I am, with certain notable constraints, a book collector. Those constraints are worth noting here: since I have no space to store masses of wood pulp, those books have to be electronic in form, and since I have little disposable money, those books have to be free. In light of the looming political catastrophe facing us not only in the United States, but sadly across much of the world, it occurred to me that many of those books have become horrifyingly more relevant. With that in mind, it occurred to me that I ought to share what I’ve collected for any and all who might be interested. I will update this post as I discover new things, and list the date of the most recent update just above the fold
This in no way pretends to be a comprehensive list, merely a list of things I’ve variously stumbled upon and, on rarer occasions, went out looking for. I’ve not added anything that might be considered “classical” political theory (i.e., part of the “canon” in a philosophy class) as these can be readily found at places like Project Gutenberg. Nor have I included anything that might be viewed as socialist polemics since, once again, this can be readily found at places like the Marxists Internet Archive.
Updated: January 4th, 2017, the Indivisible guide book. Update is at the bottom.
The first link I wish to mention is not to a book, but a whole shelf of books to be found at The Albert Einstein Institution online library (English). The list includes a great number of volumes on non-violent resistance such as How Non-violent Struggle Works, by Gene Sharp, and On Strategic Non-violent Conflict: Thinking about the fundamentals, by Robert Helvey. The entire Institution is dedicated to, “advance the worldwide study and strategic use of nonviolent action.” This is a great set of books to learn some of the nuts and bolts of organizing and resisting.
The next book to be mentioned is an autobiography, Playing Bigger Than You Are: A Life in Organizing, by Stewart Acuff (Author), Senator Bernie Sanders (Foreword). Despite the fact that the link is back to Amazon, the book is still free (at least, as of this writing.)
I’m a little worried about Saul Alinsky’s approach to things, as it often comes off a bit too “real politik” for my taste, but his Rules for Radicals is an important book, and so I mention it here.
Robert Altemeyer’s The Authoritarians is a favorite of mine, and I’ve discussed it in these pages numerous times. I mention it again because I believe it is essential to understand the kind of mindset that Trump and his supporters evince.
A knowledge of economics is not necessarily the first thing you think of when protesting injustice, but it is an essential component of actually understanding the structural characteristics of that injustice. My “go to” guy here has long been Dean Baker, founding member of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). Baker’s many books include his most recent, Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer, as well as others such as The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive, and The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer. A complete listing of Baker’s books can be found HERE. In addition to CEPR, I would also recommend the Economic Policy Institute as a source of numerous materials.
The speeches and sermons of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. obviously leap to mind, but comparatively few of these are freely available. One exception, however, is his masterful “Letter From A Birmingham Jail.” This is a truly extraordinary piece of writing, and in just a few pages it sets out pretty nearly all of the key points relating to non-violent resistance. Many of King’s other speeches can be found online (his Nobel speech, for example) and for the price of some copying and pasting, they can be turned into documents that can be loaded onto an eReader. Stanford University currently houses The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute.
A group calling themselves Cognitive Policy Works has published a brief manual, The Progressive Strategy Handbook. I’ve only glanced at this, but it seems useful enough to include here.
Finally, it is well worth refreshing our memories regarding “the owners manual,” that is, the Constitution of the United States. A ten pack of pocket copies can be had for $12 from the ACLU, while a single copy can be had for free from TheCapitol.net. Another useful online resource is this discussion of things that are NOT in the Constitution.
Added in update: Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda.