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Class War Reading List

In celebration of May Day—international workers' day—and the radical history of the working class, we've put together this Class War Reading List. All of these books are 40% Off until the end of May!

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This brief, accessible, and fully illustrated guide, based on the collective experience of organizers and workers in non-unionized workplaces, is a critical tool to help you and your coworkers organize for justice at work. 

Drawing on years of labor activism and study of labor history, Joe Burns outlines the key set of ideas common to class struggle unionism and shows how these ideas can create a more militant, democratic and fighting labor movement.

A collection of riveting stories about working people in United States history fighting back in the darkest times.

An eye-opening account of the Great Anthracite Coal Strike of 1902, showing how the strike—and the violent backlash that ensued—reveal the genesis of modern policing.

The aggressive exploitation of labor on both sides of the US-Mexico border has become a prominent feature of capitalism in North America. Kids in cages, violent ICE raids, and anti-immigrant racist rhetoric characterize our political reality and are everyday shaping how people intersect at the US-Mexico border. As activist-scholar Justin Akers Chacón carefully demonstrates, however, this vicious model of capitalist transnationalization has also created its own grave-diggers.

The definitive introduction to history’s most influential and controversial political document, updated for a new generation of readers.

An eye-opening reckoning with the care economy, from its roots in racial capitalism to its exponential growth as a new site of profit and extraction.

Going for Broke, edited by Alissa Quart, Executive Director of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, and David Wallis, former Managing Director of EHRP, gives voice to a range of gifted writers for whom “economic precarity” is more than just another assignment.

A trenchant history of community organizing and a must-read for the next generation of organizers seeking to learn from the successes, failures, and contradictions of the past.

Digging Our Own Graves sets black lung disease epidemic in the context of the brutal assault, begun in the 1980s and continued since, on the United Mine Workers of America and the collective power of rank-and-file coal miners in the heart of the Appalachian coalfields.

The fascinating true story of an individual radical organizer turned independent Chicago city council member, and her forty year struggle for justice in Chicago.

A powerful account of the epic clash between corporate greed and militant workers in the American Heartland. 

The memoir of Gwendolyn Midlo Hall - historian of slavery, veteran political activist, and widow of Black Bolshevik author Harry Haywood - offers today's activists and readers an accessible and intimate examination of a crucial era in American radical history.

“As the nation burns and the future appears uncertain, David Roediger delivers another incisive, timely, clear-eyed analysis of class and race in America. His point is clear: another world won’t be built by pollsters or slick election strategies aimed at saving the middle class. We have to grow a movement. ” —Robin D. G. Kelley

This indispensable volume surveys revolutionary upheavals across the world between 1989 and 2019, drawing lessons for theorizing revolution today.

A harrowing look at the lives and struggles of a new generation of Chinese workers confronting the Apple-Foxconn empire and the Chinese state.

An insightful and timely analysis of how global economic restructuring will impact workers' struggles in the US.

Offering an important account of left attempts to intervene in the American two-party electoral system, veteran labor writer Kim Moody provides both a sobering historical corrective and an alternative orientation for the future, arguing that the socialist movement should turn its attention toward a politics of mass action, anti-racism, and independent, working-class organizing.

Capitalism would have us believe we need our bosses. This volume reveals the history of workers who dare to disagree. 

Le Blanc presents a colorful, fact-filled history that concentrates on the struggles and achievements of the often neglected laboring majority. 

Organzing for Power is the only comprehensive analysis of labor and popular mobilizing in Boston today, contributing to a growing body of academic and popular literature that examines urban America, racial and economic inequality, labor and immigration, and the right-wing assault on working people.  

Illuminates key connections between the social justice movements of the last fifty years and today's most innovative labor organizing. 

This classic work sheds light on the lives and struggles of immigrant women domestic workers.

Lois Weiner explains why teachers who care passionately about teaching and social justice need to unite the energy for teaching to efforts to self-govern and transform teacher unions.

The trials and tribulations of firebrand union organizers, from the 1930s to the 1970s, are brought to life here, in their own words.

One of America's great labor historians tells the stories of America's great labor struggles. 

A classic, radical history of Black workers' contribution to the American labor movement. 

Black autoworkers fight back against exploitation and oppression on the shop floors in the '60s and '70s.

A comprehensive account of the women who organized for labor rights and equality from the early factories to the 1970’s. 

A ground-breaking history of the radical political movements that developed within the Mexican and Chicano working-class in the United States.

An account of the successful strike by mainly Mexican women workers at the largest plant in Watsonville, California.

The definitive telling of the life and times of Lucy Parsons, early American radical and labor organizer.

Though often seen as opposing ideas, Ralph Darlington engagingly traces the entwined legacies of revolutionary syndicalism and the communist movement.

Women banana workers, bananeras, are waging a powerful revolution by making gender equity central in Latin American labor organizing.

The inside story of Argentina's remarkable movement to create factories run democratically by workers themselves.

The classic biography of Eugene Debs, one of the most important thinkers and socialists in US history.

A thought-provoking analysis of how internal migration in Gilded Age America undermined collective organizing and workers’ political power.

*where available 

Faculty and instructors interested in adopting Haymarket titles for their courses can request Exam and Desk copies directly from our distributor, here

In this video, labor historian Toni Gilpin, author of The Long Deep Grudge, reminds us of the radical history behind May Day: