Recommended Readings

Below is a list of what we consider to be essential readings on selected topics. If you would like assistance acquiring any of these texts, please feel free to contact us [revolutionaryaim -(@)- yandex 。com] and we would be happy to help.

Foundations of Political Economy

  • Fine, Ben & Saad-Filho, Alfredo. Marx’s ‘Capital’ – A condensed summary of the three volumes of Marx’s Capital. Might be slightly hard-going for those completely unfamiliar with the concepts. Useful as a quick reference.
  • Rühle, Otto. Karl Marx’s Capital – A significantly abridged version of Das Kapital volume I. Highly recommended for people less familiar with Marxist categories of political economy, and for people looking to refresh their knowledge of the fundamentals.
  • Sweezy, Paul. Theory of Capitalist Development – A very well-written and understandable introduction to Marxian economics. Explains basic to advanced Marxian economic terminology and concepts in a thorough and ordered, yet easy-to-read manner.
  • Lenin, Vladimir. Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism – Lenin’s work on imperialism remains one of the most important illuminations of the 20th century, and is pivotal to any coherent analysis of capitalism in the modern era. Although much has been added to the body of knowledge and analysis of imperialism since this work’s publication, it has not (as some would argue) become obsolete as a result, but strengthened and verified by more than a hundred years of experience. This document is at the foundation of modern political economy, and cannot be neglected.
  • MIM. MIM Theory Volume One: A White Proletariat? – The first installment of the theoretical journal of the Maoist Internationalist Movement, containing a collection of important articles and studies on the questions of imperialism, the labor aristocracy and parasitism in the united $tates.
  • Cope, Zak. Divided World Divided Class – A thorough expose on the ideology of first-worldism and its historical and political-economic foundations. Contains historical analysis of the development of first-worldism, empirical measurements of international value transfer, and discussion of implications.
  • Manifest–Communist Working Group. Unequal Exchange and the Prospects of Socialism – Unravels the mechanics of unequal exchange using Marxist political economy, based mainly on the work of Arghiri Emmanuel. Very clear and accessible. Also contains a solid overview / refresher on foundational concepts such as value, surplus value, and price.
  • Marx, Karl and Engels, Friedrich. Marx and Engels: On Colonies, Industrial Monopoly and the Working Class Movement – A compilation of letters, excerpts and reflections from Marx and Engels on the impact of colonialism and nascent imperialism on the working class movement, and the development of the embryonic labor aristocracy. This work is highly accessible, with highlighted pull-quotes emphasizing important concepts in the collection. Also includes an extraordinary introduction from Torkil Lauesen and Zak Cope putting the contents of the work into a modern perspective.
  • Lauesen, Torkil. The Global Perspective: Reflections on Imperialism and Resistance – A solid foray into the historical development of modern capitalism-imperialism from an esteemed anti-imperialist. Both in the body of the work and in its appendices it delivers important illuminations on the inner-workings of global value transfer and unequal exchange, with additional notes on more specific questions of historical and economic importance in its appendices. A very useful introductory piece to both the history and political economy of capitalism-imperialism.

Political Economy

  • Bromma. The Worker Elite: Notes on the “Labor Aristocracy” – A solid introductory text to the concept of the labor aristocracy. Highly accessible.
  • RAIM. What is the Labor Aristocracy? – A short but thorough overview of the labor aristocracy in the modern imperialist core, examining the relations that define its political-economic existence. A must-read.
  • RAIM. Immigration and Capitalist-Imperialism: Analysis from John Smith’s Dissertation – A summary and analysis of a critically important concept brought forward by John Smith in his PhD Thesis. Deals with the relationship between monopoly capital, First World wages and the mobility of Third World labor.
  • Amin, Samir. The Law of Worldwide Value – An introduction, defense and elucidation of the “global” application of the law of value, as well as the introduction of the concept of imperialist rent, the difference of super-profits obtained from the unequal remuneration of labor between the global north and global south.
  • Smith, John. Imperialism in the Twenty-first Century – A thorough analysis of the political economy of capitalism-imperialism, elucidating the significant structures and processes that create and recreate the world imperialist system. Smith’s work is heavily related to the work of Zak Cope, but is in another league. It is much more dense, relies much more often on precise figures and statistics, but paints an altogether more thorough picture of the modern imperialist political economy and the status of the First World at the head of it. Recommend reading Cope beforehand.
  • Marx, Karl. Capital Vol. I, II & III – Although abridged versions have been suggested in this recommended reading for the foundations of political economy, there is really no replacement for Marx’s original work as a reference for all further studies. Certainly one can get all of the most vital points on political economy from abridged or summarized versions, there is still much left behind in the abridgement, either through bias or for the sake of brevity to capture its most central theses. Needless to say, having access to these points as reference is always good, and although reading Capital cover-to-cover is unnecessary for a firm grasp of Marxist political economy, the full text is an irreplaceable resource.

