We have to try and understand the world to be able to change it!
It is important that members and supporters of Socialist Labour educate themselves by reading at least a few basic socialist booklets.
Below we have provided a list of booklets that we can recommend to read to gain a basic understanding of the world, our history and how we can help to build a better society.
All these booklets available for free download from the links provided or paper copies can be obtained from Iva Valley Books, mainly for less than N500 each (2nd Floor, NLC Offices, Abuja). We also have a range of other pamphlets and many other books to buy. Other socialist publications are available for free down-load from:
Introductions to Socialism/Marxism for Newer Members and Supporters of Socialist Labour:
- Marxism at the Millennium – Tony Cliff (2000)
An introduction to Marxism by a Palestinian Jew who emigrated to Britain and founded the Socialist Workers Party. Written for socialists across the world.
- Fight for Women’s Rights – Tina Ndi (2012)
Why women and men need to fight for women’s rights. The main demands that Nigerian women have for equality and emancipation. https://ivavalleybooks.com/2020/08/21/the-fight-for-womens-rights/
- A Rebel’s Guide to Karl Marx – Mike Gonzalez (2006)
Marx’s ideas developed out of the great mass struggles of the nineteenth century for democracy and working class liberation in Europe.
- Trosky: A Rebel’s Guide – Esme Choonara (2007)
Leon Trotsky was the key organiser of the October 1917 Russian revolution and the architect for the Red Army’s victory in the civil war that followed.
- A new phase for African liberation – Socialism from below (2003)
Why we need socialism to be the next phase of African liberation. Written especially for Africans, but now a bit dated as written nearly 20 years ago.
More detailed booklets:
- Mass Strikes In Nigeria: 2000–2016 – Struggling Against Neoliberal Hegemony – Femi Aborisade & Drew Povey (2016)
An account of the first 10 general strikes and other working class struggles after the end of the military era.
2. Socialists in The Trade Unions by Alex Callinicos 1995
Why is it that trade union leaders often need to be pushed into leading active strikes to improve the lives of the majority. How socialists need to organise in trade unions. https://ivavalleybooks.com/2020/09/28/socialists-in-the-trade-unions/
3. The Struggle for Development – Benjamin Selwyn (2017)
Benjamin challenges the dominant view that human development can only be achieved through continued economic growth and industrialisation. Ben sees development as a process of the organised working class resisting and ultimately going beyond capitalist exploitation.
4. The Next Stage of African Liberation will be Socialism by Joseph Choonara & Leo Zeilig 2020
Socialism in Africa will develop from strikes and the daily trade union struggles of workers. Socialists need to provide support and solidarity for these strikes and generalise the experience.
5. Post Independence Growth, the Lost Decades and Africa Rising: the Economic History of sub-Saharan Africa – Biodun Olamosu & Drew Povey (2014)
An economic history of Africa from the great expectations at independence, through the lost decades of the 1980s and 1990s and into boom of the 2000s fuelled by raising prices of primary products.
- Problems of Socialism: The Nigerian Challenge – Eddie Madunagu (1982)
An analysis of the first two decades of Nigerian independence by a leading Nigerian Marxist. He still has an occasional column in the Guardian newspaper.
- System Change Not Climate Change – Martin Empson & others (2019)
How capitalism led to climate change, how we can fight it and the possible alternatives.
- Women as workers and reproductive Labour – Rohini Hensman (2011)
Based on the specific experience of trade unionists in India, but most of the lessons are relevant for Nigeria. Can be used by trade unionists, men as well as women, to try and ensure that their trade unions take the issue of women workers seriously.
- We Should All Be Feminists – Chimamanda Adichie (2015)
“Feminist” isn’t an insult, but rather a label that should be embraced by all, men as well as women. Feminism advocates for equity and equality between men and women in all aspects of their lives.
- Feminism for the 99% – Cinzia Arruzza, Tithi Bhattacharya, and Nancy Fraser (2019)
Taking as its inspiration the new wave of feminist militancy that has erupted globally, this manifesto makes a simple but powerful case: feminism shouldn’t start—or stop—with the drive to have women represented at the top of their professions. It must focus on those at the bottom, and fight for the world they deserve.
- China : A Socialist Alternative – Charlie Hore and others
Many Africans have mixed feelings about China. On the one hand China was an underdeveloped peasant economy which transformed itself over a few decades to being the manufacturing centre of the world. On the other hand, China is a major imperialist power which competes with local manufacturing with its cheap imports.
- Fidel Castro : His Political Origin, Rule And Legacy – Samuel Farber (2019)
For some of the left, there is still considerable misinformation and confusion about the true nature of Cuba’s “really existing socialism”. The lack of democracy is a critical test of how seriously the international left takes its democratic pronouncements.
