking for guidance. I welcome hardened leftists who are seeking extra material. Heck I also welcome State bootlickers who wandered in accidentally on their way to post about 5G towers, CDC fascism, thin blue lines, or all lives mattering. For those folks I say welcome, patriots. Stay awhile. You’re probably gonna hate this. Maybe give some of these a try while you’re here? Worth a shot.

Books/Essays: I am going to split books/essays into several categories based on the subject. I will start with classics and then we’ll get onto topics like police abolition, direct action, environmentalism, prison abolition, systemic racism, anti-colonialism, and being a good accomplice. The books listed are ones I have in my personal collection so I can always add more if you’d like to see different options. If you want any pieces summarized please don’t hesitate to comment. Not every author will be an anarchist, but the subject matter will certainly be in our wheelhouse.

Classics: Mostly political theory so I might skip summaries here. I assume y’all know what The Communist Manifesto is anyway. There are too many classics to name so please judge this as a starter list of ones that influenced me personally.

The Conquest of Bread by Peter Kropotkin

Now and After: The ABC of Communist Anarchism by Alexander Berkman

Anarchism and Other Essays by Emma Goldman

The State and Revolution by Vladimir Lenin

The Communist Manifesto by Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx

God and the State by Mikhail Bakunin

What is Property? by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

On Anarchism by Noam Chomsky. Not an old classic and I have my problems with Chomsky lately (his views on Antifa, support for Biden etc) but this really does serve as a good introduction and you can’t deny Chomsky’s influence.

ACAB:

The End of Policing by Alex S. Vitale

Policing the Planet: Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter by Jordan T. Camp and Christina Heatherton

Police: A Field Guide by David Correia and Tyler Wall

Environmentalism:

Climate Leviathan: A Political Theory of our Planetary Future by Geoff Mann and Joel Wainwright

Post-Scarcity Anarchism by Murray Bookchin

Prison Abolition:

Hell is a Very Small Place: Voices from Solitary Confinement by Jean Casella, James Ridgeway, and Sarah Shourd

Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison by Michel Foucault

Surviving Justice: America’s Wrongfully Convicted and Exonerated by Dave Eggers and Lola Vollen

Indigenous Voices and Anti-Colonialism:

Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation by Monique Gray Smith

Unsettling the Settler Within: Indian Residential Schools, Truth Telling, and Reconciliation in Canada by Paulette Regan

The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America by Thomas King

All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward by Tanya Talaga

Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City by Tanya Talaga

My Conversations with Canadians by Lee Maracle

Settler: Identity and Colonialism in 21st Century Canada by Emma Battell Lowman and Adam J. Barker

Peace, Power, and Righteousness: An Indigenous Manifesto by Taiaiake Alfred

Culture and Imperialism by Edward W. Said

Orientalism by Edward W. Said

The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon

Systemic Racism and White Supremacy:

Black Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon

Mistaken Identity: Race and Class in the Age of Trump by Asad Haider

When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele

Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond by Marc Lamont Hill

“They Can’t Kill Us All” Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement by Wesley Lowery

Brown: What Being Brown in the World Today Means (To Everyone) by Kamal Al-Solaylee

Situating “Race” and Racisms in Space, Time, and Theory: Critical Essays for Activists and Scholars by Jo-Anne Lee and John Lutz

Contesting White Supremacy: School Segregation. Anti-Racism, and the Making of Chinese Canadians by Timothy J. Stanley

Go Back Where You Came From: The Backlash Against Immigration and the Fate of Western Democracy by Sasha Polakow-Suransky

Deportation is Freedom! The Orwellian World of Immigration Controls by Steve Cohen

Irregular Army: How the US Military Recruited Neo-Nazis, Gang Members and Criminals to Fight the War on Terror by Matt Kennard

Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump by David Neiwert

Direct Action and Becoming a Good Accomplice:

Full Spectrum Resistance Volume One: Building Movements and Fighting to Win by Aric McBay