State Power

  • Lenin, Vladimir. The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky – Lenin’s decisive refutation of Kautsky and the social-chauvinists of europe at the time. One of the essential texts that helped finally bury the years of bad theory and practice in the Second International, and birth set the agenda for the emerging Communist International.
  • Lenin, Vladimir. The State and Revolution – One of the foundational Marxist works on the nature of the proletarian dictatorship and the path to revolution. Lenin lays out the axioms and framework of building the proletarian state and cleanly breaks with the reformists and social-chauvinists who failed to make revolution a reality. Necessary as a foundation for all works on socialism and state power since.
  • Stalin, Josef. Anarchism or Socialism? – Challenges the anarchist “alternative” to Marxism through uncovering their lack of theory and deficient strategy for challenging capitalism. Important as a starting-point for all communists in understanding the fundamental differences and contradiction between anarchism and Marxism.
  • Mao Zedong. Don’t Hit Out in All Directions! – Issued to the new socialist government in China just after the revolution, Mao attacks reckless left-opportunist notions that the communist party should wage a merciless struggle against all forces outside the party. Instead, demonstrates in practice what is present throughout Maoist philosophy and theory, that we must be strategic in our policy and relations, working out what the primary contradictions are and who our true enemies are in any given context.
  • Marx, Karl. The Civil War in France – A brief history and defense of the Paris Commune, its rise, administration, faults and fall, the first brief glimpse of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

The Party

  • The Communist International. Theses on the Role of the Communist Party in the Proletarian Revolution – Foundational to the vanguard party concept. Not only categorically rebukes the left-communist “alternatives” to the vanguard party, but instructs the world communist movement on its general application. Should be read alongside works on the Maoist party method, otherwise one risks falling into ideological the same ideological rutt of the “monolithic party” as many post-Comintern parties.
  • Lenin, Vladimir. What is to be done? – One of the essential works of Lenin on the question of seizing state power and the self-organization of communists.
  • Ajith. On the Maoist Party – Deals with the principles and historical development of the Maoist-style party and its innovations over the dogmatism of Comintern-era parties. Comrade Ajith emphasizes the importance of historical-material circumstance in the organization of parties, and demonstrates how both Lenin and Mao sought to create a fluid and practical party structure that meets the needs of making revolution, while never succumbing to dogmatic and ahistorical regurgitations of what came before.
  • Freeman, Jo. The Tyranny of Structurelessness – An important reflection and criticism of the most destructive tendencies of the late-20th century women’s movement and its implications in the broader revolutionary movement. Analyzes the ways in which opportunists and reactionaries utilize structurelessness in the revolutionary movement to steer it toward liquidation for their personal gain. This document emphasizes the need for structure and centralism in the revolutionary movement, mostly through the negative examples of the past century.

Revolutionary Strategy

  • Lenin, Vladimir. The Defeat of One’s Own Government in the Imperialist War – An important critique of the social-chauvinism of many so-called revolutionaries in the second international, and even within the Russian party itself. Lenin clearly outlines one of the central duties of all communists in the imperialist countries, as conditions pull them inexorably to greater inter-imperialist conflict and war: revolutionary defeatism.
  • Lin Biao. Long Live the Victory of People’s War! – One of the greatest contributions of comrade Lin Biao to communist and anti-imperialist strategy. Outlines the successes of the Chinese revolution and serves as a precursor to the international strategy of Global People’s War.
  • Guevara, Che. Message to the Tri-Continental – Another important precursor to the international strategy of Global People’s war. Underscores the international importance of struggles like those waged in Vietnam, Afrika and the whole of the Third World at the time, demonstrating how it could be focused into an internationalist policy of encirclement and constriction of the imperialist powers.
  • Derbent, T. Categories of Revolutionary Military Policy – An excellent introduction to the question of military policy in the revolutionary movement. Covers the necessity of communists to develop a military policy prior to its implementation, and takes a deep dive into the various policies and strategies implemented by revolutionary movements all over the world. Essential for any communist thinking about these questions in the modern context—highly accessible.
  • Mao Zedong. Basic Tactics – A series of thesis-like points on strategic questions concerning the People’s Liberation Army in China including points on political work, fighting and axioms in military strategy. Although the conditions of China during the communist people’s war were much different than our own in the imperialist countries, many of these points have wide political applicability that we should take note of. Accessible and important.

