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u/StarTrackFan · 10 pointsr/socialism

Okay, here is a copy/paste of a comment I made previously:

"The Principles of Communism" by Friedrich Engels was an early draft of the Manifesto that many feel is actually easier to understand. I still recommend reading the manifesto as well if you haven't yet.

Why Socialism? By Albert Einstein and The Soul of Man Under Socialism by Oscar Wilde are two short, simple, and very eloquent introductory essays that everyone should read.

"Marx for Beginners" by Rius is an illustrated book explaining the history and basics of Marx's ideas. I know it sounds absurd that it's basically like a comic book, but it seriously does a great job of concisely stating a lot of the basics. I recommend it to all beginners.

"Socialism: Utopian and Scientific" by Engels. It outlines socialism and distinguishes the scientific socialism of Marx/Engels from the utopian socialism that preceded it.

"Proposed Roads to Freedom: Socialism, Anarchism and Syndicalism" by Bertrand Russell analyzes several different leftist views and their origins. Russell has a simple, reasonable way of explaining things. I don't agree with him on everything, but he does his best to be fair when explaining things and it is a valuable introductory work.

"The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State" by Engels. This does what it says on the tin.

One of the best things to get is the Marx-Engels Reader. It contains "Socialism: Utopian and Scientific" and many of the other works by Marx and Engels that I and others mention. (Here it is for free)

Everything I've listed so far, with the exception of "Principles of Scientific Socialism" and "Roads To Freedom" is a pretty short read.

Here's some slightly more advanced reading:

"Wage Labor and Capital" and "Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right" by Marx

"The Holy Family" by Marx and Engels

State and Revolution by Lenin

Once you're informed enough, it's definitely worth is to read through Marx's Capital with these David Harvey lectures as a guide.

Also, this guy's youtube channel has been a great help to me. I've especially found his series on the Law of Value to be very useful lately but he has tons of great videos. His videos on manufacturing consent, crisis, commodities, and credit are just a few good examples. If you go to his website you can see a list of all his videos on the right hand side. He's certainly not perfect, but he's helped me to learn a lot and helped to point me to other resources as well.

Edit: Found free copies of Marx for Beginners and Marx-Engels reader, added links. Now I link to free copies of every work I mention but one. Free education, comrades!

Edit2: I've rearranged this some and tried to order it better. I removed one book since it's hard to find and out of print but here's the description I had of it:

"Principles of Scientific Socialism" by Philip Sharnoff. I haven't been able to find this book to order online... maybe it's out of print, but I picked it up at a used book store and it's pretty great. It concisely explains all about Marxism, Leninism and modern socialist movements. I like it because he uses more or less plain English and gets straight to the point. It even goes into basic history about the Russian and Chinese Revolution, the USSR and the cold war. It's really fantastic. I'm sure there are other books that do this and if anyone knows of them, let me know. I'd love to find one to recommend that is in print.

u/macshot7m · 8 pointsr/socialism

yes, but who built the machines? this is why marx says that capitalists fetishize technological innovation.

yes, the idea is that labor is the only commodity available in the market which produces surplus value. Value, in marx, is defined as 'socially necessary labor time.' one should never lose sight of this definition and confuse value with either the money form of capital or which capital sui generis.

also, let us look at the reason why machines do not produce (absolute) surplus value, but only relative surplus value. machines, again, are commodities and as such are available to the market (or at least portions of it). Let us assume a certain business invests in a $25,000 machine which will eliminate several jobs, saving the company $50,000 a year. wow, thats really great, now the company can be more competitive with their pricing or, at the very least, will have a greater surplus this year. but what happens when this company's competitors start investing in these similar machines, and start undercutting our hypothetical company's profit margin. well now we see that the surplus value that the machine created was really only relative to that singular company. over time, as the machine or technological solution (or new organizational structure, or new process, or new space....) becomes the norm of the industry, the surplus value diminishes and it becomes an assumed cost of doing business.

marx again is making a class or macro-economic argument here: he does not care too much about singular capitalists making larger profits (he does in the sense that they are useful for his data on capitalists society), he is concerned with how a class of persons is able to exploit another class. within the capitalist class, yes, some are able to gain a better competitive advantage over other capitalists by being the first to utilize the latest technological achievement; however, that advantage will either spread to the entire industry as a commonplace necessity, or the company will begin to monopolize the industry.

labor as a surplus value producing commodity is useful for the entire capital class over the working class. it is the law of economics in general that labor must produce and it is the only thing capable of turning raw (or semi-raw) materials into use values. it is the law of capitalism that to produce a profit one must hire workers at a salary less than the sum of your revenue.

i would suggest reading some david harvey. he is a contemporary and really does a fantastic job at explaining marxism for the 21st century. i suggest either a companion to marx's capital vol i or the enigma of capital. the former address your question specifically in chapter 6 'relative surplus value'.

let me know if any of this is unclear or if you would like to discuss further. cheers and happy new year comrade.

u/StandupPhilosopher · 1 pointr/socialism

> That's called capitalism. The owners of each firm are capitalists - they are investing their capital in order to maximize their profits.