Full Spectrum Resistance Volume 2: Actions and Strategies for Change by Aric McBay

Setting Sights: Histories and Reflections on Communist Armed Self-Defense by Scott Crow

Black Flags and Windmills: Hope, Anarchy and the Common Ground Collective by Scott Crow

How to Be an Anti-capitalist in the 21st Century by Erik Olin Wright

So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

Becoming an Ally: Breaking the Cycle of Oppression in People by Anne Bishop

Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad

Extras that I struggled to put into categories:

The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley

Jumping at Shadows: The Triumph of Fear and The End of The American Dream by Sasha Abramsky

The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives by Sasha Abramsky

Bullshit Jobs: A Theory by David Graeber

Cyber Disobedience: Re://Presenting Online Anarchy by Jeff Shantz and Jordan Tomblin

Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda by Roméo Dallaire

They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children by Roméo Dallaire

Guerilla Warfare by Ernesto “Che” Guevara

Anarchy Works: Examples of Anarchist Ideas in Practice by Peter Gelderloos

Teaching Resistance: Radicals, Revolutionaries, and Cultural Subversions in the Classroom by John Mink

Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism by Peter Marshall

The Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture: Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program

The Authoritarian Personality by  Theodor W. Adorno, Else Frenkel-Brunswik, Daniel Levinson, and Nevitt Sanford.

The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book by Gord Hill

Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life by Jon Lee Anderson

Che: A Revolutionary Life. A Graphic Autobiography by Jon Lee Anderson and José Hernández

-Online Anarchist Library (Essays galore) https://theanarchistlibrary.org/special/index

My Personal Favourites:

Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life by Jon Lee Anderson

The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon

Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad

Full Spectrum Resistance Volume One: Building Movements and Fighting to Win by Aric McBay

Full Spectrum Resistance Volume 2: Actions and Strategies for Change by Aric McBay

The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America by Thomas King

The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley

Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond by Marc Lamont Hill

Hell is a Very Small Place: Voices from Solitary Confinement by Jean Casella, James Ridgeway, and Sarah Shourd

Teaching Resistance: Radicals, Revolutionaries, and Cultural Subversions in the Classroom by John Mink

Documentaries: This will be a shorter list because solid/unbiased documentaries about anarchist history/theories are few and far between. However, I have found a couple that are worth a watch or recommendation for your friends/family who are curious about anarchism.

No Gods, No Masters: A History of Anarchism (2017) by Tancrède Ramonet. You can find it for sale here http://www.icarusfilms.com/if-nogods and it’s available on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZ-utvfgK8Q. I actually quite like this 3 part documentary and highly recommend it. It serves as a decent introduction and covers a lot of events and people that often get overlooked in mainstream political education.

Accidental Anarchist (2017) is directed by John Archer and Clara Glynn and is about the former British diplomat Carne Ross who became an anarchist after being a part of the unjust Iraq war. I saw this documentary after watching his TED talk and listening to his story on Revolutionary Left Radio (will link the podcast in my podcast section). Again, it’s not perfect, but it’s good to hear the perspective of someone who was once very dedicated to State power and ideals. YouTube link so be mindful that it could get taken down at any time https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zh-RQG0xYAM

-The Trouble series from Sub Media https://sub.media/c/trouble/ Lots of short documentaries with topics ranging from counter-insurgency to mental health to gentrification.

Music: This category is difficult because there are plenty of albums that have influenced me, but some aren’t even remotely connected to anarchism. I will try and narrow down my choices to what’s looping on my playlist (mostly political), but feel free to comment if you want suggestions of other tunes.

Soundtrack to the Struggle (2011) by Lowkey

Soundtrack to the Struggle 2 (2019) by Lowkey

The Martyr (2011) by Immortal Technique

Revolutionary Volume 1 (2001) by Immortal Technique

Revolutionary Volume 2 (2004) by Immortal Technique

– F♯ A♯ ∞ (1997) by Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Seems like a strange choice, but hear me out. This album is hypnotic and you owe it to yourself to listen to their other ones. “East Hastings” is on a constant loop while I write some of the more serious posts on this blog.