History of Imperialism

  • Sakai, J. Settlers: Mythology of the White Proletariat – An in-depth historical analysis of white labor in the united states and its historical allegiance with the u.$. ruling class against oppressed peoples.
  • Galeano, Eduardo. Open Veins of Latin America – A landmark historical work on the political-economic history of colonialism and neo-colonialism in Latin America from a an unapologetically communist perspective. Galeano’s work here serves as an invaluable, albeit intensely depressing, resource on the conquest and domination of an entire continent.
  • Hill, Gord. 500 Years of Indigenous Resistance – A concise introductory history of the conquest and genocide of indigenous peoples in occupied “north amerika”.
  • Denis, Nelson. War Against All Puerto Ricans – A comprehensive history of amerikan colonialism in Puerto Rico and revolutionary movements who opposed it. Highly relevant to any contemporary discussion of amerikan imperialism and Puerto Rican national liberation.
  • Blum, William. Killing Hope: U.S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions Since World War – An exhaustive collection of informative vignettes on u$ atrocities, coups, invasion and more up to 2003. Very accessible.

History of Communism

  • Rickett, Allyn. Prisoners of Liberation – An interesting and enjoyable autobiographical work from Allyn Rickett centered on the time he spent imprisoned in China for espionage. Unlike the typical anti-communist narrative in such books, the author demonstrates the clear break in practice from bourgeois prisons in the west and the penal system in revolutionary China, explaining how it worked and where it’s principles originated from. It is, in fact, a pro-communist book. The book has an incredible narrative style, and easily understood political lessons. Invaluable among the books on the history of the Chinese revolution.
  • Bhattacharyya, Amit. Storming the Gates of Heaven – An excellent and detailed overview of the history and development of the Maoist movement in India beginning with the Naxalbari uprising.
  • Strong, Anna Louise. When serfs stood up in Tibet – A documentary of the events in Tibet during the Chinese Revolution from the esteemed communist journalist, Anna Louise Strong. Shatters the myths of revolution “against the will” of the Tibetan masses, and gives an interesting look into the one front of the Chinese struggle against feudalism.
  • Strong, Anna Louise. In North Korea: First Eye-Witness Report – An early report from comrade Strong on the development of the socialist state in North Korea.
  • Ball, Joeseph. Did Mao Really Kill Millions in the Great Leap Forward? – A detailed article published by Monthly review that debunks the numerous anti-communist claims of an “apocalyptic” famine orchestrated by Mao to kill tens of millions of people. Includes in-depth historical investigation, demonstrating that the Great Leap Forward was neither a complete and utter failure, nor was it some kind of misanthropic plot to wipe out the Chinese people.
  • Carr, E. H.  The Bolshevik Revolution, 1917-1923 Vol. 1-3 – An excellent and detailed history of the Great Socialist October Revolution from a communist perspective. Part of a broader history of the USSR, but by far these 3 volumes are the most important.

