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Spectre is a series of indispensable works of, and about, radical political economy.  Spectre lays bare the dark underbelly of politics and economics, publishing outstanding and contrarian perspectives on the maelstrom of capital—and emancipatory alternatives—in crisis.

The companion Spectre Classics imprint unearths essential works of radical history, political economy, theory and practice, to illuminate the present with brilliant, yet unjustly neglected, ideas from the past.

Series Editor: Sasha Lilley


1. In and Out of Crisis: The Global Financial Meltdown and Left Alternatives
          — Greg Albo, Sam Gindin, and Leo Panitch
2. Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis and Resistance
          — David McNally
3. Capital and Its Discontents: Conversations with Radical Thinkers in a Time of Tumult
          — Sasha Lilley
4. William Morris: Romantic to Revolutionary
          — E.P. Thompson
5. Catastrophism: The Apocalyptic Politics of Collapse and Rebirth
          — Sasha Lilley, David McNally, Eddie Yuen, and James Davis
6. Stop, Thief!: The Commons, Enclosures, and Resistance
          — Peter Linebaugh
7. Men in Prison
         — Victor Serge
8.  The Incomplete, True, Authentic, and Wonderful History of May Day
         — Peter Linebaugh
9.  Birth of Our Power
         — Victor Serge
10. Pictures of a Gone City: Tech and the Dark Side of Prosperity in the San Francisco Bay Area
         — Richard A. Walker




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Capital and Its Discontents: Conversations with Radical Thinkers in a Time of Tumult
Editor: Sasha Lilley
Publisher: PM Press
ISBN: 978-1-60486-334-5
Published: March 2011
Format: Paperback
Size: 9 by 6
Page count: 320
Subjects: Politics, Economics
$20.00

Through a series of incisive conversations with some of the most eminent thinkers and political economists on the Left—including David Harvey, Ellen Meiksins Wood, Mike Davis, Leo Panitch, Tariq Ali, and Noam Chomsky—Capital and Its Discontents illuminates the dynamic contradictions undergirding capitalism and the potential for its dethroning. The book challenges conventional wisdom on the Left about the nature of globalization, neoliberalism and imperialism, as well as the agrarian question in the Global South. It probes deeply into the roots of the global economic meltdown, the role of debt and privatization in dampening social revolt, and considers capitalism’s dynamic ability to find ever new sources of accumulation—whether through imperial or ecological plunder or the commodification of previously unpaid female labor.
 
The Left luminaries in Capital and Its Discontents look at potential avenues out of the mess—as well as wrong turns and needless detours—drawing lessons from the history of post-colonial states in the Global South, struggles against imperialism past and present, the eternal pendulum swing of radicalism, the corrosive legacy of postmodernism, and the potentialities of the radical humanist tradition. At a moment when capitalism as a system is more reviled than ever, here is an indispensable toolbox of ideas for action by some of the most brilliant thinkers of our times.

Full list of contributor:

Noam Chomsky, Tariq Ali, Mike Davis, Ellen Meiksins Wood, David Harvey, Leo Panitch, Doug Henwood, Gillian Hart, John Bellamy Foster, Ursula Huws, David McNally, Jason W Moore, Vivek Chibber, John Sanbonmatsu, and Andrej Grubacic.

Praise:

“In this fine set of interviews, an A-list of radical political economists demonstrate why their skills are indispensable to understanding today’s multiple economic and ecological crises.” —Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved and The Value of Nothing

Buy book now | Buy e-Book now | Sasha Lilley's Page

Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis and Resistance
Author: David McNally
Publisher: PM Press/Spectre
Published: December 2010
ISBN: 978-1-60486-332-1
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 248 Pages
Dimensions: 8 by 5
Subjects: Politics-Marxism, Economics
$17.00

The book locates the recent meltdown in the intense economic restructuring that marked the recessions of the mid-1970s and early 1980s. Through this lens, it highlights the emergence of new patterns of world inequality and new centers of accumulation, particularly in East Asia, and the profound economic instabilities these produced. Global Slump offers an original account of the “financialization” of the world economy during this period, and explores the intricate connections between international financial markets and new forms of debt and dispossession, particularly in the Global South.

Analyzing the massive intervention of the world’s central banks to stave off another Great Depression, Global Slump shows that, while averting a complete meltdown, this intervention also laid the basis for recurring crises for poor and working class people: job loss, increased poverty and inequality, and deep cuts to social programs. The book takes a global view of these processes, exposing the damage inflicted on countries in the Global South, as well as the intensification of racism and attacks on migrant workers. At the same time, Global Slump also traces new patterns of social and political resistance – from housing activism and education struggles, to mass strikes and protests in Martinique, Guadeloupe, France and Puerto Rico – as indicators of the potential for building anti-capitalist opposition to the damage that neoliberal capitalism is inflicting on the lives of millions.