- A Rebel’s Guide To Lenin By Ian Birchall
A guide to the real Lenin, showing the complexities behind a man often vilified by historians. Ian Birchall guides the reader through an introductory analysis of Lenin’s experiences and achievements, showing his methods and motivations in attempting to create a world in which production was to be for human need rather than profit.
- Workers, Unions And Global Capitalism : Lessons From India – Rohini Hensman
Using India’s labour movement as a model, Rohini Hensman charts the successes and failures, strengths and weaknesses, of the struggle for workers’ rights and trade union organisation. As Indian products gain wider acceptance in global markets, the disparities in employment conditions and union rights between such regions as the European Union and India’s vast informal sector are exposed.
The book provides an excellent view of capitalism and how trades unions can fight it – in the Global South. Many of the issues Rohini raises from a South Asian vantage point are equally true for Nigeria.
Some Classic works of Marxism:
- The Communist Manifesto – Karl Marx & Fredrick Engels (1848)
First published in 1848, the book offers a detailed critique of capitalism, a spirited defense of communism, and practical suggestions for bringing about a communist society.
- The State and Revolution by Lenin (1917)
Written on the eve of the socialist revolution in Russia by the leader of the Bolsheviks. It describes the role of the state in society, the necessity of proletarian revolution, and the theoretic inadequacies of social democracy in achieving revolution.
- The Prophet and the Proletariat – Islamic Fundamentalism, Class and Revolution – Chris Harman (1994)
Chris Harman charts a careful course through the contradictions of Islamism, revealing its class roots and arguing that when the Islamists are in opposition the socialist attitude should be ‘with the state never, with the Islamists sometimes’.
- Russia: how the revolution was lost – Chris Harman (1967)
In 1917, Russian workers and peasants overthrew the Tsar and went on to run society without bosses. Women were at the forefront of these events, tearing up the deep-rooted oppression they faced. Ultimately it was defeated and replaced by Stalin’s dictatorship.
How Europe Underdeveloped Africa – Walter Rodney
Why is it that Africa is less industrially developed than Europe or North America? What was the broad history of Africa before contact with Europeans? What was the impact of the slave trade on Africa and Europe? How did the colonial period affect development across Africa? This classic volume provides answers to all these questions and more.
Books We Should Read from Iva Valley Books
Most of the books below are available in paper copies from Iva Valley Books, or as free electronic versions from the links provided.
The Revolutionary Ideas of Karl Marx (Alex Callinicos)
In this engaging and accessible introduction, Alex Callinicos demonstrates that Marx’s ideas hold an enduring relevance for today’s activists fighting against poverty, inequality, oppression, environmental destruction, and the numerous other injustices of the capitalist system. Alex was born in Zimbabwe, but is based in Britain and a leader member of the Socialist Workers Party.
The Point is to Change It (John Molyneux);
Marx’s ideas are once again vital, in a world wracked by economic crisis and the gap between rich and poor greater than ever. But his philosophy is often misrepresented and mystified, leaving the reader at best confused and at worst with the wrong idea of Marx’s intentions. This small book, aimed primarily at the activist, explains Marx’s ideas in as clear and simple language as possible, using contemporary examples to illustrate concepts and arguments.
Unravelling Capitalism (Joseph Choonara);
Recent years have seen a renewed interest in the ideas of Karl Marx, capitalism’s greatest critic. In this second edition of Unravelling Capitalism, Joseph Choonara brings up to date his introduction to Marx’s approach in order to outline how Marx’s ideas can be applied to the days. Joseph was born in South Africa and is now a leading a leader member of the Socialist Workers Party in Britain.
Naija Marxisms and Naija Marxisms: Revolutionary Thought In Nigeria (Adams Mayer)
Since the 1940s, Marxist thought has developed considerably in Nigeria. Long gone are the days when Marxism meant imported pamphlets and a rootless foreign ideology. The history of “Naija” or Nigerian Marxism is also that of the country’s labor movement, its feminist movement, its social thought, and its political economy. Drawn from three years of research in Nigeria and elsewhere, Naija Marxisms breaks new ground in tracing the historical trajectories of leftist movements since the 1940s. Adam Mayer explores the international context of Nigerian Marxism and provides core chapters on key thinkers.
African struggles today: social movements since independence (Peter Dwyer and Leo Zeilig)
These leading Africa scholars investigate the social forces driving the democratic transformation of postcolonial states across southern Africa. Extensive research and interviews with civil society organizers in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Zambia, Malawi, Namibia, and Swaziland inform this analysis of the challenges faced by non-governmental organizations in relating both to the attendant inequality of globalization and to grassroots struggles for social justice.
Routledge Handbook Of Marxism And Post-Marxism
There are also a lot of good free articles from the quarterly journal, International Socialism, from the Socialist Workers Party in Britain: http://isj.org.uk/