International Women’s Day Reading List

From feminist theory, to history and contemporary politics, these are some of Pluto’s best books, old and new, that celebrate radical women.


Revolutionary Learning: Marxism, Feminism and Knowledge by Sara Carpenter and Shahrzad Mojab Carpenter T03129

Revolutionary Learning by Sara Carpenter and Shahrzad Mojab explores the Marxist and feminist theorisation of knowledge production and learning. From an explicitly feminist perspective, the authors reconsider the contributions of Marx, Gramsci and Freire to educational theory, expanding Marxist analyses of education by considering it in relation to patriarchal and imperialist capitalism.  The reproductive nature of institutions is revealed through an ethnography of schools and pushed further by the authors who go on to examine how education and consciousness connects with the broader environment of public policy, civil society, the market, and other instruments of ‘public pedagogy.’

The book’s use of work by feminist, anti-racist and anti-colonial scholars means it will have significant implications for critical education scholarship, but its use value extends beyond educational praxis; providing the tools dissect, theorize, resist and transform capitalist social relations.


Captive Revolution: Palestinian Women’s Anti-Colonial Struggle within the Israeli Prison System by Nahla AbdoAbdo T02851

Throughout the world, women have played a part in struggles against colonialism, imperialism and other forms of oppression, but their vital contributions to revolutions, national liberation and anti-colonial resistance are rarely chronicled.

Nahla Abdo’s Captive Revolution seeks to break the silence on Palestinian women political detainees. Based on stories of the women themselves, as well as her own experiences as a former political prisoner, Abdo draws on a wealth of oral history and primary research in order to analyse their anti-colonial struggle, their agency and their appalling treatment as political detainees. Through crucial comparisons between the experiences of female political detainees in other conflict; a history of female activism emerges.

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Learning lessons from Deliveroo and UberEATS

Author of the forthcoming book Working the Phones: Control and Resistance in Call Centres, Jamie Woodcock, examines the radical possibilities for resistance born of ‘black box’ labour. 

The six-day strike by Deliveroo drivers recently ended with two important successes. The first is that this group of precarious workers, written off by many as being unable to organise, achieved a collective victory. The second is that their struggle provides a practical example of how workers can organise autonomously in the digital economy.

The action by Deliveroo drivers was sparked by the company attempting to introduce a new payment system, removing the hourly rate and leaving only per-drop payments.[i] This represents a further attempt to shift the risks of this platform-like business model onto workers, bringing so-called flexibility at the cost of workers having a guaranteed wage. The action was mobilised on WhatsApp, drawing on existing networks and those Woodcock T03174.jpgformed at the meeting points during the shifts. The strike and demonstration outside of the Deliveroo headquarters built upon mass meetings in which workers collectively voted on demands. Throughout the dispute the drivers received solidarity from customers and restaurants – with some restaurants even turning off their Deliveroo app in response to the drivers’ action – and a crowdfunding campaign raised £10,000 for their strike fund. All of this happened outside of traditional forms of organisation, but was supported by the IWGB (Independent Workers Union of Great Britain), drawing on the experience of the couriers’ branch.[ii]

There are some other notable features about the strike that are now becoming clearer. A couple of days into the campaign I arrived slightly earlier than usual for a demonstration. Across the road there were two people also waiting, although unlike those starting to arrive in their green and black Deliveroo jackets, they were wearing UberEATS branded clothing. At first I thought this might be a cynical attempt by Uber to try and recruit striking drivers to their rival service. There had been stories circulating of Uber ordering food from Deliveroo to their headquarters and on arrival attempting to recruit them with promises of higher wages and so on. However, after a quick discussion it became clear that these were disgruntled UberEATS drivers. They had heard about the Deliveroo strike and were keen to find out what was happening. As the strike continued there were further appearances of UberEATS drivers, early evidence that there was potential for this kind of action to spread.

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Noam Chomsky pre-order offer – signed copies included!

Noam Chomsky and Andre Vltchek
Andre Vltchek and Noam Chomsky

On Western Terrorism: from Hiroshima to Drone Warfare is a searing new indictment of Western power and propaganda from Noam Chomsky and Andre Vltchek.

