City Lights Resistance Reading List

Created in the wake of the November election, our newest bookstore section, “Pedagogies of Resistance,” is designed to act as an educational course in revolutionary competence. These texts build upon one another to highlight the motivations, ideas, successes, and failures that define past and present revolutionary movements in order to illuminate possibilities for current and future movement builders. 

These titles below, selected from a developing list of nearly 100 books, are available for purchase via our online store. The rest can be found on a visit to our bookstore–we hope you’ll come by to check out our new section. Our democracy needs every one of us to be as informed and engaged as possible! Arm yourself with information.



Verso Book of Dissent; edited by Andrew Hsaio and Audrea Lim (Verso, 2016). A freshly updated edition of this classic compendium is perfect at any stage of your revolutionary education, from the budding iconoclast to the revolutionary scholar. Global in scope and vast in its historic reach,  this collection draws from folk songs and poems, manifestos, speeches, pamphlets, and plays, thus expressing the ultimate power of words and ideas in all revolutionary movements.

Waiting ‘Til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America; Peniel E. Joseph (Holt, 2007). Masterful in its scope and nuance, this indelible history illuminates the interconnections between the more mainstream Civil Rights Movement and the Black Power Movement, often pitted against one another in traditional history books. Joseph traces the ways in which individuals and ideas moved in, through, and around both movements, shattering widely held notions about the Black Power Movement and its adherents.

Anti-Intellectualism in American Life; Richard Hofstadter (Vintage, 1966). Our President-Elect embodies anti-intellectualism to the point of farce. From his rejection of daily intelligence briefings (“I don’t have to be told–you know, I’m, like, a smart person,”) to his denial of climate science, to his repeated use of the non-word “bigly,” it was nearly impossible for many of us to imagine him sitting in the Oval Office. But here we are again, and again, and again, and again…

Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals; Saul Alinsky (Vintage, 1989). This playbook, originally published in 1971, is one of the earliest definitive texts of the modern community organizing movement. Utilized by organizers on all sides and edges of the political spectrum, consider this your 101 entry point to the world of practical organizing.


Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace; Vandana Shiva (North Atlantic, 2015). Monsanto got you down? Want to do something about the future of food? In India, women and farmers are at the vanguard of the environmental justice movement. Learn from their ways.


Citizen: An American Lyric; Claudia Rankine (Graywolf, 2014). “So groundbreaking is Rankine’s work that it’s almost impossible to describe; suffice it to say that this is a poem that reads like an essay (or the other way around) — a piece of writing that invents a new form for itself, incorporating pictures, slogans, social commentary and the most piercing and affecting revelations to evoke the intersection of inner and outer life.”—Los Angeles Times

The Meaning of Freedom and Other Difficult Dialogues; Angela Y. Davis, introduction by Robin D.G. Kelley (City Lights, 2012). This collection of speeches enlightens connections between seemingly distinct societal ills, such as misogyny, racism, incarceration, capitalism, queerness, and conservatism, with the sort of enlivening prose that can’t help but inspire action.

Struggle for the Land: Native north American Resistance to Genocide, Ecocide and Colonization; Ward Churchill; introduction by Winona LaDuke (City Lights, 2002). This seminal book established Churchill as an intellectual force to be reckoned with in indigenous land rights debates. Required reading for anyone interested in Native North America and ecological justice. Revised and expanded edition.

America at War with Itself; Henry A, Giroux, Foreword by Robin D.G. Kelly (City Lights, 2016). Giroux directly confronts the Trump administration with clarity, wit, and wide-reaching intellect.



and the rest…

All Our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life; Winona LaDuke (Haymarket, 2016).

The Next Revolution: Popular Assemblies and the Promise of Direct Democracy; Murray Bookchin; edited by Debbie Bookchin and Blair Taylor; preface by Ursula K. Le Guin (Verso, 2015).

That’s Revolting: Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation; Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore (Soft Skull, 2008).

Wherever There’s a Fight: How Runaway Slaves, Suffragists, Immigrants, Strikers, and Poets Shaped Civil Liberties in California; Elaine Elinson and Stan Yogi (Heyday, 2009).

SNAG Anthology: A Decade of Indigenous Media, 2003-2013; Ras K’Dee, Shadi Rahimi, and Melissa Nelson (SNAG, 2015).