One of the central tenets of any type of socialism --and I'd argue that its the primary one-- is worker control of the means of production, whether this is via the state, worker cooperatives, trade unions or in common by all of society. Whether this is done is a market economy or not is irrelevant to calling it socialism.

"The market" is just a mechanism, and neither intrinsically socialist nor capitalist. Socialism and capitalism primarily ask the question: "WHO owns the means of production?" That's it.

> Imagine a factory in your scenario that produces dialysis machines. Since they are a for-profit firm, and earn profits on each machine they sell, they will only provide their machines to sick and dying people who have the money to pay up.
According to you, this is "socialism".

Except in my scenario, the state would provide universal healthcare (including dialysis machines, catheters, medical butt plugs, etc) to all its citizens, making your point moot.

> Everyone is a worker. If the workers never truly cared about profits, how do you explain the widespread existence of capitalism?

I really hate to putting things this bluntly, but from what you're telling me, you know absolutely jack about socialism. Think I'm wrong? You currently have NO positive comment karma in this entire thread. Why is that? Hell, you've even managed to go below the comment threshold.

Prove to me that, under capitalism, workers generally care how much profit the company pulls in. Workers care about keeping their jobs, their benefits, and getting regular raises. Beyond that, why should they care?

Capitalism's "widespread existence" is attributed to many factors, including capitalism's intrinsic greed and need for a workforce, workers' need to not starve to death, the base's influence on the superstructure and the superstructure's subsequent influence on the base, etc.

> Then why do so many people buy lottery tickets, or spend years getting an education in order to earn more money?

Jesus. Because in modern society, especially in America, only wealth can bring a dignified existence (which I define to mean an existence in which one has their needs met to the point where one is free to maximize their personal potential). There are few good social safety nets, and so in order to not live like a glorified rat, a large income is required. Under socialism, workers would own the means of production and get a larger slice of the pie, larger benefits, a large safety net, etc (under a market economy) or have all of their needs met under a non-profit, "use-value" economy (under "regular" socialism).

> Unbelievable. How the hell can you possibly believe that what you are describing has anything whatsoever to do with socialism.

I can possibly believe that what I am describing has anything to do with socialism because I've actually read about socialism! (I especially like the selective editing, in which you declined to include my explanation that goes much more in-depth than just "Let's hope so".)

You, on the other hand, sound like you haven't read anything on the topic short of some Rage Against the Machine lyrics. That being said, here's some recommended introductory texts:

Marx for Beginners -- an excellent book that does a great job of distilling Marx's philosophical, economic, and revolutionary aspects into an easy-to-digest format.


Types of socialism

Market Socialism

Socialist Economics

I sincerely and genuinely hope that you'll check out the above links. You're a bit confused about some of the definitions, and educating yourself a bit more on the topic can only benefit you.

u/emnot3 · 10 pointsr/socialism

As /u/t8nlink has already suggested but what I think is worth reiterating is using /r/communism101, which will likely become the most important sub to you for learning about socialism and communism.

In my opinion, the best start to Marxian economics is Kapitalism101's Law of Value series on YouTube. These videos are highly accessible, easy to understand, and fun (at least compared to other resources of Marxist knowledge). /u/audiored has linked to Kapitalism101's WordPress blog, which is an essential supplement to the videos.

/u/Moontouch has linked to Richard Wolff's Introduction to Marxism series on YouTube - you should check it out.

You should probably also look over the Welcome to Socialism page on the /r/socialism wiki, as well as the Suggested Readings.

Eventually, you're going to want to read Das Kapital. If you want to read it as a .pdf, here's the link to the file, but if you prefer a hard copy, I recommend the Penguin Classics edition. But don't feel at all pressured to read it just yet - it is a very dense work.

If you have any questions, please feel free to shoot me a PM anytime. I'm pretty busy most of the time, but I'll make sure to set some time aside.

u/JayRaow · 3 pointsr/socialism

There are a couple of good textbooks I am aware of:

The links to Gouverneur's textbook are here

You may also want to check out Wolff's own textbook authored with Stephen Resnick, entitled Economics: Marxian versus Neoclassical. (If you want to have a look through it I'm pretty sure the pdf is on Apparently he is a publishing an updated edition sometime this year, but I am yet to see any details of that happening.