Praise:

“McNally has developed a powerful interpretation that sheds a mass of new light… This is a superb book.”
— Robert Brenner, author of The Economics of Global Turbulence on Political Economy and the Rise of Capitalism

Buy book now | Download e-Book now | David McNally's Page

 
In and Out of Crisis: The Global Financial Meltdown and Left Alternatives
Authors: Leo Panitch, Sam Gindin, and Greg Albo
Publisher: PM Press/Spectre
ISBN: 978-1-60486-212-6
Release Date: May 2010
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 144
Dimensions: 5.5 by 8.5
Subjects: Politics, Activism, Economics
$13.95

With an unparalleled understanding of the inner workings of capitalism, the authors of In and Out of Crisis provocatively challenge the call by much of the Left for a return to a largely mythical Golden Age of economic regulation as a check on finance capital unbound. They deftly illuminate how the era of neoliberal free markets has been, in practice, undergirded by state intervention on a massive scale. With clarity and erudition, they argue persuasively that given the current balance of social forces – as bank bailouts around the globe make evident – regulation is not a means of fundamentally reordering power in society, but rather a way of preserving markets.

Buy book now | Download e-Book now | Leo Panitch, Sam Gindin, and Greg Albo's Page

 

William Morris: Romantic to Revolutionary
Author: E.P. Thompson
Publisher: PM Press
ISBN: 978-1-60486-243-0
Published: February 2011
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 880
Size: 8.5 by 5.5
Subjects: Biography, Politics
$32.95

William Morris—the great 19th century craftsman, architect, designer, poet and writer—remains a monumental figure whose influence resonates powerfully today. As an intellectual (and author of the seminal utopian News From Nowhere), his concern with artistic and human values led him to cross what he called the ‘river of fire’ and become a committed socialist—committed not to some theoretical formula but to the day by day struggle of working women and men in Britain and to the evolution of his ideas about art, about work and about how life should be lived.

Many of his ideas accorded none too well with the reforming tendencies dominant in the Labour movement, nor with those of ‘orthodox’ Marxism, which has looked elsewhere for inspiration. Both sides have been inclined to venerate Morris rather than to pay attention to what he said.

Originally written less than a decade before his groundbreaking The Making of the English Working Class, E.P. Thompson brought to this biography his now trademark historical mastery, passion, wit, and essential sympathy. It remains unsurpassed as the definitive work on this remarkable figure, by the major British historian of the 20th century.

Praise:

“Two impressive figures, William Morris as subject and E. P. Thompson as author, are conjoined in this immense biographical-historical-critical study, and both of them have gained in stature since the first edition of the book was published... The book that was ignored in 1955 has meanwhile become something of an underground classic—almost impossible to locate in second-hand bookstores, pored over in libraries, required reading for anyone interested in Morris and, increasingly, for anyone interested in one of the most important of contemporary British historians... Thompson has the distinguishing characteristic of a great historian: he has transformed the nature of the past, it will never look the same again; and whoever works in the area of his concerns in the future must come to terms with what Thompson has written. So too with his study of William Morris.”
—Peter Stansky, The New York Times Book Review

Buy book now | E.P. Thompson's Page

Catastrophism: The Apocalyptic Politics of Collapse and Rebirth
Authors: Sasha Lilley, David McNally, Eddie Yuen, and James Davis
Foreword by Doug Henwood
Publisher: PM Press/Spectre
ISBN: 978-1-60486-589-9
Published November 2012
Format: Paperback
Size: 8 by 5
Page count: 192 Pages
Subjects: Politics/Current Events
$16.00

We live in catastrophic times. The world is reeling from the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression, with the threat of further meltdowns ever-looming. Global warming and myriad dire ecological disasters worsen—with little if any action to halt them—their effects rippling across the planet in the shape of almost Biblical floods, fires, droughts, and hurricanes. Governments warn that there is no alternative to the bitter medicine they prescribe—or risk devastating financial or social collapse. The right, whether religious or secular, views the present as catastrophic and wants to turn the clock back. The left fears for the worst, but hopes some good will emerge from the rubble. Visions of the apocalypse and predictions of impending doom abound. Across the political spectrum, a culture of fear reigns.


