After a recent conversation with my dad, I decided to capture in one short post a reading list for anyone interested in future strategies for the modern left.
First for the long view analysis of where we are and how we got here, start with Robert Brenner’s “The Economics of Global Turbulence” (which I wrote a post about a short while ago) and a superb article by Wolfgang Streeck in New Left Review.
For some philosophical underpinning this article by Slavoj Zizek from 2000 with it’s critique of the “third way”, foreseeing it’s failure and the subsequent delivery of the working class to the far right. Also his “Living in the End Times“.
For the impact of this on practical politics and how the changes in the economy have changed politics on the left Owen Jones’ “Chavs” and Richard Seymour’s “Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics”.
And for what a programme for the modern left might look like, how it might be built, and what theory and technology need to underpin it Paul Mason’s “Postcapitalism” and Srnicek and Williams “Inventing the Future”. For a slightly more philosophical approach to the need for a modern left see “Crowds and Party” by Jodi Dean.
For what’s at stake and what might happen if we get it wrong try Peter Frase’s “Four Futures”.
And if you only read one book from the list, make it “Inventing the Future”, which is a truly superb analysis of where the left is and what it might do next.
It is worth pointing out that I don’t at present feel that Corbyn and those currently in charge of the Labour party are in tune with the thinking in these books at all. In fact they seem keener on re-fighting the battles of past years, a strategy surely bound to fail.
- Paul Mason, Postcapitalism (Penguin, 2016).
- Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams, Inventing the Future (Verso, 2015).
- Robert Brenner, The Economics of Global Turbulence (Verso, 2006).
- Owen Jones, Chavs (Verso, 2016).
- Richard Seymour, Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics (Verso, 2016).
- Slavoj Zizek, Living in the End Times (Verso, 2010).
- Jodi Dean, Crowds and Party (Verso, 2016).
- Peter Frase, Four Futures (Verso, 2016).