“The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything, except what is worth knowing.”Oscar Wilde
This guide is for you to learn about socialism, and what socialists believe. Maybe you want to learn to better argue against our ideas, or deepen your understanding of the broader left. This is supposed to give you answers, ideas, or new interests. I am a leftist, and I am a communalist, I want all biases clear. Ultimately this guide is for you to actually learn the positions of the far left from a far leftist.
Everything I post here besides one or two books at the end is found for FREE online.
2. Short Q&A’s
3. Types of socialism
4. What is capitalism? What are our critiques?
5. What does this matter to me?
6. Common arguments addressed.
7. Admin choice of educational, interesting, or entertaining content.
1. Definition cheat sheet:
“The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.”your high school
“We feel free because we lack the very language to articulate our unfreedom.”Zizek
Capitalism – An economic system focused on the movement of Capital, it has three main characteristics; markets, wage labor, and private ownership over the means of production. It is a specific mode of production where production is done for exchange.
Socialism – Where the workers own the means of production. It is a different mode of production, in which production is done socially instead of for exchange. There are many forms, and you can find specific examples further down in the guide. In marxist theory it is the transitional phase to Communism.
Communism – A form of socialism with no classes, no state, and operated on the economic principle of “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” Considered moneyless as well. Someone is classified as a communist if they ultimately want this goal.
Capital – The private ownership over wealth in the form of factories, firms, banks, or large swaths of money. Capital is used by the capitalist class (the people and shareholders that control these private entities) to accumulate profit. It is distinct from one’s personal house or wage as these are ends to living in themselves.
Means of Production – From wikipedia, “the means of production are physical, non-human inputs used for the production of economic value, such as facilities, machinery, tools,infrastructural capital and natural capital. The means of production includes two broad categories of objects: instruments of labor (tools, factories, infrastructure, etc.) and subjects of labor (natural resources and raw materials). If creating a good, people operate on the subjects of labor, using the instruments of labor, to create a product; or, stated another way, labour acting on the means of production creates a good.”
Private Propery vs. Personal property – Private property is the Means of Production, say a toothbrush factory or a large firm that owns thousands of empty or rented out houses. Personal property is your own used property to live and enjoy yourself, say your toothbrush or your own personal house.
Class – your role in society related to material conditions and economic/political/social power, including the bourgeoisie (capitalist class, 1%), and proletariat (working class) among others that exist today, and throughout history as different economic systems such a feudalism had (lord and serf, master and slave, ect.).
Search for a specific term:
2. Common Questions:
“No such thing as a stupid question, just stupid people”our parents
Q: Why hasn’t socialism won yet / out competed capitalism?
A: The simple answer is: it just hasn’t, we live in a world still dominated by global capital, it is sort of like asking “Why hasn’t capitalism won out yet” during feudal times.
Q: Isn’t it just government programs/nationalized industries/taxes?
A: Socialism is a mode of production, a government is apart of the system of capitalism and works within the framework of capitalism, the mode of production where there is exchange between commodities. To go beyond a private/public dichotomy is to understand that socialists want to change the very way we relate with production, products of society, and each other.
It becomes more apparent, that the state is a tool of a capitalist class, when you look at what laws are passed. The only people that have an effect, are the very rich. From Princeton:
Also Marx was against taxes and the welfare state.
Q: Was Hitler/ Nazis socialist?
A: No, he privatized banks, busted unions and jailed socialists. The most famous poem from the period has the phrase “First he came for the socialists…” which Hitler literally did. But really we can solve this by asking this question: did the workers own the means of production in Nazi Germany? The answer, is no.
Q: Are the socialists gonna take my house / car?
A: There are five empty houses for every homeless person. Why would we be interested in that? We are interested in changing how people and society at large relate to our labor and production, and make it democratic in how it is done, what is made, and how it is distributed. This means something like the housing industry would have more effective distribution along with a comprehensive plan that gives communities and workers control over new projects.
Q: But doesn’t communism have a strong state?
A: Communism is by definition a stateless society– all communists regardless of their tactics work towards this goal. The Soviet Union and its allies claimed to be socialist states; they saw this as a route to reaching communism. Many communists disassociate themselves from the actions of these states while some defend them. The topic of whether there should be a state, centralization of power, and organization of a state on the road to socialism is still heavily debated amongst socialists.
Q: But isn’t anarchism chaos?
A: No! In fact it is organization! When we refer to anarchism we speak of social anarchism! Anarchy means, from its Greek roots “without rulers.” It is an anti-capitalist ideology that calls for no state with many forms, most of which having laws and straight forward ways of doing things. In fact, communism is a form of anarchism, along with syndicalism, mutualism, collectivism and others!
Q: Without money what will motivate us?
