The ABCs of Socialism

Bhaskar Sunkara

Book cover

At the aforementioned friends’ weekend in January, we also had a Revolution Book Exchange. This was the book I picked out of the pool (I gave The New Jim Crow). It’s written by the editors and contributors of Jacobin magazine, a great publication that Elise got me a subscription to last year.

Most of it wasn’t really news to me, which I guess means I’m beyond the ABCs! One essay that I particularly liked was “What about racism?” by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, which addresses an issue that came up a lot in the Sanders campaign: the relationship between socialism and anti-racism. Taylor gives a lot of interesting history and talks about the way racism has often served as a “divide and rule” method for the upper classes, not just in the US, but also for example in the UK (with anti-Irish racism)–in other words, arguing that class warfare and anti-racism are complements, not substitutes.

One other thing I wanted to mention about this (paper) book is the interesting approach the editors took to try to connect the essays to online content in Jacobin. All of the articles have unique index numbers, so that a link might look like “”. So in the text, whenever an author cites a Jacobin article, it just gives in a sidebar the title and author, and the number (e.g. 22959). This obviously only works because the book is tied to a specific publication that gave some thought to having a concise system of URLs, but I appreciate the creative attempt to link a paper book to articles online.

My Goodreads rating: 4 stars