Revisionism and Social-Imperialism

  • Communist Party of India (Maoist). China: A Modern Social-Imperialist Power – An unofficial English translation of the exhaustive study of Chinese revisionism and social-imperialism by the Central Committee of the CPI (Maoist). The pamphlet covers the entire process of capitalist restoration and development into a modern imperialist economy, along with important figures, quotes and anecdotes of imperialist aggression and exploitation by the allegedly “socialist” Chinese state.
  • Biel Robert. Eurocentrism and the Communist Movement – As the title implies, an extensive discussion of eurocentrism within Marxism. Explores eurocentric theory and practices within the broad communist movement of past and present, and also within the works of Marx and Engels themselves, in order to motivate a genuinely anti-imperialist Marxism.
  • Yaffe, Helen. Che Guevara: The Economics of Revolution – An important work from Helen Yaffe on the, as yet untranslated, works on political economy by Che Guevara. The work serves as an in-depth criticism of not only capitalist restoration in the Soviet Union, but the parasitic nature of the western workers and its impact on their political impulses. Includes long translated quotations from Che’s notes, as well as important summaries of his points on revisionism in the Soviet Union, the New Economic Policy, the imperialist labor aristocracy and the distortion of the world communist movement by opportunists.
  • Park, Henry. Secondary Literature on the Question of the Restoration of Capitalism in the Soviet Union – An important summary and analysis of the restoration of capitalism in the USSR by former MIM Cadre, Henry Park. Includes references to many other first and secondary sources concerning capitalist restoration and the corrosion of socialism.
  • Park, Henry. Post-Revolutionary China and the Soviet NEP – Analyzes capitalist restoration in China from the standpoint of the Soviet New Economic Policy (NEP) and demonstrates the folly in believing such measures in China to be “temporary” or “harmless” as the country allegedly continues its path toward communism.
  • Honqi. More on the Differences between Comrade Togliatti and us – Composed of various articles and statements against the revisionism of the Soviet bloc aimed specifically at comrade Togliatti of the Communist Party of Italy. Excellent series of polemics that thoroughly sink the arguments of the opportunists and revisionists.
  • RAIM. First-Worldism and Revisionism – A short, yet concise work on the nature of first-worldism and its relationship to revisionism. Outlines a strategic position on both as it pertains to unity-struggle-unity and the struggle for Maoism (Third-Worldism) on the left.
  • Ajith. Against Avakianism – An impressively long and detailed polemic against the rightist deviations of Avakian and the RCPU$A, including a broad summation of the revisionist failures within RIM, and a confirmation of Maoism. This document is invaluable to Maoists in understanding both the fraught history of the RIM, and to concisely name many of the reasons we should repudiate Avakian’s cult.

National Liberation / Decolonization

  • Sayles, James Yaki. Meditations on Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth – A companion piece to Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth which not only helps one digest Fanon’s work, but also contains numerous great insights in its own right. Discusses how lessons from Wretched are still relevant today, even in the First World, and illuminates the lengths that are required in order for a people to liberate itself from oppression.
  • Sera, Kae and E. Tani. False Nationalism, False Internationalism – A study of opportunism within imperialist-country revolutionary movements, and the tendency for these movements to work against liberation struggles in the oppressed nations, either through narrow nationalism or a false “internationalism” which seeks dominance over Third World revolutionary struggles.
  • Shakur, Sanyika. Stand Up Struggle Forward: New Afrikan Revolutionary Writings On Nation, Class and Patriarchy – A collection of writings which, among other things, make a compelling case for New Afrikan national liberation as opposed to what Shakur calls “radical integration.” Also contains a poignant perspective on the connection between gender oppression and national oppression.
  • Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth – An investigation of how colonization dehumanizes native peoples, how unrest among the colonized can transform into revolutionary resistance to colonialism, and how a native people must use all means to throw off the colonizer, ultimately transforming themselves in the process.
  • Memmi, Albert. The Colonizer and the Colonized – Unpacks the effects of colonialism on both the colonizer and the colonized. A good complementary text to Fanon’s Wretched. Contains great insight into the mindset of the colonizing people, providing convincing explanations for reaction among poor colonizers.