The book is released on 20th September but we have 250 advance copies available, at a discount price of £10 (normal RRP £12.99) with free UK P&P! These copies will be sent out in the first week of September, giving people an opportunity to read the book weeks before the release date.

But wait, there’s more!…30 lucky people (randomly chosen) will receive a copy signed by Noam Chomsky and every copy will come with free Pluto goodies.


To place your order now, visit our SECURE PRE-ORDER SITE (to receive your pre-order copy you must order from this site, not our normal website).

Please note: Unfortunately we cannot take orders from Canada as we do not have rights to the book in that territory.

Description of On Western Terrorism:

In On Western Terrorism Noam Chomsky, world renowned dissident intellectual, discusses Western power and propaganda with filmmaker and investigative journalist Andre Vltchek. The discussion weaves together a historical narrative with the two men’s personal experiences which led them to a life of activism.

 The discussion includes personal memories, such as the New York newsstand where Chomsky began his political education, and broadens out to look at the shifting forms of imperial control and the Western propaganda apparatus. Along the way the discussion touches on many countries of which the authors have personal experience, from Nicaragua and Cuba, to China, Chile, Turkey and many more.

 A blast of fresh air which blows away the cobwebs of propaganda and deception, On Western Terrorism is a powerful critique of the West’s role in the world which will inspire all those who read it to think independently and critically.


Radical hit parade: top 3 selling books from the Pluto website in May

We are really pleased that increasing numbers of people are buying their Pluto books direct from our website. It is a safe and efficient service, which offers a 10% DISCOUNT and FREE UK P&P on every title. Most importantly, all your money goes to supporting and sustaining independent progressive publishing.

To keep up-to-date with Pluto publications, events and news, why not subscribe to our monthly newsletter?

Here are the top 3 selling titles from the Pluto website in May:

1. Brett Scott, The Heretic’s Guide to Global Finance: Hacking the Future of Money

The book that is set to unleash a new wave of financial activism and turn our ideas about social change upside down. Check out Brett Scott’s blog which features the latest news and events about the book. You can also read his recent blog posts at Move Your Money and People and Planet.

The Heretic’s Guide to Global Finance

Hacking the Future of Money

Brett Scott

Shows how activists can tap into the internal dynamics of the sector to disrupt it and showcases the growing alternative finance movement.

“This is an imaginative, even exuberant exploration of the daunting world of finance – it will unleash a generation of activists, and do a world of good.” – Bill McKibben, author of ‘Deep Economy’

“This book provides a unique inside-out look at our financial system, based on the author’s unusual personal adventure. It is not only a user-friendly guide to the complex maze of modern finance but also a manual for utilising and subverting it for social purposes in innovative ways. Smart and street-smart. “ – Ha-Joon Chang, University of Cambridge, author of ’23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism’

£12.99 only £11.50 on the Pluto site

2. Andrew McGettigan, The Great University Gamble: Money, Markets and the Future of Higher Education

There really is nobody else in the UK who understands the detail of the governments HE reforms better than Andrew McGettigan. His book is already causing a stir, prompting a debate between the special advisor to David Willetts and McGettigan (see comments section below the review).

The Great University Gamble

Money, Markets and the Future of Higher Education

Andrew McGettigan

A critical and deeply informed survey of the brave new world of UK Higher Education emerging from government cuts and market-driven reforms.

“Andrew McGettigan is in my opinion by far the most knowledgeable person in the country on the government’s obscure and yet revolutionary programme of change for universities. He provides us with a full and independent view of the short, medium and longer-term implications of the government’s plans. This book is essential and deeply worrying reading.” – Simon Szreter, Professor of History and Public Policy, University of Cambridge

“Andrew McGettigan is one of the most respected and incisive commentators on higher education. There are no other texts at present that address the political economy of higher education and none that put all the pieces of the jigsaw together to reveal the picture with such clarity.” – John Holmwood, Professor of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Nottingham, co-founder of the Campaign for the Public University and editor of A Manifesto for the Public University (2011)

£16.99 only £15.00 on the Pluto site

3. Neil Faulkner, A Marxist History of the World: From Neanderthals to Neoliberals

This book is the perfect guide to human history from a radical perspective. It is accessible too – relatively short, allowing the reader to gain a grasp of the great changes in history whilst providing a  ‘further reading’ section for those who want to find out more. You can watch Neil discuss the book below:

A Marxist History of the World

From Neanderthals to Neoliberals

Neil Faulkner

Magisterial analysis of human history, from the first hominid to the Great Recession of 2008. Written from the perspective of ordinary men and women.