Catastrophism explores the politics of apocalypse—on the left and right, in the environmental movement—and examines why the lens of catastrophe can distort our understanding of the dynamics at the heart of these numerous disasters—and fatally impede our ability to transform the world. Lilley, McNally, Yuen, and Davis probe the reasons why catastrophic thinking is so prevalent, and challenge the belief that it is only out of the ashes that a better society may be born. The authors argue that those who care about social justice and the environment should jettison doomsaying—even as it relates to indisputably apocalyptic climate change. Far from calling people to arms, they suggest, catastrophic fear often results in passivity and paralysis—and, at worst, reactionary politics.


Praise:

Catastrophism comes at the right moment: 2012, the year of The End proclaimed across the political spectrum from deep ecologists to the Mayan Calendarists. Instead of concentrating on the merits of the claims of the various apocalypticians, Jim Davis, Sasha Lilley, David McNally, and Eddie Yuen examine the political function of these claims and find them to be deeply reactionary. This is a controversial book that challenges many of the unexamined assumptions on the left (as well as on the right). It is a warning not to abandon everyday anti-capitalist politics for a politics of absolute fear that inevitably leads to inaction.”
—Silvia Federici, author of Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle

"Bravo! This is the book that has been sorely needed for so long to reveal the dead-end that a politics founded on catastrophic predictions must lead to in terms of either preventing them or actually changing the world.  Essential reading for all those on the left who are concerned with the question of strategy today."
--Leo Panitch, coauthor of The Making of Global Capitalism

Buy book now | Buy e-Book now | Go to Sasha Lilley's, David McNally's, Eddie Yuen's, and James Davis's Author Pages

Stop, Thief!: The Commons, Enclosures, and Resistance
Author: Peter Linebaugh
Publisher: PM Press/Spectre
ISBN: 978-1-60486-747-3
Published: 02/2014
Format: Paperback
Size: 9x6
Page count: 304 Pages
Subjects: History/Politics/Economics
$21.95

In this majestic tour de force, celebrated historian Peter Linebaugh takes aim at the thieves of land, the polluters of the seas, the ravagers of the forests, the despoilers of rivers, and the removers of mountaintops. Scarcely a society has existed on the face of the earth that has not had commoning at its heart. "Neither the state nor the market," say the planetary commoners. These essays kindle the embers of memory to ignite our future commons.

From Thomas Paine to the Luddites, from Karl Marx—who concluded his great study of capitalism with the enclosure of commons—to the practical dreamer William Morris—who made communism into a verb and advocated communizing industry and agriculture—to the 20th-century communist historian E.P. Thompson, Linebaugh brings to life the vital commonist tradition. He traces the red thread from the great revolt of commoners in 1381 to the enclosures of Ireland, and the American commons, where European immigrants who had been expelled from their commons met the immense commons of the native peoples and the underground African-American urban commons. Illuminating these struggles in this indispensable collection, Linebaugh reignites the ancient cry, "STOP, THIEF!"

Praise:

"There is not a more important historian living today. Period."
—Robin D.G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination

"E.P. Thompson, you may rest now. Linebaugh restores the dignity of the despised luddites with a poetic grace worthy of the master… [A] commonist manifesto for the 21st century."
—Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums

"Peter Linebaugh's great act of historical imagination… takes the cliché of 'globalization' and makes it live. The local and the global are once again shown to be inseparable—as they are, at present, for the machine-breakers of the new world crisis."
—T.J. Clark, author of Farewell to an Idea

Buy book now | Buy e-Book now | Go to Peter Linebaugh's Author Page

Men in Prison
Author: Victor Serge
Introduction and Translation by Richard Greeman
Publisher: PM Press/Spectre
ISBN: 978-1-60486-736-7
Published: 03/01/2014
Format: Paperback
Size: 8.5x5.5
Page count: 232 Pages
Subjects: Fiction/Prison Issues
$18.95

“Everything in this book is fictional and everything is true,” wrote Victor Serge in the epigraph to Men in Prison. “I have attempted, through literary creation, to bring out the general meaning and human content of a personal experience.”

The author of Men in Prison served five years in French penitentiaries (1912–1917) for the crime of “criminal association”—in fact for his courageous refusal to testify against his old comrades, the infamous “Tragic Bandits” of French anarchism. “While I was still in prison,” Serge later recalled, “fighting off tuberculosis, insanity, depression, the spiritual poverty of the men, the brutality of the regulations, I already saw one kind of justification of that infernal voyage in the possibility of describing it. Among the thousands who suffer and are crushed in prison—and how few men really know that prison!—I was perhaps the only one who could try one day to tell all... There is no novelist’s hero in this novel, unless that terrible machine, prison, is its real hero. It is not about ‘me,’ about a few men, but about men, all men crushed in that dark corner of society.”

