This is a short, evolving list of some works useful to start with in learning history and clarifying concepts (positively and negatively). It is by no means a complete list. Inclusion doesn’t imply total agreement with them or their authors/creators (which would be impossible). We are sharing them in the hope that they may be helpful and of interest to others, as they have been to us.
Organizational Questions of the Russian Social Democracy [Leninism or Marxism?], Rosa Luxemburg, 1904
This piece is a demarcation from Lenin’s bureaucratic conception of Democratic Centralism.
Value, Price and Profit, Karl Marx, 1865
A speech offering a basic breakdown of these concepts.
Marxist Economic Theory, Vol. 1 & 2, Ernest Mandel, 1962
Twenty Years in Underground Russia: Memoirs of a Rank-and-File Bolshevik, Cecelia Bubrovskaya, 1934
A narrative of what it was like to be a professional revolutionary in pre-revolutionary Russia.
The History of the American Working Class, Anthony Bimba, 1927
A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn, 1980
What is to be Done?, Vladimir Lenin, 1901
The State and Revolution, Vladimir Lenin, 1917
Analysis of the Classes in Chinese Society, Mao Zedong, 1929
On Contradiction, Mao Zedong, 1937
Combat Liberalism, Mao Zedong, 1937
Some Questions Concerning Methods of Leadership, Mao Zedong, 1943
On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People, Mao Zedong, 1957
The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters, Frances Stonor Saunders, 1999
China Shakes the World, Jack Belden, 1949
Accounts by a journalist traveling with the 8th Route Army, describing the people’s armed struggle against Chiang Kai-Shek and feudalism.
Fanshen: A Documentary of a Revolution in a Chinese Village, William Hinton, 1966
An account of the struggle to overturn feudalism in the Chinese countryside.
A History of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Jean Daubier, 1974
Good for a chronological account, but weak in describing the contending political lines.
Aranyak: Of the Forest, Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyaya, 1939
A narrative based on the author’s own witness to the defeat of tribal societies, the seizure and clearcutting of forest land, and the imposition of feudalism in Bengal.
The Wind that Shakes the Barley
A fictionalized account of the Irish Independence Struggle clarifies the importance of carrying through class struggle in the context of a national liberation struggle.
A fictionalized account showing various intolerable conditions of feudalism influencing a woman in India toward joining the Naxalites.