Also, you've probably heard this many times before, but if you want to get into Marxian economics, I highly suggest you start out by purchasing a copy of Vol. 1 of Capital and going through it alongside David Harvey's lecture series which is also invaluable (everyone on /r/socialism probably knows Harvey but i'm not sure if they're all aware of his lectures). ALSO You would probably like to grab A Companion to Marx's Capital - It's probably the most recent and thorough introduction to capital you could ask for and goes great with the lectures if you want more detail.

While I'm on a role here, you would probably benefit from reading The Enigma of Capital: And the Crises of Capitalism, Harvey has a great interpretation of the "GFC" and goes through a great overview of how capital works.

Other than that I highly suggest you watch Kapitalism101's bibliography videos here. I've found his knowledge and extensive bibliography of recommendations of Marxian economics books extremely invaluable.

u/arjun10 · 3 pointsr/socialism

You might get some people here to read your manuscript, but its generally a lost cause to get visibility for personal writing unless you already have a reputation for good writing.

Anyways, I'll just recommend you some additional reading on socialism. Be sure to check out the suggested readings list from the sidebar, and in particular these two that I recommend:

  • Albert Einstein's Why Socialism?
  • Oscar Wilde's The Soul of Man Under Socialism

    Also, if you are up for some really heavy, but really well written books, I can't recommend Postcolonialism: An Historical Introduction enough. The book is a brilliant narrative that shatters all illusions one might have about the monolithic/simplistic nature of Marxism and socialism, as well as the centrality of European philosophy and ideology in the grander schemes of the world. I think its a fantastic book to lay bare the complexities of ideology, the role that capitalism and colonialism have played in shaping the modern world, and the way that theory mixes with practice in the context of the anti-colonial struggles.
u/geargirl · 3 pointsr/socialism

The first and hardest concept to grasp is that socialism is only an economic system. It is often conflated with the political system, communism, but both are very broad. Wikipedia's article is actually very good for an overview.

The question that neturally arises from an overview of socialism is, "well, how would we implement this so we can enjoy [insert level of quality of life]?" And that is a very involved discussion.

I've also found that Michael Harrington's Socialism: Past and Future to be a good read, but I'm sure there are others here that could recommend better books.

u/Talksintext · 7 pointsr/socialism

I lived and worked in Vietnam for 4 years recently, my wife is from there, I will also give my input despite not being OP.

Vietnam is increasingly capitalistic. The national government does heavily control the economy and there are massive SOEs there, but most businesses are definitely capitalistic, with a small number of owners running the business like a typical feudalistic Western corporation and likewise taking massively inequal pay from it.

Businesses where an owner lives in a million dollar villa and the typical employee makes $250 a month and has 0 say in the management of the business is 100% a capitalist structure. And that's basically every business, except I don't know much about the SOE structures. I do know that Vietnam recently went through a similar "financialization crisis" due to similar financial hijinks with some of their SOEs as you'd expect with any old corrupt capitalist industry to have.

Most businesses are indeed small, family-run enterprises, something of a fuzzy middle ground between socialism and capitalism, but any successful business is basically capitalist in structure.

Vietnam is a (heavily corrupt) market economy where wealth begets wealth and private ownership (technically via the state) allows for runaway inequality.

This is a pretty good book on the situation:

u/IllusiveObserver · 29 pointsr/socialism

The issue of female liberation in relation to socialism has been written about since the first conceptions of the idea of socialism; Frederick Engels, Karl Marx's colleague, wrote about it in The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State. That's the introduction to socialist feminism as a whole, and the main work of Marxist feminism.

There is a bit of a debate about the role feminism plays as an individual struggle. Some socialists believe that by abolishing capitalism the feminist issues will be solved, so it does not have to be attended to as its own individual issue. When the USSR formed, that certainly wasn't the case; while there were many great strides forward there were also setbacks. When females proposed a restructuring of the traditional familial structure, and proposed changes to the role of women in households, there was political backlash. Alongside this, feminist groups outside of the established government group were not allowed. Subsequently the USSR restricted abortion and divorce. The manifestations of feminism in Leninist countries is a huge topic. There have been different experiences in Cuba and the People's Republic of China.

This book is a nice introduction to socialism. It covers socialism's beginnings in the 18th century, how it developed during the 20th century, the role that ecological issues and feminist issues play a role in its theory, and the future of socialism. It covers most of its important figures through two centuries.

The book doesn't do enough justice to the Anarchist movement and its feminist leaders however. This is relevant particularly because of the abolition of hierarchy that Anarchists want, and the continuation of many patriarchal and hierarchical structures in many 20th century socialist countries. In this respect, learning about the female liberation movement of Anarchist Spain during the 30's would interesting. Here is a movie about the role of women during that movement. You should do a bit of reading about the context before you dive right in though.