Red Rosa: A Graphic Biography of Rosa Luxemburg; Kate Evans; edited by Paul Buhle; (Verso, 2015).

Autobiography of a Blue-Eyed Devil: My Life & Times in a Racist Imperialist Society; Inga Muscio (Seven Stories, 2014).

Obfuscation: A User’s Guide for Privacy and Protest; Finn Brunton and Helen Nissenbaum (MIT, 2016).

Against Equality: Queer Revolution, Note Mere Inclusion; Ryan Conrad (AK, 2014).

The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial Is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy; Michael E. Mann and Tom Toles (Columbia University, 2016).

Of Poetry & Protest: From Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin; edited by Phil Cushway and Michael Warr, photographs by Victoria Smith (Norton, 2016).

How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America: Problems in Race, Political Economy, and Society; Manning Marable; foreword by Leith Mullings (Haymarket, 2015).

¡Zapatistas!: Making Another World Possible, Chronicle of Resistance 2000-2006; John Ross (Nation, 2009).

The Revolution Has Come: Black Power, Gender, and the Black Panther Party in Oakland; Robyn C. Spencer (Duke University, 2016).

The Muslims Are Coming: Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror; Arun Kundnani (Verso, 2015).

Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America; Richard Rorty (Harvard University, 1999).

Voices of Liberation: Frantz Fanon; Leo Zeilig; introduction by Mireille Fanon-Mendes France (Haymarket, 2016).

Dear White People: A Guide to Inter-Racial Harmony in “Post-Racial” America; Justin Simien; illustrated by Ian O’Phelan (Atria/37 INK).

The New York Young Lords and the Struggle for Liberation; Darrel Wanzer-Serrano (Temple University, 2015).

The Bomb: The Classic Novel of Anarchist Violence; Frank Harris (Feral House, 2008).

Song of the Stubborn One Thousand: The Watsonville Canning Strike 1985-87; Peter Shapiro (Haymarket, 2016).

On Revolution; Hannah Arendt; introduction by Jonathan Schell (Penguin Classics).

There Is Power in a Union: The Epic Story of Labor in America; Philip Dray (Anchor).

Electoral Guerrilla Theatre: Radical Ridicule and Social Movements; L.M. Bogad (Routledge, 2016).

Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power; Seth Rosenfeld (Picador, 2013).

Unruly Equality: U.S. Anarchism in the Twentieth Century; Andrew Cornell (University of California, 2016).

Seizing Freedom: Slave Emancipation and Liberty for All; David Roediger (Verso, 2015).

Neighborhood Rebels: Black Power at the Local Level; edited Peniel E. Joseph (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).

Taking Sides: Revolutionary Solidarity and the Poverty of Liberalism; Cindy Milstein (AK, 2015).

Folding the Red into the Black: Developing a Viable Untopia for Human Survival in the 21st Century; Walter Mosley (OR, 2016).

Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive; Julia Serano (Seal, 2013).

American Negro Slave Revolts; Herbert Apthekar (International Publishing, 1983).

The Bauxite Strike and the Old Politics; Eusi Kwayana; introduction by Matthew Quest (On Our Own Authority!, 2016).

Bastards of Utopia: Living Radical Politics After Socialism; Maple Razsa (Indiana University, 2015).

Crashing the Party: Legacies and Lessons from the RNC 2000; Kris Hermes; foreword by Marina Sitrin; afterword by Heidi Boghosian.

The Heart of the Declaration: The Founders’ Case for an Activist Government; Steve Pincus (Yale University, 2016).

Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution; David Carter (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2010).

By Any Media Necessary: The New Youth Activism; Henry Jenkins, Sangita Shresthova, Liana Gamber-Thompson, Neta Kligler-Vilenchik, and Arely Zimmerman (NYU, 2016).

From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation; Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor (Haymarket, 2016).

You Don’t Play with Revolution: The Montreal Lectures of C.L.R. James; edited by David Austin (AK, 2009).

Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt; Chris Hedges (Nation, 2016).

A Time to Die: The Attica Prison Revolt; Tom Wicker (Haymarket, 2011).

Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right; Lisa McGirr (Princeton University, 2015).

The Black Revolution on Campus; Martha Biondi (University of California, 2014).