A:Research show that money isn’t the most powerful motivator, what drives us is purpose and we should make that purpose social!
Further information in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc
Q: But don’t leftists just not understand economics?
A: Marx’s Law of Value (Labor Theory of Value) was confirmed to be an empirically correct theory of value under capitalism, and that only Sraffa’s (post-Keynesian) price theory even comes close, citing these resources:
The Scientific Status of the Labour Theory of Value
by: W. Paul Cockshott and Allin Cottrell
The Empirical Strength of the Labour Theory of Value
3. Introduction videos into socialist schools of thought:
“If you don’t do theory, theory will do you.”Falguni Sheth
Marxism 101 by Richard Wolff
Introduction to Anarchism by Philosophytube:
The history of Anarchism in 8 minutes
Social Ecology on domination:
From Marxism to Communalism and Confederalism: Bookchin and Öcalan
Introductory reading materials to tendencies:
Social Ecology and Communalism
Socialism: Utopian and Scientific (Marxism/Historical Materialism):
What is anarchy?
More specific schools of thought:
Libertarian Municipalism and Democratic Confederalism
DeLeonism (with pictures and diagrams):
There are plenty other tendencies, and I encourage you to search for more as you get an idea of what interests you.
4. Economics??? What is Capitalism? Why money? Why rich people? Why we no like?
“The material relations between people, become social relations between objects.”me stealing a quote
A series of videos that are easily digestible to give you an outline of leftist economics. Make sure to watch it all the way through, common questions (certainly many I’ve seen in the comments section) get answered as the theory’s pieces are put into place. May require a few viewings.
Follow along with his blog here: https://kapitalism101.wordpress.com/…/law-of-value-introdu…/
“I watched the video series, I now want more!”
Excellent, there’s plenty of lecture series by Anwar Shaikh, David Harvey, Richard D. Wolff etc., that you can find on YouTube.
However, I would highly recommend the following books if you’re looking to get started, but make sure to read “Value Price and Profit” by Marx first if you aren’t exactly confident about the content in the videos. It’s short and assumes a completely free market, it makes it easy:
- Das Kapital
- Elgar Companion to Post-Keynesian Economics
- Elgar Companion to Marxian Economics
(If you can’t find the Elgar companion there’s plenty of other introductory books)
“Dude this is a lot of information, I don’t have time for this“
I know. These things get concepts down in less time but have a less overall picture of what we believe:
What is Class? by Phd Richard Wolff
Mexie, aspiring PhD, The Reserve Army of Labour
How Private Property Hinders Scientific Progress
Mexie “don’t let the title fool you” Finance, Crisis and Stagnation
The Myth of the Barter Economy
The wealthy in Florence today are the same families that were wealthy 600 years ago
Poor at 20, Poor for Life
Artificial Scarcity in a world of overproduction: an escape that isn’t
How Neoliberalism Threatens Democracy
Falling Rate of Profit
***needs replacement as easier, 20 minute video was deleted, this is a placeholder***
***VERY boring video on the falling rate of profit
The Economy of the USSR (was it socialist?)
The Law of Value and Socialism
“Wait, where can I get a Phd Economist to give me weekly/monthly economic updates!?”
My man Wolff gotcha covered:
A recent topic has been UBI, or universal basic income, and I think an examination of what is likely the next economic revolution under capitalism is important:
Universal Basic Income: A Critique by Badmouse
Universal Basic Income vs. Le Salaire à Vie
Noam Chomsky & Yanis Varoufakis discuss Basic Income (Universal Income)
Why basic income is a bad idea
New Economic Thinking is awesome, it covers a HUGE range of issues you may find interesting from how water and oceans are treated under capitalism, to the economics of aging:
Guy who makes great, short videos on the labor theory of value specifically? Meet Brendan Mcooney
Interviews from leftist economists on today’s issues and theory:
Yanis Varoufakis, the guy who could’ve fixed greece:
Yanis Varoufakis – Europe’s Crisis and America’s Economic Future
Capitalism: Competition, Conflict, Crises, Professor Anwar Shaikh
We can’t economize all of the problems of the world. The entire point of leftism is critique power structures and imagine societies out of them. That’s what these resources are here for, to give you ideas.
5. How does this affect me?
“You’re living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58% of your youth is unemployed — what the hell do you have to lose?”Trump
Capitalist Workplace vs. Socialist workplace:
Co-ops and Mondragon
On Wage Labor:
The case for Liberty by Libertarian Socialist Rants:
Cultural Commodification by Murray Bookchin:
Women, Race and Class
Hierarchy and Authority by AnarchoPAC:
“There is only one class in the community that thinks more about money than the rich, and that is the poor. The poor can think of nothing else. That is the misery of being poor.”Oscar Wilde
Solving The Crisis of Our Environment
How Capitalism and Racism Support Each Other
Fred Hampton – “Political Prisoner”
Meat Markets and the Abolition of Gender and Sex
What is Socialist Feminism?