So with that, I'll leave you with the works of Alexandra Kollantai, the first director of the women's department of the USSR, and Emma Goldman, who is probably the most prominent female Anarchist from the US. By reading the book I recommended above, you'll learn much more about feminist figures within the socialist movement.

You should take a look at the communism, anarchism, and feminism subreddits. The anarchism and communism subreddits have an unbelievable amount of resources on their sidebars, and I'm sure it will be of some use to you.

Put plainly though, most socialists that don't see the use of feminist struggles outside of socialist struggles aren't respected on this subreddit. I know a bit about how you feel being a minority within socialists groups; while I'm a male, I'm black and most socialist gatherings I've been to are white. It's still something I don't know how to feel about to be honest. I've still much to learn.

u/overlordRush · 2 pointsr/socialism

[here]( I, Chapter 1) is book one, and you can find book 2,3 on that site as well. there are also free audiobooks of Capital here. Happy reading and good luck!

Edit: you can find the hard copy on amazon but getting all 3 books are going to cost you around $40 + shipping, but you should be a good Marxist and read them online for free.

u/play_a_record · 1 pointr/socialism

Michael Harrington's Socialism: Past and Future is an excellent primer (though it assumes some familiarity with the topic and players at hand). I don't know that there can be a "best" book on socialism, but that's generally what I recommend to friends.

Harrington isn't primarily concerned with picking apart capitalism here, and it won't serve as a refutation of Friedman if that's what you're looking for -- it stays basically within the bounds of what the title suggests -- but it's a well-written, valuable read nevertheless.

u/EbDim9 · 1 pointr/socialism

Although I can't think of any free articles or videos off the top of my head, this is a nice, short book that covers a lot of what you have questions about. Cohen is an amazingly clear writer, and while it is certainly not comprehensive, it will give you a good overview of the issues, and some further places to start looking for these answers.

u/A_pfankuchen_Krater · 4 pointsr/socialism

There are many threads similar to this one, you might want to search for them in addition to what people are willing to post in this thread:

For a first intake of libertarian socialism:

"Basic Bakunin" by the UK Anarchist Federation

If you are interested in marxian tendencies of libertarian socialism:

"Theory and practice: an introduction to Marxian theory" by Root and Branch

To get more into moderate forms of socialism, where you seem to be at the moment if I look at your flair, read this:

"Why not Socialism?" by G.A. Cohen

or this:

"Why Marx was right" by Terry Eagleton

You might also be interested in one of the absolute classics of marxism:

"The Communist Manifesto" by Marx/Engels

You can find it online here

For a more "in depth" look at libertarian socialism, you can also look at Kropotkins main work:

"The Conquest of Bread" by Kropotkin

also available online on libcom

If you want a quick way to understand the revolutionary history of early 20th century Europe, you can also listen to this lecture series by left communist Lauren Goldner:

Goldner on: German Revolution, Luxemburg and Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky

Or you might be interested in socialist fiction to immerse yourself in the utopian ideas fleshed out by past and present comrades:

50 SciFi and Fantasy works every Socialist should read

To get a first impression of up-to-date marxian enonomic analysis of todays society, you can always listen to "Economic update" by Richard D. Wolff.

To further your understanding of socialism, you should also take a look at socialist feminism, maybe with this work (one click hoster!):

Liese Vogel: Marxism and the Oppression of Women /attention: new book hosted on a one click hoster ;)

To get further reading ideas and recs regarding problems like imperialism, fascism, biologism, critical psychology, materialist history etc. etc., you may want to check the Revolutionary Reading Guide

Knock yourself out, comrade!

u/somewhathungry333 · 2 pointsr/socialism


Our brains are much worse at reality and thinking than thought. Science on reasoning:

"Intended as an internal document. Good reading to understand the nature of rich democracies and the fact that the common people are not allowed to play a role."

Crisis of democracy

Manufacturing consent (book)

Protectionism for the rich and big business by state intervention, radical market interference.

Energy subsidies

Manufacturing consent:

Testing theories of representative government

Democracy Inc

For your interest:

The Citibank memo

US distribution of wealth

u/Illin_Spree · 1 pointr/socialism

Schweikart's "After Capitalism" offers a critique of capitalism, arguments why socialism would do better, and a practical vision of how we might take concrete steps toward socialism. It is written with activists in mind and doesn't require alot of background knowledge.

Harrington's "Socialism Past and Future" is an outstanding historical and theoretical discussion of how socialists have interpreted 'socialism' and what the future of 'socialism' might be.