“‘Enlightening and apocalyptic in equal measure'” – Guardian

“Who needs ‘objective’ history? Not Neil Faulkner, for whom the history of the world is a relentless and disgraceful parade of shame from the brazenly wasteful tribes of the Bronze Age to Maoist China’s sell-out state capitalism. If nothing else this book will make you stop and think and give you a taste of what it must have felt like to be a firebrand buoyed up by righteous revolutionary zeal in October 1917. If you like your blood boiled, this is the history for you. I can guarantee you’ll be outraged – either because you agree with him or because you don’t!” – Guy de la Bédoyère, historian and author of Roman Britain: A New History (2006).

£18 only £16.00 on the Pluto site

John Holloway’s reading list for the virtual Occupy library

The London Occupy library

In the third instalment of ‘A Reading List for #Occupy’ on the Through Europe blog, John Holloway, author of Crack Capitalism and Change the World Without Changing Power chooses his favourite radical books:


Lawyer, Marxist-oriented sociologist and philosopher, whose work is closely associated with the Zapatista movement in Mexico, his home since 1991. Teacher at the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences at the Autonomous University of Puebla.

Marx, Karl (1867) – Capital

It remains the most radical critique of capitalism, and an essential starting point for understanding the debates around capitalist development and the possibility of radical change. It’s best to read it collectively.

Bloch, Ernst (1947) – The Principle of Hope

This is where I started and it remains a constant point of reference. A wonderful book that takes us into all aspects of life and shows them to be a pushing towards that which is Not Yet.

Piercy, Marge (1976) – Woman on the Edge of Time

A novel of hope and fear that takes the notion of communism (or whatever we want to call it) into new dimensions.

Vaneigem, Raoul (1967) – The Revolution of Everyday Life

For me the best of Situationism. Revolutionary thought at its anti-dogmatic and exciting best.

Adorno, Theodor W. (1966) – Negative Dialectics

Fiercely difficult, and well worth the effort. The critique of identity shakes the world.

Tronti, Mario (1964) – Lenin in England

An article that turns traditional Marxism upside down and lays the basis for autonomist/ operaista thought.

Many other contributors to the series have selected books by Marx and Foucault, and Pluto has a number of great books ideal as an introduction to their ideas (see below). We were also pleased to see The Assault on Universities: a Manifesto of Resistance picked by Nina Power who described it as, “an excellent overview of the reasons why so many took to the streets, the extent of government cuts and how the struggle may continue in the UK and elsewhere.”

Visit Through Europe to read all the selections.

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Resources for a 21st century Marxism – Paul Le Blanc interviewed by New Left Project

Egyptian revolutionary socialist in Tahrir square

Paul Le Blanc, co-editor of Leon Trotsky: Writings in Exile and Revolution, Democracy, Socialism: Selected Writings of V.I. Lenin, spoke to Ed Lewis from New Left Project about the Get Political campaign:

It seemed to me that the Lenin, Luxemburg and Trotsky volumes could be taken as a sort of trilogy. Here were three revolutionary activists, steeped in the Marxist tradition and devoted to the struggles of the working class, who made distinctive analytical contributions to an understanding of capitalist society, and to strategic, tactical, and organizational orientations within the global labour movement. Each was critical-minded and creative, having some significant differences with each other, but also sharing considerable common ground. Taken together they provide a rich and multifaceted body of ideas that still has relevance to the world we live in. We knew that there were others who felt the same way as we did – and it seemed natural to draw some of them into an effort to help generate interest in the ideas of these prominent revolutionary figures.

This resulted in our drawing up the statement “Get Political – It’s Time” and then gathering signers for it. Our discussion of this plan also stimulated the conceptualization of a special Pluto Press web site, with study guides and informative slide-shows and relevant links, which would further encourage people to consider and wrestle with what Lenin, Luxemburg, and Trotsky had to offer.