Patriarchy Gets Funky
6. Arguments against socialism:
“The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it.”Karl Marx
“I have some arguments against socialism and personally all I want to do is argue.”
If you find it difficult to actually talk with us or want to actually try and convince us, you can get out of the way arguments that probably are poor points and won’t convince anyone. It will prepare you if you seriously want to discuss it with leftists.
Does the Left Hate the Family? (how to address actual leftist theory)
Jerry Cohen – Against Capitalism
To Other Working Americans
Reading the Right – Volume One: The Bell Curve
Reading the Right – Volume 2: Cultural Marxism
Argument ad Venezuelum
“When we ask for the abolition of [Capitalism,] the State and its organs we are always told that we dream of a society composed of men better than they are in reality. But no; a thousand times, no. All we ask is that men should not be made worse than they are, by such institutions!”Kropotkin
Marx Believed in Human Nature
What drives us? (Latest research in what motivates people)
Why hierarchy creates a destructive force within the human psyche (by Dr. Robert Sapolsky)
Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature from a Yale Lecture series:
“It is often said that force is no argument. That entirely depends, however, on what one wants to prove.”Oscar Wilde
“Jordan Peterson says…”
Jordan Peterson knows less about Marxism than first year college students, has an infantile and incorrect reading of Nietzsche, and is a postmodernist without even realizing it.
Refuting Jordan Peterson’s Capitalist Realism (against common anti-leftist arguments)
Jordan Peterson – engaging with conservative rebels
Jordan Peterson and Progress
The Economic Calculation Problem
Generic Arguments Against Communism Refuted
Arguments against Anarchism
Debating Richard Spencer
George Orwell on Socialism:
Darwin, Conservatism, the Pill, and Black Pigeon Speaks
7. MORE CONTENT, VIDEOS, DOCUMENTARIES, ETC.
“In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation.”Guy Debord
Murray Bookchin – The Real Roots of Traditional Libertarianism:
The start of Libertarian Socialist Rants–ummm– rant “The case against hierarchy”
The tragedy of the “Commons?”
Baltimore, the anatomy of an uprising
Labor Vouchers Explained:
The Capitalist Realism of Black Mirror
Manufacturing Consent 1 of 2 (Market Consent) (Part 2 is unfortunately lost at the moment)
Manufacturing Consent (Chomsky’s theory)
The Paris Commune: Our First Revolution
Capitalism and Star Wars (the Slow Cancellation of the Future)
Racism, Law, & Politics (Race Part 1)
Why are we the good guys
The Philosophy of Antifa
Kill All Normies: The End of the Culture War? (“Cultural Marxism” and the alt right’s perceived culture war)
Does the Left Hate Free Speech?
Zuckerberg’s Robots and Capitalist Crisis
The rise of the Postmodern Politician
Taxi Driver A Study of Masculinity & Existentialism
RENT – Look Pretty and Do As Little as Possible: A Video Essay
The Road to Socialism
Interviews, lectures, and talks from leftist thinkers:
Yanis Varoufakis on Europe, UKIP and Post-Capitalism
Europe is Kaput. Long live Europe! – Slavoj Žižek, Yanis Varoufakis and Julian Assange
Economics and the Moral Order
The History of Neoliberalism – David Harvey
Debate Noam Chomsky & Michel Foucault – On human nature (turn on youtube subtitles)
Kill All Normies: Angela Nagle On The Alt-Right
Noam Chomsky (2013) “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”
Janet Biehl – From Marxism to Communalism and Confederalism: Bookchin and Öcalan
Eirik Eiglad – The Communalist Alternative to Capitalist Modernity
Murray Bookchin – Forms of Freedom – Talk – 1985
Michael Parenti: Capitalism vs. Reality
Report-back from the Revolution in Rojava
Angela Davis: Wars Against Women
Slavoj Zizek | How And Why Violence Functions
Murray Bookchin “Visions of a New Society” Interview
Eclectic articles pertaining to politics and leftism (They’re worth your time, promise):
Communalism reading list:
News, lax perspectives, and basics:
Capitalism vs. Socialism: a Changed Debate
Noam Chomsky Calls For ‘Militant Labor Movement’ To Transform American Politics And Fight Trump
Twenty-First Century Victorians
Fighting Climate Change and Capitalism at the Same Time
Pentagon Video Warns of “Unavoidable” Dystopian Future for World’s Biggest Cities
Just 100 companies responsible for 71% of global emissions, study says
The Basic Principle of Production in Rojava
“There are periods in the life of human society when revolution becomes an imperative necessity, when it proclaims itself as inevitable. New ideas germinate everywhere, seeking to force their way into the light, to find an application in life; everywhere they are opposed by the inertia of those whose interest it is to maintain the old order; they suffocate in the stifling atmosphere of prejudice and traditions.”Kropotkin
Albert Einstein’s Why Socialism?