This piece by Bakunin is a pretty good introduction to what the First International socialists believed in and were trying to bring into fruition. This was the ideology of the Commanards, prior to the division of socialism into anarchist and state socialist camps. Other pieces by Bakunin, including "God and the State", are classics and can be found in the archive below.

u/FrznFury · 1 pointr/socialism

No, I'm objecting to the fact that we assign the greatest currency value to the labor of those who produce the least use-value.

As for the rest, I'll tell you exactly why it matters.

Take all the imaginary currency out of the equation. Does your CEO have a useful skill that can be applied to the (actual, not financial) benefit of mankind? No? What the fuck is he being paid for, then?

A steamfitter makes a difference in the world, as does a cook, a nurse, a midwife, and a biomedical engineer. All of these people, if financial instruments were to simply cease to exist, have value and add value to the world with their labor.

That is use-value. When your labor actually serves some kind of purpose other than pissing about with money, then you create use-value.

Might I suggest an excellent book, if you would like some real understanding of the topic?

u/arjun101 · 6 pointsr/socialism

Goddamn, this is just too good....hahaha

Side note, if anybody is interested in reading a thorough history of the CIA/Saudi/Pakistani jihad in Afghanistan, check out Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 (2004) by Steve Coll. It is not a socialist or Marxist analysis, but it is an absolutely brilliant overview of the covert war and its connections with larger geopolitical changes, internal dynamics within the various governments and the logic and rationale that guided their actions, etc. It got widespread acclaim from a variety of different quarters, and won the Pulitzer Prize.

u/HoneyD · 8 pointsr/socialism

I'm glad you asked! This Che manga was absolutely hilarious to read. Really goofy stuff.

This comic about Lenin was pretty cool too, though it was a lot more educational than the last one. There's also one on Marx by the same publishing company.

u/xNuckingFutz · 8 pointsr/socialism

I used to call people out on their preconceptions and bullshit. I tend not to anymore, unless they seem capable of seeing something from another point of view. Holding firm to your views and using facts to quash counter arguments is your best bet. If that doesn't work you need to give up, no amount of logic is going to sway them.

I also copy and paste previous comments I have made, 9/10 I can get them to fit into a counter argument and you don't get emotionally drained by typing up a response.

But if you insist on being a masochist here are my go to rebuttals....

My top three most annoying things capitalists say to me.

At number three we have the classic:

"Face it socialism failed get over it"- my go to response is this. No system is implemented overnight the transition from feudalism to capitalism wasn't spontaneous it took years of struggle for capitalism to win out. the capitalists took ground and lost ground, learned from their mistakes and eventually overcame the system that came before.

Coming in at number two:

"look how successful capitalism is compared to socialism "- you can use various arguments on this one.

  • 8 economic downturns in the past century suggest that capitalism isn't as successful as you are being led to think.
  • higher wages are a thing of the past. The computer, the ever increasing automation of production, the transferal of jobs overseas, the introduction of women into the labour force all mean that there is a huge surplus in the workforce now. These well paid jobs were only ever there because of the demand for labour, this is no longer the case
    a capitalist can pay what ever he wants as there are a 100 people waiting in line for your job.
  • when 1% of the population owns 50% of the wealth that isn't a success.
  • most of the great inventions trumpeted as huge successes of capitalism are due to huge funding from the government. Huge advancements made in technology are down to public funding, capitalists hate risk the only way to get them to innovate is to make sure it's not their money being spent. The internet, the algorithm Google uses etc were all created using government funds. Read this book and you will have plenty of counter arguments

    And finally, you guessed it folks, number one:

    "why do you want to take all my stuff and put me in a gulag"

    If you can manage to unroll your eyes a direct quote of what socialism actually is, is a good start.

u/thouliha · 3 pointsr/socialism

here's the content of the gist:

Credit to /u/gab91, /r/socialism, /r/socialism_101, /r/communism101 :

Socialism is an economic and social system defined by social ownership of the means of production. (Workers democratically own and operate the places in which they work, as opposed to private control of production aka capitalism)

The means of production are non-human inputs that create economic value, such as factories, workplaces, industrial machinery, etc. The means of production are the means of life. Socialists refer to the means of production as capital, or private property. Private property in the socialist context shouldn't be confused with personal property, such as your home, car, computer, and other possessions.

In a capitalist society the means of production are owned and controlled privately, by those that can afford them (the capitalist aka those with capital). Production is carried out to benefit the capitalist (production for profit). Workers are paid a wage, and receive that amount regardless of how much value they produce. Socialists call this difference the surplus, IE (value produced - wage paid). A 1983 report by England national income and expenditures found that on average, 26 minutes of every hour worked(or 43% of labor value added) by english workers across a wide range of industries went to various exploiting or unproductive groups, with workers receiving only 57% of their pre-tax productive output as wages.

