We have a variety of interviews recommending books on social and political reform, some looking at ideologies of reform, others at historical movements and others looking at contemporary movements in particular countries.
On the ideological side, Professor Ruth Kinna looks at anarchist thought, as it developed from the 19th century and into the 20th century. Ellen Wayland-Smith, a descendant of John Humphrey Noyes, the founder of the utopian Oneida community, and the economist John Quiggin both select their best books on Utopia. Journalist Maria Sveland covers at feminism and US Congressman Keith Ellison progressivism.
Turning to individual countries, former US union boss Andy Stern chooses books about bringing change to America. Economist Austin Frakt covers US healthcare reform and activist Van Jones, in an interview conducted prior to the election of President Trump, looks at change in America and the legacy of President Obama. It still makes for interesting reading.
British politician David Owen looks at constitutional reform in the UK and the constitutional expert Vernon Bogdanor considers electoral reform. Richard Baum looks at obstacles to political reform in China. On broader economic themes, the journalist and writer, Anatole Kaletsky thinks about a new capitalism and Robert Reich ponders saving capitalism and democracy.
'Anarchism', in the Encyclopaedia Britannica
by Peter Kropotkin
Gates of Freedom: Voltairine de Cleyre and the Revolution of the Mind
by Eugenia C. DeLamotte
The Slavery of Our Times
by Leo Tolstoy
Autonomy, Solidarity, Possibility: The Colin Ward Reader
by Chris Wilbert, Colin Ward & Damian F. White
Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1870-1940
by Lucien van der Walt & Steven Hirsch
Sometimes vilified, often misunderstood, rarely taught in universities, anarchism is a political philosophy and social movement that’s far removed from today’s mainstream politics. But it was and remains a powerful motivator. Political theorist Ruth Kinna talks us through the best books to read to get a better understanding of anarchism.
“Do not ask who I am and do not ask me to remain the same,” wrote Michel Foucault; a brilliant transdisciplinarian whose work spanned philosophy, history, social theory and literary criticism. He mined past ways of thinking so as to see present-day assumptions and practices afresh, explains the philosopher Gary Gutting.
The late China specialist and UCLA professor said sometimes he felt genuine admiration for China’s technocratic leaders. Other days he shook his head at their obsessive intransigence and China’s endemic political insecurity
Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story
by Martin Luther King Jr
The Autobiography of Malcolm X
by Malcolm X and assisted by Alex Haley, Laurence Fishburne (narrator)
The Two-Income Trap
by Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Tyagi
by Jacob S Hacker and Paul Pierson
by Jim Wallis
As American congressman Keith Ellison—the first Muslim elected to Congress—enters the race to chair the Democratic National Committee, reread this interview on the cause he stands for: progressivism — and the best books to read to fully understand it.
Paul Kingsnorth, co-founder of the Dark Mountain project, urges the need for uncivilisation: the process of getting beyond our human assumptions, such as the myth of unfailing linear progress. It is about looking at humanity in the wider context of the whole planet, and the imminent ecological crisis.
It’s not the first period in history that American society has suffered from a crisis of inequality. Former labour secretary, Robert Reich, recommends books to help us understand the response of previous generations to the same kinds of challenges we now face.
Cecile Richards, American pro-choice activist and former president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, discusses the stories of struggle and resilience that have inspired her and can give encouragement to others seeking change