Power to the People: The World of the Black Panthers; Bobby Seale; photographs by Stephen Shames (Harry N. Abrams, 2016).

Portraits of Violence: An Illustrated History of Radical Critique; Brad Evans and Sean Michael Wilson; illustrated by Carl Thompson, Robert Brown, Mike Medaglia, and Chris Mackenzie (New Internationalist, 2016).

The Posthuman Dada Guide: Tzara and Lenin Play Chess; Andrei Codrescu (Princeton University, 2009).

Ringolevio: A Life Played for Keeps; Emmett Grogan; introduction by Peter Coyote (New York Review of Books Classics, 2008).

Direct Action & Sabotage: Three Classic IWW Pamphlets from the 1910s; Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Walker C. Smith, and William E. Trautmann; edited with an introduction by Salvatore Salerno (PM, 2014).

The End of Imagination; Arundhati Roy (Haymarket, 2016).

Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil; Hannah Arendt; introduction by Amos Elon (Penguin Classics, 2006).

Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable?; Judith Butler (Verso, 2016).

If They Come in the Morning; edited by Angela Y. Davis (Verso, 2016).

Utopia; Thomas More; introduction by China Miéville; essays by Ursula K. Le Guin (Verso, 2016).

Poor People’s Movements: Why They Succeed, How They Fail; Frances Fox Piven and Richard A. Cloward (Vintage, 1978).

Creating a Movement with Teeth: A Documentary History of the George Jackson Bridge; Daniel Burton-Rose; preface by Ward Churchill (PM, 2010).

Black Power 50; edited by Sylviane A. Diouf and Komozi Woodward; foreword by Khalil Gibran Muhammad (The New Press, 2016).

The Black Panthers Speak; edited by Philip S. Foner; introduction by Clayborne Carson; foreword by Barbara Ransby (Haymarket, 2014).

Stokely: A Life; Peniel E. Joseph (Civitas, 2016).

Rank and File: Personal History by Working-Class Organizers; edited by Alice Lynd and Staughton Lynd (Haymarket, 2012).

Household Workers Unite: The Untold Story of African American Women Who Built a Movement; Premilla Nadasen (Beacon, 2015).

Revolutionary Suicide; Huey P. Newton; introduction by Fredrika Newton; illustrated by Ho Che Anderson (Penguin Classics, 2009).

The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners, and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic; Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker (Beacon, 2013).

Say We Are Nations: Documents of Politics and Protest in Indigenous America Since 1887; Daniel M. Cobb (University of North Carolina, 2015).

Inter/Nationalism: Decolonizing Native America and Palestine; Steven Salaita (University of Minnesota, 2016).

Teaching Rebellion: Stories from the Grassroots Mobilization in Oaxaca; Diana Denham and the C.A.S.A. Collective (PM, 2008).

Zapata’s Disciple: Essays; Martín Espada (Curbstone, 2016).

Insurgent Mexico; John Reed (International, 1988).

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States; Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (Beacon, 2014).

We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation; Jeff Chang (Picador, 2016).

Reveille for Radicals; Saul Alinsky (Vintage, 1989).

The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century; Grace Lee Boggs and Scott Kurashige; foreword by Danny Glover; afterword by Imannuel Wallerstein (University of California, 2012).

Powered by Girl: A Field Guide for Supporting Youth Activists; Lyn Mikel Brown (Beacon, 2016).

Guerrilla USA: The George Jackson Brigade and the Anti-Capitalist Underground of the 1970s; Daniel Burton-Rose (University of California).

The Dialectics of Liberation; Stokely Carmichael, David Cooper, R.D. Laing, and Herbert Marcuse (Verso, 2015).

Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement; Angela Y. Davis; edited by Frank Barat; foreword by Cornel West (Haymarket, 2016).

The Society of the Spectacle; Guy Debord, translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith (Zone, 1995).

Sharp’s Dictionary of Power and Struggle: Language of Civil Resistance in Conflicts; Gene Sharp; foreword by Adam Roberts (Oxford University, 2011).

The Beach Beneath the Street: The Everyday Life and Glorious Times of the Situationist International; McKenzie Wark (Verso, 2015).

Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation; Silvia Federici (Autonomedia, 2004).

A Simple Revolution: The Making of an Activist Poet; Judy Grahn (Aunt Lute, 2013).


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