Wage workers are completely dependent on selling their labor power to those in control of production in order to gain access to the necessities of life (money for food, shelter, clothing, etc). Its similarities to chattel slavery has lead many to term wage work as wage slavery, with voluntary employment being simply a false choice between one exploiter or another.

Many Marxists call the totalitarian regimes typically called socialist, as more correctly defined as State Capitalism, since production was controlled by state bureaucracies who also distributed the surplus, rather than through the democratic input of workers.

Capitalism evolved historically out of feudalism, which itself evolved out of slave societies, all three being dependent on a dominant class receiving the surplus of a subordinate class.

Communism is the highest developed stage of socialism wherein there is no state, no money, no class system. The means of production are owned by all and provide for everyone's needs. There are also presumably high levels of automation so most do not have to work.

Socialism can't exist within a capitalist system, much like capitalism can't exist within a socialist system. There is either private ownership of the means of production or there isn't. Many socialists point to directly democratic worker’s councils as an ideal way to organize production.

Past and present socialist/anarchist societies include - Revolutionary Catalonia, Anarchist Aragon, Shinmin Province in Korea/Manchuria, Free Territory of Ukraine, The Bavarian Soviet Republic, The Paris Commune, The Zapatista controlled areas of Chiapas (current day), Magonista Baja California, Shanghai People's Commune, Rojava (current day), etc

Private ownership of the means of production was established through force and private tyranny, and is only upheld through force. The state is an instrument of class domination which (in capitalist society) exercises a monopoly on violence to forcibly maintain the right to private property. The modern state developed alongside the emergent capitalist system as the bourgeoisie seized political and economic control. It arises from the irreconcilable class antagonisms that exist in society.

Socialism as an economic system is distinct from neoliberalism, as well as social democracy/Welfare state capitalism, which aims to band-aid the ills of capitalism while leaving the exploitation inherent in wage slavery intact.

Revolutionary vs Evolutionary socialism, Economic planning with labor vouchers vs. Market socialism, are a few debated topics within socialism.


Introductory videos:

3 minute intro to Marxism

10 minute intro to Karl Marx --- (Reminder for newcomers that private property refers exclusively to the means of production, not your home and other possessions which are considered personal property)

Introduction to Marxism by Professor Richard D. Wolff (absolutely essential, the best video we can show newcomers to socialism)

Socialism for Dummies by Professor Richard D. Wolff (necessary for north americans)

Against Capitalism by Jerry Cohen

Introduction to Anarchism by Noam Chomsky

Chomsky on capitalism #1

Chomsky on capitalism #2

Chomsky on american or right-libertarianism

Here is a list of some more Chomsky videos <--- Capitalist exploitation explained

Modern introductory books:

Danny Katch - Socialism…. Seriously

Paul D’Amatto - the meaning of Marxism

More books / essays:

Albert Einstein - Why Socialism?

Engels - Principles of Communism (A great glossary of socialist terms)

Engels - Socialism: Utopian and Scientific

Rosa Luxemburg - Reform or Revolution

Lenin - State and Revolution

Eugene Debs - Capitalism and Socialism

Academic books on potential socialist economics, planned economies, and market socialism:

Cottrell - Towards a New Socialism

David Schweikart - After Capitalism

Socialist films:

Reds(1981), Salt of the Earth(1954), Pride(2014), Snowpiercer(2013)

u/Adahn5 · 1 pointr/socialism

There's also Rius' Marx for Beginners It's cute and non-confrontational, it's also relatively simple to understand to the uninitiated, and of course it's funny as heck x3

You could also get them some Smurfs comic books xD

u/alexgmcm · 1 pointr/socialism

A Very Short Introduction to Socialism (don't worry I'm not profiting from the gains of the global capitalist pig-dog by using a referral link as I don't know how they work :P ) is pretty good.

u/modulus · 20 pointsr/socialism

On the economic side, there's a fair amount to choose from:

u/[deleted] · 2 pointsr/socialism

A Brief History of Neoliberalism was the book I started with, it's pretty good and somewhat predicts the global collapse in 2007/2008, but I'm just waiting to order Capital In The 21st Century for a more up to date analysis of inequality and the consequences of such a system, Along with The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone

u/mrxulski · 4 pointsr/socialism

>And why the hell do we keep on ignoring government ineffectiv and wasteful spending?

Who is "ignoring" this and why not "go after" wasteful spending in the private sector? Why stop there? Maybe we could establish more democratic forms of workplace management. We can hold the "private sector" more accountable if workers have unions to bargain with corporate. Unions lost bargaining power. It needs to come back in a radical way. Only socialism can do it. A revolution needs to occur.

