Five books every socialist should read 

Derek Wall

 Derek Wall is a member of the national executive of the Green Party

Well five hundred would be easier, the fundamentals that capitalism is innately destructive because it enslaves, alienates and is ecologically destructive, the importance of commons regimes and the need for class struggle are not neatly presented in one book but here are some I found useful.

Do or Die! is an extraordinary revolutionary handbook, this is a gateway into a different world, you will never look back after reading...all 364 pages now open source for free. Revolutionary eco politics can, rather than vague environmental sentiment, be invisible , here is a good way in. 

Capital vol 1. Marx is essential, far wittier, ecologically savvy and 21st century than most on the left. The essential distinction between use values and exchange values allows us to build a world which is low on waste and high on meeting human needs (see ch. 10, everything is in Marx if you read him. When my children were bored with Harry Potter, I opened up Capital vol. 1 and found the footnote about ancient Romans toilet taxes that made them laugh. Marx will eventually out compete Hayek because he is open source 

The Enemy of Nature. Joel Kovel. Zed. 2002. Not alas open source, while there have been many books on ecosocialism from Alan Roberts The Self-managing Environment to Raymond Williams Socialism and Ecology, this is the best, philosophically grounded and carefully argued, it shows that economic growth cannot continue without wrecking the planet and that capitalism with its growth/profit/greed imperative is our enemy. 

The Eagleton Reader (Blackwell Readers) Terry Eagleton 1997......Terry Eagleton shows that Marxism at its best is a subtle, thoughtful, beautiful way of thinking, doubt everything proclaimed Marx, too often socialism is dogma. Eagleton writes about the most complex of issues with clarity.

The Greening of the Revolution: Cuba's Experiment with Organic Agriculture Peter Rosset (Editor), Medea Benjamin . Ocean Press. 1995. Cuba is showing the way in terms of practical ecosocialism, the special period when the Cuban economy nearly collapsed as cheap oil from the USSR ceased flowing led to the creation of an organic, environmentally sensitive way of life. This approach is now being applied, at least for agricultural, in Venezuela. Having visited Caracas it is obvious that 'ecosocialismo' is popular and practical in South America.



March 2006

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