Revolutionary Feminism

  • Bromma. Exodus and Reconstruction: Working-Class Women at the Heart of Globalization – Explores the feminization of the global labor force, and how modern capitalism is eroding traditional, family-based patriarchy while maintaining gender oppression as a crucial moment in the production of surplus value. Argues that women will have a central role in anti-capitalist movements in the 21st century.
  • Brown, Freya. Let’s Talk About Consent – A critique of the notion of “consent” as applied to sexual relations, and an introduction to what is sometimes called “sex negativity.” Discusses the dynamics of sexuality under patriarchy and the role it plays in reproducing gender oppression.
  • Brown, Qamar and Brown, Amber. On Sex Work and the Communist Mode of Production – A concise article rebuking the liberal position on sex work as it relates to communist society. Puts into very simple terms the strategic relationship between sex work, commodified labor and socialist construction.
  • Lee, Butch and Red Rover. Night-Vision: Illuminating War & Class on the Neo-Colonial Terrain – An analysis of capitalism in the neo-colonial era from a queer, feminist perspective. Maintains the Marxist thesis that the struggle of social classes is the motive force of history, but explores how class is thoroughly “burned” by gender, much as race also “burns” class. Discusses the implications of the parasitism of men upon oppressed genders.
  • MacKinnon, Catharine. Feminism, Marxism, Method, and the State: An Agenda for Theory – Puts forward a sexual theory of gender. Argues that sexuality is foundational to what constitutes womanhood and manhood, and in turn, gender oppression itself. Also makes a critique of crude attempts to synthesize Marxism and feminism.
  • MacKinnon, Catharine. Sexuality, Pornography, and Method: “Pleasure Under Patriarchy” – Discusses the social construction of sexuality, elaborates on a sexual theory of gender, and critiques the Freudian way in which sexuality is conceived in dominant discourse. Investigates how pornography reproduces the eroticized dominance internal to gender oppression.
  • Mies, Maria. Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale – Contains an historical analysis of the sexual division of labor, and of the process through which patriarchy was integrated into the capitalist system as a crucial component of it. Argues that it is absurd for Marxists to consider integration into the productive labor force a prerequisite for women’s emancipation, as women have always been central to production.
  • Smith, Andrea. Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide – Investigates the connection between sexual violence and the genocide of the indigenous people of “north america.” Uncovers how, for settlers, native bodies are viewed as “inherently rape-able,” and how rape and sexual dominance were / are internal to genocidal means employed against indigenous peoples, such as the u.s. boarding school system, environmental destruction, and gross medical mistreatment.

Philosophy

  • Engels, Friedrich. Socialism: Utopian and Scientific – A concise work rebuking the unscientific “socialism” touted by the opponents of Marxism, getting to the heart of the issue of methodology and theory.
  • Mao Zedong. On Contradiction – A brief, yet integral work on the nature of contradiction and class antagonisms. Vital to a strategic understanding of dialectical materialism, expounding upon the hierarchy of contradictions within a system and the difference between antagonistic and non-antagonistic contradictions.
  • Mao Zedong. On Practice – Vital. In the same vein as On Contradiction, specifically on dialectical-materialist epistemology, that is, the ways of the acquisitioning of knowledge.
  • Mao Zedong. On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People – Reinforces the hierarchy of contradictions in a new context with a new historical depth; a What is to be done? for when state power has already been attained.
  • Mao Zedong. Speech at the Chinese Communist Party’s National Conference on Propaganda Work – A child of the cultural revolution and on the nature of contradictions in socialism. What are its main contradictions, how are they being resolved and what ought communists to do? In this regard, Mao specifically glances over the class background of intellectuals and their role in socialism.
  • Mao Zedong. Where do Correct Ideas Come From? – An extremely short intervention by Mao on the origin of knowledge in social practice. Accessible and concise, reiterating a common logic found throughout Marxism.
  • Siraj. Postmodernism Today: A Brief Introduction – An analysis of postmodernist philosophy and ideology from an explicitly Maoist perspective, demonstrating its reactionary relationship to Marxism, and the way it digests concepts of “power” by neutralizing all strategic discussions of seizing power. Siraj uses a plethora of quotations from foundational postmodernist texts, and it can be quite rough-going if one is not familiar with them. Nevertheless it is one of the most important texts on postmodernism given its source and purpose: to vindicate the Marxist method in the 21st century.

Important Miscellaneous Classics

  • Marx, Karl. To Kugelmann – A series of letters from Marx that concisely summarize Marxist methodology, containing numerous important and axiomatic statements.
  • Marx, Karl and Engels, Friedrich. The Manifesto of the Communist Party – A book it would be impossible not to recommend, despite its questionable practical importance in the 21st century. Although the “10 planks” and many of its practical demands have either been surpassed or simply outmoded since its publication, its discussion of the history of class society and the development of capitalism in the west remains powerful and important in its brevity and conciseness.
  • Mao Zedong, Quotations from Mao Zedong – Edited and compiled by comrade Lin Biao, Mao’s “little red book” is an excellent reference guide for important and axiomatic quotations drawn from his important works, speeches and letters, organized by topic. An irreplaceable asset to serious communist revolutionaries.

Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. Under Foundations of Political Economy: where is “Capital”? The full insight of Marx is found only in Marx.

    Reply
  2. a book i’ve read recently that i would definitely recommend is “imperialism in th 21st century: globalization, super-exploitation and capitalism’s final crisis” by john smith (2016)…winner of the baran/sweezy memorial prize…

    Reply

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