The Hackers, a book by Walter Isaacson, details how public funding helped Google and Microsoft get established. Bill Gates stole tens of thousands of dollars of tax payer dollars to learn to code BASIC. The founders of Google stole millions of dollars worth of internet bandwidth from Stanford.Computers, the internet, and even phones have all benefited from substantial public funding.


>And of the top 88 innovations rated by R&D Magazine as the most important between 1971 and 2006, economists Fred Block and Matthew Keller have found that 77 were the beneficiaries of substantial federal research funding, particularly in early stage development.

Funny how corporations always steal from both the government and people, but then when Bernie Sanders holds them accountable, people have backlash and want to protect billionaires like Zuckerkorn.

u/Wunishikan · 6 pointsr/socialism

A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn is good, although it talks more about the history of labor and oppression in the US than about what socialism itself is. Still, it's quite eye-opening, and this was the book that turned me.

u/undergradgnome · 2 pointsr/socialism

The Communist Manifesto can be found free on the internet,
and this is a fundamental companion to the Das Capital, which is one of the most scathing critiques labeled against Capitalism and how it functions. I have read it multiple times, once with Das Capital itself. It is very well written.

u/LeonardNemoysHead · 1 pointr/socialism

There have been plenty of reasons for people to arm themselves. Usually it's for protection against the police. If that's how people choose to defend themselves from genuine existing armed threats (like the police) then we need to respect that out of solidarity.

This Nonviolent Stuff'll Get You Killed makes a really good case for this. It wasn't just the Black Panthers, there were armed guards taking shifts outside MLK's home.

u/Denny_Craine · 1 pointr/socialism

there's actually a very good (and short) comic out there called Marx for Beginners which is a real basic intro to the philosophical and historical origins of Marxism (describing Hegel, and the basic ideas of historical materialism, going into how it shaped Marx's ideas on socialism), I'd recommend it highly for anyone whose just getting into socialist theory.

u/ZIBANG · 2 pointsr/socialism

I don't identify as any particular brand of ideology, just a moral person who's come to certain conclusions about capitalism and mankind.

War won't be gotten rid of as long as capitalism exists, war is for profit. A good read would be smedley butlers "War is a racket".

I don't think anyone can study the history of war and come out with a positive view of the for profit model of society. Current societies act like recessions and wars are like 'the weather'. They are expected, planned and artificially induced by powerful people with money. The whole stock market and law is rigged.

You simply cannot dislodge or correct the system. I'll give you an example from the videogame industry and copyright in general.

Why can't gamers own their own games? because corporations have absolute authoritarian control of the law. All new AAA games for the PC are going F2P/MMO. Especially after the massive sales of diablo 3, everyone wants to lock down software to the internet. The just released path of exile takes advantage of the tech illiterate irrational audience for profit. If they ever shut down their 'free to play' game that is money gone forever and nothing to show for it.

Money and property endlessly expand and cant' be kept in check by the law. Copyright law being absolute proof 'you can't fix capitalism'

Now if you lost every single time 10 times in a row after preaching "we just need to fix capitalism" or 'we just need free'r markets' you'd think those people were fucking deluded and ignorant.

u/mcmk3 · 2 pointsr/socialism

I'd personally start with a few videos, then work your way into literature. The literature I suggest below is intentionally easy to read.

u/shroom_throwaway9722 · 1 pointr/socialism

It looks like you're Christian, so I will recommend that you read this article

I also suggest getting this book

u/NonHomogenized · 1 pointr/socialism

Most of the suggestions in this thread are specifically socialism from a marxist perspective. I think you might find Socialism: Past and Future by Michael Harrington an engaging and insightful read on socialism from another perspective.

u/NaturalSelectionDied · 1 pointr/socialism

I got a book from a yard sale called "The Marx-Engels Reader" and it has a huge amount of their works compiled.

u/theCardiffGiant · 2 pointsr/socialism

I think r/socialism got a lot of newbies today from the r/bestof link.

I'm highly critical of capitalism, and as far as that goes I was very interested in this sub. Now that I see people will be downvoted and condescended to for offering an opposing viewpoint, I can't say I really plan on spending more time here. Shame on you, r/socialism.

u/todoloco16 gave a pretty good response. My only addition to his comment is a little more subjective. I'm of the opinion that there are many forms of poverty. Determining human happiness based on GDP or GNP is an enormous oversimplification. That viewpoint certainly would assume a poor quality of life in many places where ethnographic accounts show us quite the opposite. I'm not sure if that was the case for China, but honestly I would be surprised if the average rural villager (excluding factors such as war) was happier than her grandfather. If someone is more informed than myself on early 20th century China, please jump in.

