#MeToo Reading List

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The powerful wave of rage fuelling #MeToo has finally refocused public attention on sexual harassment and sexual violence and starkly posed questions of power, of feminism, and of politics. Who gets to tell stories of sexual assault, and who gets to be heard? How impoverished is our language for describing the intersection of power, desire, and violence? What is the relationship between individual struggles and collective protest?

In this FREE Verso ebook, Where Freedom Starts: Sex Power Violence #MeToo, featuring Tithi Bhattacharya, Melissa Gira Grant, Larissa Pham, Terrion L. Williamson, and more, these questions are thoughtfully explored and the long history of organizing against sexual violence is reclaimed. 

This #MeToo reading list features classic and contemporary works of feminist analysis and political theory, connecting the dots between gender, sexuality, power and capitalist exploitation.

In this collection of new and previously published writings, leading activists, feminists, scholars, and writers describe the shape of the problem, chart the forms refusal has taken, and outline possible solutions.

An examination of how mainstream feminism has been mobilized in support of racist measures.

Women’s Oppression Today is a classic text in the debate about Marxism and feminism, exploring how gender, sexuality and the “family-household system” operate in relation to contemporary capitalism.

In this beautifully drawn work of graphic biography, writer and artist Kate Evans has opened up her subject’s intellectual world to a new audience, grounding Luxemburg’s ideas in the realities of an inspirational and deeply affecting life.

Five leading thinkers from varied disciplines—including history, law, politics, and literary studies—discuss the critical basis of rights and the meaning of radical democratic politics today.

What is the true meaning of happiness? Lynne Segal explores the radical potential of being together  Why are we so obsessed by the pursuit of happiness? With new ways to measure contentment we are told that we have a right to individual joy. But at what cost? 

In a time when activists in Ferguson, Palestine, Baltimore, and Hong Kong immediately connect across vast distances, this book makes clear that new Black radical politics is thoroughly internationalist and redraws the links between Black resistance and anti-capitalism. Featuring the key voices in this new intellectual wave, this collection outlines one of the most vibrant areas of thought today.

In The Origin of Capitalism, a now-classic work of history, Ellen Meiksins Wood offers readers a clear and accessible introduction to the theories and debates concerning the birth of capitalism, imperialism, and the modern nation state.

With heart-wrenching reporting and incisive analysis, In These Times magazine has charted a staggering rise in inequality and the fall of the American middle class. Here, in a selection from four decades of articles by investigative reporters and progressive thinkers, is the story of our age. It is a tale of shockingly successful corporate takeovers stretching from Reagan to Trump, but also of brave attempts to turn the tide, from the Seattle global justice protests to Occupy to the Fight for 15.

A brilliantly original exploration of the interface between feminism, psychoanalysis, semiotics and film theory.

In this urgent response to violence, racism and increasingly aggressive methods of coercion, Judith Butler explores the media’s portrayal of armed conflict, a process integral to how the West prosecutes its wars. In doing so, she calls for a reconceptualization of the left, one united in opposition and resistance to the illegitimate and arbitrary effects of interventionist military action.

A Communist, feminist, and analyst asks what the social function of psychoanalysis should be and condemns what it has become.

Brilliant, moving and challenging, Out of Time is an urgent and necessary corrective to the assumptions and taboos that constrain the lives of the aged.

Raising Expectations (and Raising Hell) argues that labor can be revived, but only if the movement acknowledges its mistakes and fully commits to deep organizing, participatory education, militancy, and an approach to workers and their communities that more resembles the campaigns of the 1930s—in short, social movement unionism that involves raising workers’ expectations (while raising hell).

Isabell Lorey explores the possibilities for organization and resistance under the contemporary status quo, and anticipates the emergence of a new and disobedient self-government of the precarious.

Geras brings new light to bear on one of the most misrepresented figures in radical history, illustrating her inspiring lack of complacency and her commitment to questioning those in authority on both the Right and the Left.

One of America’s most historic political trials is undoubtedly that of Angela Davis. Opening with a letter from James Baldwin to Davis, and including contributions from numerous radicals such as Black Panthers George Jackson, Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale and Erica Huggins, this book is not only an account of Davis’s incarceration and the struggles surrounding it, but also perhaps the most comprehensive and thorough analysis of the prison system of the United State.

Originally published in 1978, Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman caused a storm of controversy. Michele Wallace blasted the masculine biases of the black politics that emerged from the sixties. She described how women remained marginalized by the patriarchal culture of Black Power, demonstrating the ways in which a genuine female subjectivity was blocked by the traditional myths of black womanhood. 