Ironically, Serge returned to writing upon his release from a GPU prison in Soviet Russia, where he was arrested as an anti-Stalinist subversive in 1928. He completed Men in Prison (and two other novels) in "semi-captivity" before he was rearrested and deported to the Gulag in 1933. Serge’s classic prison novel has been compared to Dostoyevsky’s House of the Dead, Koestler’s Spanish Testament, Genet’s Miracle of the Rose, and Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch both for its authenticity and its artistic achievement.

This edition features a substantial new introduction by translator Richard Greeman, situating the work in Serge’s life and times.

Praise:

“No purer book about the hell of prison has ever been written.”
—Martin Seymour-Smith, Scotsman

“There is nothing in any line or word of this fine novel which doesn’t ring true.”
Publishers Weekly

“This is a remarkable book… Capable of Dostoyevskian intensity and power...”
—Francis King, Sunday Telegraph

“This novel, properly so called by its author, being truth worked up as art, is strongly recommended both as a document and as a powerful work of literature.”
—Robert Garioch, Listener

"Serge is a writer young rebels desperately need whether they know it or not. He does not tell us what we should feel, he makes us feel it.”
—Stanley Reynolds, New Statesman

Buy book now | Buy e-Book now | Go to Victor Serge's Author Page

 

The Incomplete, True, Authentic, and Wonderful History of May Day
Author: Peter Linebaugh
Publisher: PM Press/Spectre
ISBN: 978-1-62963-107-3
Published: 03/2016
Format: Paperback
Size: 8x5
Page count: 200
Subjects: History-Revolutionary/Labor Studies
$15.95

“May Day is about affirmation, the love of life, and the start of spring, so it has to be about the beginning of the end of the capitalist system of exploitation, oppression, war, and overall misery, toil, and moil.” So writes celebrated historian Peter Linebaugh in an essential compendium of reflections on the reviled, glorious, and voltaic occasion of May 1st.

It is a day that has made the rich and powerful cower in fear and caused Parliament to ban the Maypole—a magnificent and riotous day of rebirth, renewal, and refusal. These reflections on the Red and the Green—out of which arguably the only hope for the future lies—are populated by the likes of Native American anarcho-communist Lucy Parsons, the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement, Karl Marx, José Martí, W.E.B. Du Bois, Rosa Luxemburg, SNCC, and countless others, both sentient and verdant. The book is a forceful reminder of the potentialities of the future, for the coming of a time when the powerful will fall, the commons restored, and a better world born anew.

Praise:

“There is not a more important historian living today. Period.”
—Robin D.G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination

“E.P. Thompson, you may rest now. Linebaugh restores the dignity of the despised luddites with a poetic grace worthy of the master.”
—Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums

“Ideas can be beautiful too, and the ideas Peter Linebaugh provokes and maps in this history of liberty are dazzling reminders of what we have been and who we could be.”
—Rebecca Solnit, author of Storming the Gates of Paradise

Buy book now | Buy e-Book now | Go to Peter Linebaugh's Author Page

 

Birth of Our Power
Author: Victor Serge • Introduction and Translation by Richard Greeman
Publisher: PM Press
ISBN: 978-1-62963-030-4
Published: 12/01/2014
Format: Paperback
Size: 8.5x5.5
Page count: 256
Subjects: Fiction/History-Europe
$18.95

Birth of Our Power is an epic novel set in Spain, France, and Russia during the heady revolutionary years 1917–1919. Serge's tale begins in the spring of 1917, the third year of mass slaughter in the blood-and-rain-soaked trenches of World War I. When the flames of revolution suddenly erupt in Russia and Spain, Europe is "burning at both ends." Although the Spanish uprising eventually fizzles, in Russia the workers, peasants, and common soldiers are able to take power and hold it.

Serge’s “tale of two cities” is constructed from the opposition between Barcelona, the city “we” could not take, and Petrograd, the starving, beleaguered capital of the Russian Revolution besieged by counter-revolutionary Whites. Between the romanticism of radicalized workers awakening to their own power in a sun-drenched Spanish metropolis to the grim reality of workers clinging to power in Russia’s dark, frozen revolutionary outpost. From “victory in defeat” to “defeat in victory."

The novel was composed a decade after the revolution in Leningrad, where Serge was living in semicaptivity because of his declared opposition to Stalin’s dictatorship over the revolution.