Medicine Songs by Buffy Sainte-Marie

Radical Dilemma (2013) by Rebel Diaz

We Are the Halluci Nation (2016) by A Tribe Called Red. Honestly just pick any album by A Tribe Called Red cause this is some good shit.

Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables (1980) by Dead Kennedys

Appeal to Reason (2008) by Rise Against

Anarchy (1994) by Chumbawamba

Nihilismo (2016) by Sole and DJ Pain 1

Less Talk, More Rock by Propagandhi

Die for the Government (1993) by Anti-Flag

The Undisputed Truth (2007) by Brother Ali

Surrender to the Serpent (2017) by War of Icaza

Podcasts: There are tons of leftist podcasts and not all are created equal. Before the inevitable “Why no Chapo Trap House?” I’m not really into Chapo and most of you are probably already familiar with them anyway. I won’t disregard the fact that they brought a lot of folks into political theory/organizing, but they just never appealed to my personal taste. My opinion so give them a listen if you want cause at least you ain’t listening to Steven Crowder.

Revolutionary Left Radio https://revolutionaryleftradio.libsyn.com/

It’s Going Down https://itsgoingdown.org/category/podcast/

Srsly Wrong https://srslywrong.com/

The Ex-Worker https://crimethinc.com/podcasts/the-ex-worker

The Final Straw Radio https://thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org/

Little Red School House https://littleredschoolhouse.libsyn.com/

Kite Line Radio https://kitelineradio.noblogs.org/

From Embers https://fromembers.libsyn.com/

Doomer V. Bloomer https://soundcloud.com/doomervbloomer

-Channel Zero Network https://channelzeronetwork.com/

YouTube: Why not? Plenty of good political channels on YouTube when you skip past all the recommended Mr. Beast videos and Simon Cowell looking shocked about something. Not all anarchist but definitely leftist so give some of these a look.

-Stimulator (Sub Media) https://www.youtube.com/user/stimulator

-Thought Slime https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrr7y8rEXb7_RiVniwvzk9w

-Philosophy Tube https://www.youtube.com/user/thephilosophytube

-Renegade Cut https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9infsKo33_2LUoiqXGgQWg

-Unistoten Camp (important to pay attention to whether you live in BC or just give a damn about Indigenous rights in general) https://www.youtube.com/user/UnistotenCamp

Pam Palmater (Insight and Analysis on Current Issues in Indian Country) https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTeExnsj_hu87OwPCHcBcjA

-Anarchist Collective https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPSFjkA3jc_U2mdcSLb4bhQ

-Anarchopac (Zoe Baker)https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3FD64RRsrCLpiZNkq7ZkSg

-Audible Anarchist https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaO1QA8QL99_eb0XhJI2Fyw

-Pop Culture Detective https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHiwtz2tCEfS17N9A-WoSSw

-ContraPoints https://www.youtube.com/c/ContraPoints/featured

-Some More News https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvlj0IzjSnNoduQF0l3VGng

-The Kavernacle https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoG5ya-sMXNMkqkIz1sZ_Lw

Harry after reading this list and ignoring all of J.K. Rowling’s tweets.

You made it to the end of the post and I hope you found something new to read, watch or listen to. Or maybe you found something to recommend to a friend or family member which would also be fantastic. Again, I know my list isn’t comprehensive and probably left out a book, podcast, album or YouTube channel that you value so please share it with me in the comments. Who knows? Maybe I’ll like it and add it to the list. I never had a lot of direction when I broke out of my nationalist conditioning so I wanted to help others get started with a few suggestions. I know this isn’t one of my usual scathing critiques or cynical rants, but it felt appropriate and something easy to share with my brothers, sisters, and non-binary comrades. Thanks for reading and I hope to see you again. Solidarity, my friends.

X.S.

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