Sheila Rowbotham shows how women rose against the dual challenges of an unjust state system and social-sexual prejudice. Women, Resistance and Revolution is an invaluable historical study, as well as a trove of anecdote and example fit to inspire today’s generation of feminist thinkers and activists.

Close to Home is the classic study of family, patriarchal ideologies, and the politics and strategy of women’s liberation. On the table in this forceful and provocative debate are questions of whether men can be feminists, whether “bourgeois” and heterosexual women are retrogressive members of the women’s movement, and how best to struggle against the multiple oppressions women endure.

For twenty-five years, Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World has been an essential primer on the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century history of women’s movements in Asia and the Middle East. In this engaging and well-researched survey, Kumari Jayawardena presents feminism as it originated in the Third World, erupting from the specific struggles of women fighting against colonial power, for education or the vote, for safety, and against poverty and inequality.

What happens when angry young rebels become wary older women, raging in a leaner, meaner time: a time which exalts only the “new,” when the ruling orthodoxy daily disparages everything associated with the “old”? Delving into her own life and those who left their mark on it, Lynne Segal journeys through time to consider her generation of female dreamers, the experiences that formed them, what they have left to the world, and how they are remembered in a period when pessimism pervades public life.

In De Colores Means All of Us, Martínez presents a radical Latina perspective on race, liberation and identity. She describes the provocative ideas and new movements created by the rapidly expanding US Latina/o community as it confronts intensified exploitation and racism.

Charts the history of women's liberation and calls for a revitalized feminism.

Composed in 1790, Mary Wollstonecraft’s seminal feminist tract A Vindication of the Rights of Woman broke new ground in its demand for women’s education. A Vindication remains one of history’s most important and elegant broadsides against sexual oppression. In her introduction, renowned socialist feminist Sheila Rowbotham casts Wollstonecraft’s life and work in a new light.

In July 2012, aged thirty, Juliet Jacques underwent sex reassignment surgery—a process she chronicled with unflinching honesty in a serialised national newspaper column. Trans tells of her life to the present moment: a story of growing up, of defining yourself, and of the rapidly changing world of gender politics.

The Anti-Social Family dissects the network of household, kinship and sexual relations that constitute the family form in advanced capitalist societies to show how they reinforce conditions of inequality. This classic work explores the personal and social needs that the family promises to meet but more often denies, and proposes moral and political practices for more egalitarian caring alternatives.

Examining feminist consciousness from various vantage points – social, sexual, cultural and economic – Sheila Rowbotham identifies the conditions under which it developed, and how the formation of a new “way of seeing” for women can lead to collective solidarity.  

In this foundational text, Mitchell locates the areas of women’s oppression in four key areas: work, reproduction, sexuality and the socialization of children. Through a close study of the modern family and a re-evaluation of Freud’s work in this field, Mitchell paints a detailed picture of patriarchy in action.

Pilger tackles the injustices and double standards inherent in the politics of globalization and exposes the terrible truth behind the power and wealth of states and corporations

Based on ten years of writing and reporting on the sex trade, and grounded in her experience as an organizer, advocate, and former sex worker, Playing the Whore dismantles pervasive myths about sex work, criticizes both conditions within the sex industry and its criminalization, and argues that separating sex work from the "legitimate" economy only harms those who perform sexual labor. 

Kauffman's lively and elegant history is propelled by hundreds of candid interviews conducted over a span of decades. Direct Action showcases the voices of key players in an array of movements – environmentalist, anti-nuclear, anti-apartheid, feminist, LGBTQ, anti-globalization, racial-justice, anti-war, and more – across an era when American politics shifted to the right, and a constellation of decentralized issue- and identity-based movements supplanted the older ideal of a single, unified left.

An international bestseller, originally published in 1970, when Shulamith Firestone was just twenty-five years old, The Dialectic of Sex was the first book of the women’s liberation movement to put forth a feminist theory of politics.

Brief yet wide ranging, probing yet succinct, The Ideology of Power and the Power of Ideology is a work of theoretical exploration that establishes new bearings for the current discussion of ideology.

Check out this FREE Verso ebook, Where Freedom Starts: Sex Power Violence #MeToo, featuring contributions by Tithi Bhattacharya, Melissa Gira Grant, Larissa Pham, Terrion L. Williamson, and more.