Praise:

“Nothing in it has dated. . . . It is less an autobiography than a sustained, incandescent lyric (half-pantheist, half-surrealist) of rebellion and battle.”
Times Literary Supplement

“Surely one of the most moving accounts of revolutionary experience ever written.”
—Neal Ascherson, New York Review of Books

“Probably the most remarkable of his novels. . . . Of all the European writers who have taken revolution as their theme, Serge is second only to Conrad. . . . Here is a writer with a magnificent eye for the panoramic sweep of historical events and an unsparingly precise moral insight.”
—Francis King, Sunday Telegraph

“Intense, vivid, glowing with energy and power . . . A wonderful picture of revolution and revolutionaries . . . The power of the novel is in its portrayal of the men who are involved.”
Manchester Evening News

Birth of Our Power is one of the finest romances of revolution ever written, and confirms Serge as an outstanding chronicler of his turbulent era. . . . As an epic, Birth of Our Power has lost none of its strength.”
—Lawrence M. Bensky, New York Times

Buy book now | Buy e-Book now | Go to Victor Serge's Author Page

 

Pictures of a Gone City: Tech and the Dark Side of Prosperity in the San Francisco Bay Area
Author: Richard A. Walker
Publisher: PM Press/ Spectre
ISBN: 978-1-62963-510-1
Published: 04/01/2018
Format: Paperback
Size: 9x6
Page count: 384
Subjects: Economics/Technology
$24.95

The San Francisco Bay Area is currently the jewel in the crown of capitalism—the tech capital of the world and a gusher of wealth from the Silicon Gold Rush. It has been generating jobs, spawning new innovation, and spreading ideas that are changing lives everywhere. It boasts of being the Left Coast, the Greenest City, and the best place for workers in the USA. So what could be wrong? It may seem that the Bay Area has the best of it in Trump’s America, but there is a dark side of success: overheated bubbles and spectacular crashes; exploding inequality and millions of underpaid workers; a boiling housing crisis, mass displacement, and severe environmental damage; a delusional tech elite and complicity with the worst in American politics.

This sweeping account of the Bay Area in the age of the tech boom covers many bases. It begins with the phenomenal concentration of IT in Greater Silicon Valley, the resulting growth in start-ups, jobs, and output, and the unbelievable wealth at the top generated by the local economy. This is followed by a look at the new working class of color, the millions earning poverty wages, and the struggles unleashed to improve their lot. The middle chapters survey the urban scene, starting with the housing bubble that made San Francisco the most expensive city in the U.S., and ending with the exploding metropolis now reaching a hundred miles in every direction. The final chapters take on the political questions raised by the environmental impact of the boom, the fantastical ideology of TechWorld, and the tech-led transformation of the region.

Praise:

“San Francisco has battened from its birth on instant wealth, high tech weaponry, and global commerce, and the present age is little different. Gold, silver, and sleek iPhones—they all glitter in the California sun and are at least as magnetic as the city’s spectacular setting, benign climate, and laissez-faire lifestyles. The cast of characters changes, but the hustlers and thought-shapers eternally reign over the city and its hinterland, while in their wake they leave a ruined landscape of exorbitant housing, suburban sprawl, traffic paralysis, and delusional ideas about a market free enough to rob the majority of their freedom. Read all about it here, and weep.”
—Gray Brechin, author of Imperial San Francisco: Urban Power, Earthly Ruin

“Too many studies of cities dwell on their peculiarities; this fascinating book balances the dramatic story of the Bay Area against a profound understanding of urbanization. It eschews a descriptive narrative in favor of hard-hitting critical analysis. The book is not only about the inherently contradictory development of the San Francisco region, but also about where it stands in relation to the rest of the United States, even the world and why it matters so much. No one but Richard Walker combines such an intimate knowledge one city with the theoretical insights necessary to make sense of it.”
—Kevin Cox, author of The Politics of Urban and Regional Development and the American Exception

“Debunking the Horatio Alger promotional blather of self-flattering tech moguls, the real Bay Area comes into view, based on nurses and teachers, drivers and clerks, homeless and the desperate. Real estate bubbles have given way to tech bubbles which have given way to housing bubbles, and now have given way to a chimerical prosperity that is as fragile as any of the prior ones.”
—Chris Carlsson, San Francisco historian and cofounder of Critical Mass

“Walker has given us a brilliantly accessible and fact-laden political economy of the San Francisco Bay Area—America’s richest and fastest changing metropolis. Pictures of a Gone City explains both the miracle of Silicon Valley and the heavy price, in growing inequality, unaffordability, and environmental impact, that the Bay Area is paying for it.”
—Wendy Brown, author of Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution

“With Pictures of a Gone City, California’s greatest geographer tells us how the Bay Area has become the global center of hi-tech capitalism. Drawing on a lifetime of research, Richard Walker dismantles the mythology of the New Economy, placing its creativity in a long history of power, work, and struggles for justice.”
—Jason W. Moore, author of Capitalism in the Web of Life

Buy book now | Buy e-Book now | Go to Richard A. Walker's Author Page



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