Paul discusses how Trotsky, Lenin and Luxemburg might be relevant in an age where radical politics seems to be moving in a ‘horizontalist’ and ‘non-ideological’ direction:

Several themes in the writings of these three revolutionaries deserve special attention from today’s activists. Lenin, Luxemburg and Trotsky each focused serious attention on the intersection and interplay of class, race, nationality, and gender in the struggle for human liberation. All three also provided a clear understanding of the centrality of revolutionary internationalism in the development of strategic orientations – Trotsky quite dramatically with his theory of uneven and combined development from which flows his distinctive theory of permanent revolution. Both Lenin and Luxemburg, each in their own way, did the same in advancing an understanding of imperialism as the framework for the global politics within which all of our struggles evolve. There is also the centrality of genuine democracy to the very realization of socialism. This is at the heart of Trotsky’s theory of permanent revolution, which holds that democratic struggles can only be fully realized through uncompromising struggles of the working class, whose victory puts socialism on the agenda – a point also found in Lenin’s writings especially under the impact of World War I. The fact that both compromised their democratic commitments after the 1917 revolution, as the catastrophe of civil war overtook Russia, brought an illuminating pro-democratic challenge from their comrade Rosa Luxemburg – though she was, no less than them, a key figure in the early Communist movement.

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Laurie Penny and Andy Merrifield make the Bread and Roses shortlist

The Bookseller reports on the inclusion of two Pluto Press titles in the shortlist for the Bread and Roses award:

Seven titles have been shortlisted for the first Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing, including two from indie Pluto Press.

The £1,000 annual award was set up by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers, which includes retailers such as London socialist store Bookmarks, radical bookseller Housmans and Radish Books in Leeds. The prize aims to promote the publication of radical books, to raise the profile of radical publishing, and to reward exceptional work.

The shortlist includes Pluto titles Magical Marxism by Andy Merrifield and Penny Red: Notes from the New Age of Dissent by Laurie Penny as well as Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class by Owen Jones (Verso).

Housmans’ Nik Gorecki said: “To my knowledge this is the only book prize in the UK with what could be described as an explicitly left-wing entry criteria. The central involvement of radical bookshops in the establishment and running of the Bread and Roses award also really sets it apart from other book prizes.”

The judging panel will include children’s novelist and poet Michael Rosen; lecturer and feminist author Nina Power; and Writing on the Wall festival director Madeline Heneghan.

The award ceremony will take place on the evening of International Workers’ Day, 1st May.

Visit the Bookseller to read the report in full.

Visit Bread and Roses for more information about the award.

Penny Red

Notes from the New Age of Dissent

Laurie Penny. Foreword by Warren Ellis

Selected writings from a prominent voice of the new activist left. Reflections on being young, broke and angry in the twenty-first century.

“Cuts, sexism and riots, Laurie Penny’s fresh and angry voice captures the moment and the important issues – highly recommended.” – Polly Toynbee

“Penny is re-inventing the language of dissent, delivering verbal taser-barbs to the left and right, and causing apoplexy among the old men in cardigans who run the British blogosphere.” – Paul Mason, economics editor of BBC’s Newsnight

£12.99 only £11.50 on the Pluto site

Magical Marxism

Subversive Politics and the Imagination

Andy Merrifield

Breathes new life into the Marxist tradition, applying previously unexplored approaches that reveal vital new modes of political activism and debate.

“Andy Merrifield is original, erudite, politically alive and readable. And above all, this book will be (in strictly the first sense of the term) thought-provoking!” – John Berger, novelist and critic

“Andy Merrifield brings us a Marxism that is ‘warmer’ than most recent forms, Marxism as it might have been imagined by DH Lawrence or one of the great Latin American novelists. He wants us to reimagine Marxism without bureaucracy and without commissars. If we can get deep into the ideas themselves, they can be a life force for us. Andy helps us see how Marxism can make us more authentic human beings.” – Marshall Berman, author of All that is Solid Melts into Air

£17.99 only £16.00 on the Pluto site