Anarchist reading list from the Fifth Estate staff


Fifth Estate # 387, Summer, 2012

Paul J. Comeau

The Dispossessed
Author: Ursula, K. LeGuin
The best fictional account of an anarchist society in practice, from the perspective of a brilliant scientist from that society who leaves it to try and bridge the cultural gap between his society and that of their nearest neighbors.

Anarcho-Syndicalism: Theory and Practice
Rudolph Rocker
The most well written exposition on the history, theory, and practice of anarchosyndicalism.

Debt: the First 5,000 Years
Author: David Graeber
The best account of the history of our current economic system. Eye opening to those who take what they learned in school at face value.

Green Is The New Red
Author: Will Potter
A gripping account of how the government is working to label environmental activists as terrorists, and how close we are to a world where any act that violates the status quo can be labeled terrorism.

The Lorax
Author: Dr. Seuss
A story for all ages about the plight of the environment. A warning cry against deforestation and environmental destruction as only Seuss can tell.

Kelly Rose Pflug-Back

Direct Action
Author: Anne Hansen
The story of her involvement in the Squamish Five and the Wimmin’s Fire Brigade, as well as their trials for eco-sabotage, and subsequent imprisonment.

Author: Samuel R. Delaney
A speculative novel written in the 70’s set in an anarchic post-apocalyptic city and
is one of the first ever books to talk about queer sexuality and non-monogamous relationships. Also, one of the first sci-fi books that does not have mostly white characters.

Woman on the Edge of Time
Author: Marge Piercy
A more utopian account of the future, set in co-operative anarchist communes.

Ridley Walker
Author: Russel Hoban
A little-known post-apocalyptic novel written in a degenerated dialect of English about a teenage boy wandering through the ruins of civilization with a pack of wild dogs and discovering the truth about a nuclear war that destroyed the planet generations before his time.

Shibboleth: My Revolting Life
Autobiography of Penny Rimbaud, drummer of the anarchist punk band, Crass.

Walker Lane

Beyond Geography: The Western Spirit Against the Wilderness
Author: Frederick Turner
One of the books that was once considered a foundation text of Fifth Estate thought. Turner traces the barren spirituality of the West and its domination of nature cultures.

Against the Mega Machine: Essays on Empire & Its Enemies
Author: David Watson
Chronicles the vast junk yard techno/ industrial civilization has created and the revolt against its guard dog, the political state. Mostly essays from the Fifth Estate

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Philip K. Dick
Any of Dick’s anarchist sci-fi books are worth a read. This one became the movie, Bladerunner, whose subtext, usually where his message lies, is that without a capacity for empathy, you are not human.

Selected Poems, 1947-1995
Author: Allen Ginsberg
The power of poems like “Howl” and “Wichita Vortex Sutra,” among the many in this volume act almost as a summary of all the other books we’ve listed, but without much hope in them.

Brave New World
Author: Aldus Huxley and

Author: George Orwell
If you haven’t read these since being forced to in high school, they’re worth another look. Masterful writing, but dystopian to the fullest extent. Orwell’s appendix on Newspeak is less about the Soviet Union and more about the debasement of language and meaning in the modern era.

Sandy Laplage

Against History Against Leviathan
Author: Fredy Perlman
A poetically written history of domination and resistance to it.
The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism, and Anti-Semitism and the Beirut Pogrom
Author: Fredy Perlman
Complimentary essays. The first explores the ways nationalism has been and is still used to reinforce rulers’ control. The other addresses the question of why formerly oppressed people, instead of having an understanding of oppression and a desire to eliminate it, oppress others.

Free Women of Spain
Author: Martha Ackelsberg
Chronicles anarchist women’s struggles in the social revolution that took place at the time of what is often called the Spanish Civil War.

Proud Beggars and The Jokers
Author: Albert Cossery
An Egyptian author who lived in France, whose novels mock and ridicule the government and the values of the rich and powerful instead of attacking them head-on.