How Nonviolence Protects the State
The Economy of Rojava
Reason, creativity and freedom: The communalist model
The Future of the Left
Daniel De Leon’s Reform or Revolution?
The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception
Political Indifferentism by Marx
The Concepts of Ideology, Hegemony, and Organic Intellectuals in Gramsci’s Marxism
A Philosophical Naturalism
The Part played by Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man by Engels
The Darkness at the End of the Tunnel: Artificial Intelligence and Neoreaction
On Authority, Engels
Mikhail Bakunin, What is Authority?
Huey Newton introduces Revolutionary Intercommunalism
Intercommunalism: The Late Theorizations of Huey P. Newton
Late Capitalism or Industrial Society?
Marxism And Darwinism
Class Consciousness by Georg Lukacs
The Population Myth
Federalism, Socialism, Anti-Theologism
Them and Us: four new essays by Subcomandante Marcos
Lumpen 130: The Municipalism Issue
Social Morals and Ethics of Nature: from Peter Kropotkin to Murray Bookchin
Not All Politics is Identity Politics
How radical municipalism can go beyond the local
The Mass Strike, the Political Party and the Trade Unions by Rosa
Amadeo Bordiga 1951, Proletarian Dictatorship and Class Party
USSR and Lenin focused:
The Soviet Union and Eastern Europe – The Roots of The Crisis (USSR Collapse Part 1)
Bolshevism, Real and Imagined
The Russian Revolution (1918) by Rosa Luxemburg
Lenin: A Study on the Unity of his Thought
What was the USSR? – Aufheben
How Lenin Studied Marx
“Can you just give me documentaries to watch, so I can sit, have a beer and have some popcorn?”
Suggested documentaries and movies:
Plutocracy #1, Political Repression in America: on the competing forces of labor and capital
Hypernormalization: On trump, Terrorism, and our current economic state
John Berger / Ways of Seeing , Episode 1 (Watch it all!)
Reading the Right – Volume One: The Bell Curve
Reading the Right – Volume 2: Cultural Marxism
The Shock Doctrine
Manufacturing Consent (Chomsky)
The IWW: The one big union
Thomas Sankara: The Upright Man
The Zapatista Uprising (20 Years Later)
The Country of Two Rivers (Rojavan Revolution)
All Power To The People – The Black Panther Party & Beyond
Anarchism in America
History of Anarcho-Syndicalist Catalonia
“I like youtube videos, got youtubers?”
I personally recommend Zero Books, Anarchopac, Democracy at Work, Mexie, FreiHeitXXI and Philosophy Tube. However here is a large list
List of you tube channels:
FreiHeitXXI (Interviews and lectures on Social Ecology)
Xexizy (Perspectives of Leninism)
Democracy at Work (Economist P.h.D. Richard Wolff’s project, monthly economic updates and more)
New Economic Thinking (Many economic experts interviewed and giving lectures)
Brendanmcooney (makes short entertaining video about economic concepts)
DemocraticSocialist01 (Perspectives of a Democratic Socialist)
Libertarian Socialist Rants (Perspectives of an anarchist)
Anarchopac (anarchist perspectives)
Zero Books (Critical Theory publisher, analyzes pop culture and ideas in an entertaining video formats, along with a podcast)
Philosophy Tube (A channel that goes through philosophical concepts, such as race and power)
BadMouseProductions (an anarchist perspective)
The Finnish Bolshevik (A marxist leninist perspective)
Socialism Explained (Easily digestible bite sized videos on socialism)
Hbomberguy (Argues against racists and reactionaries, and analyzes video games, and the video game industries)
ProSocialism (A Trotskyist perspective)
Contrapoints (Educational topics, from race to gender)
Mexie (an economist working towards a phd)
ForeverJameses (excellent video essays)
Short reading list, many of the readings are short, find a pdf!:
These readings are in (loose) order of philosophical history and what builds on each other…
- Proudhon’s What is Property?
- Rousseau’s Discourse on Inequality
- Rousseau’s Social Contract
- Karl Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Programme
- Engel’s Socialism: Utopian and Scientific
- The Conquest of Bread by Peter Kropotkin (thebreadbook.org)
- The Next Revolution by Murray Bookchin
- Rosa’s Revolution or Reform
- Tressell’s The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists
- Wilde’s Soul of Man Under Socialism
- The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord
- Capitalist Realism by Mark Fisher
“An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.”Engels