I base some of these opinions on Harvey's Brief History of Neoliberalism, where one chapter specifically covers the last 50 years of Chinese economics. In his view, people are suffering much greater abuses (such as working repeated short term jobs with excruciating work weeks, being promised pay, and never receiving it before a factory closes) now than when people collectively owned land and capital (which did have it's own problems, but again, they weren't pseudo slaves as in the current system).

u/Condemned-to-exile · 2 pointsr/socialism

Marx For Beginners is the closest thing I can think of that's already out there.

u/Meep-meh · 9 pointsr/socialism

Hmm, I've started reading a biography on Che, and don't know too much about him, so I can't really have an opinion yet.

u/thesorrow312 · 2 pointsr/socialism

This is written by Wolin himself:

His book:

In the first clip of the youtube interview, check out how Moyers' eyebrows skyrocket when Wolin answers that he believes we do not have a democracy.

u/WeAllWantToBeHappy · 3 pointsr/socialism

Rising Dragon ?

Also kicked the Chinese.

(Vietnam is Socialist only in name....)

u/Rhianu · 1 pointr/socialism

It isn't just right-wing talking heads, though. In the book "Socialism: Past and Future," by Michael Harrington, there is an extensive analysis of all the different kinds of Socialism, and Michael Harrington himself acknowledges that even Socialists have difficulty defining exactly what Socialism is, and he was a Socialist.

u/OpinionGenerator · 1 pointr/socialism

Don't forget to check out Schweikart's Economic Democracy which is a form of market socialism that I think beats everything else including decentralized economies. His book, After Capitalism outlines it and is an incredible read, but if you want a general overview, check out this 10 part video where he lectures on it (the last few parts are Q&A which aren't necessary to watch, but he does address Parecon in it and if you want to skip past him attacking capitalism, skip to part 4 at about ).

u/vortexcubed · 1 pointr/socialism

War is a Racket: The Antiwar Classic by America's Most Decorated Soldier

u/coldnever · 1 pointr/socialism

Show them the science, their brains don't live in reality, reasoning is hard. Chomsky is great for removing your parents bullshit.

Science on reasoning, reason doesn't work the way we thought it did:

Get them to read some books, or better yet you read them and pick out the details.

The real news:

Look at the following graphs:

IMGUR link -

And then...

WIKILEAKS: U.S. Fought To Lower Minimum Wage In Haiti So Hanes And Levis Would Stay Cheap

Free markets?

The 9 trillion dollar bank bailout

Libor scandal

"We now live in two Americas. One—now the minority—functions in a print-based, literate world that can cope with complexity and can separate illusion from truth. The other—the majority—is retreating from a reality-based world into one of false certainty and magic. To this majority—which crosses social class lines, though the poor are overwhelmingly affected—presidential debate and political rhetoric is pitched at a sixth-grade reading level. In this “other America,” serious film and theater, as well as newspapers and books, are being pushed to the margins of society.

In the tradition of Christopher Lasch’s The Culture of Narcissism and Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death, Pulitzer Prize-winner Chris Hedges navigates this culture—attending WWF contests, the Adult Video News Awards in Las Vegas, and Ivy League graduation ceremonies—to expose an age of terrifying decline and heightened self-delusion."

Important history:

u/alesiar · 5 pointsr/socialism

ah, I see. well let me cite some shit, too.


  • On massacres: Biographer Jon Lee Anderson, (who spent 5 years studying the topic) has addressed this matter in a PBS forum stating ...
    • "I have yet to find a single credible source pointing to a case where Che executed an innocent. Those persons executed by Guevara or on his orders were condemned for the usual crimes punishable by death at times of war or in its aftermath: desertion, treason or crimes such as rape, torture or murder."
  • - if you want to read more?

    I have no comment on East Germany, because thought I support the Soviet Union in essence, I have never supported some of the things they did, esp. in Warsaw Pact / Soviet bloc nations.

    Now back to the discussion. What do you have to say to my original point? I'll write it here again, because you seem have a knack for avoiding discussions where you have nothing to say for yourself:

    > I don't think you really care about having an honest discussion about socialism vs. fascism if all you bring with you are half-pint facts without any citation.
    > Furthermore, I don't know why we're even having this specific debate in the first place. The picture is that of a female Kurdish fighter who is defending her people from the IS invaders who could murder them or worse if they took control of Kobane.
    > If you still feel that she's doing something wrong, then I'm sorry you feel that way; it seems there is nothing rational that I can say to make you see that what she's doing isn't wrong by any long stretch.