Common Notions seeks to translate and circulate the tools of research utilized in movement-building practices in an effort to generalize common notions about the creation of other worlds beyond capitalism. Inspired by various autonomist traditions of militant research, Common Notions aims to aid in our collective reading of struggles and formulate new directions for living autonomy in our movements today.
1. In Letters of Blood and Fire: Work, Machines, and the Crisis of Capitalism — George Caffentzis
2. Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle — Silvia Federici
3. Sex, Race and Class--the Perspective of Winning: A Selection of Writings 1952–2011 —Selma James
4. The Debt Resisters' Operations Manual — Strike Debt/Occupy Wall Street
The Debt Resisters' Operations Manual
Editor: Strike Debt/Occupy Wall Street
Publisher: PM Press/Common Notions
Page count: 224 Pages
Subjects: Politics-Social Movements/Current Events/Economics
Over the last thirty years, as wages have stagnated across the country, average household debt has more than doubled. Increasingly, we are forced to take on debt to meet our needs—from housing, to education, to medical care. The results—wrecked lives, devastated communities, and an increasing reliance on credit to maintain our basic living standards—reveal an economic system that enriches the few at the expense of the many.
The Debt Resisters’ Operations Manual is a handbook for debtors everywhere to understand how this system really works, while providing practical tools for fighting debt in its most exploitative forms. Inside, you'll find detailed strategies, resources, and insider tips for dealing with some of the most common kinds of debt, including credit card debt, medical debt, student debt, and housing debt. The book also contains tactics for navigating the pitfalls of personal bankruptcy, and information to help protect yourself from credit reporting agencies, debt collectors, payday lenders, check cashing outlets, rent-to-own stores, and more.
Written and edited by a network of activists, writers, and academics from Occupy Wall Street, additional chapters cover tax debt, sovereign debt, the relationship between debt and climate, and an expanded vision for a movement of mass debt resistance.
“That debt is neither inevitable nor ethical is one of the powerful assertions of Strike Debt, whose brilliant manual is both a practical handbook and a manifesto for a true debt jubilee: an economic rebirth in which the indebted are freed and financial institutions are reinvented.”
— Rebecca Solnit, author of A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster
“The impact of the neoliberal assault on the U.S. population in the past generation has rightly been designated a ‘failure by design.’ This failure is sharply class-based—for the designers it has been a grand success, and a failure for most of the rest. The same is true of debt. That sets two tasks for those who care about the health of the society: change the design, and find ways to cope as effectively with the failures it imposes. This valuable monograph by Strike Debt provides a good guide to undertake both.”
—Noam Chomsky, author of Hopes and Prospects
“The Debt Resisters’ Operations Manual is a powerful tool for resistance and creation. It shows how we can say 'no!' to debt—resist and refuse—at the same time it opens the possibility of alternative ways of relating and creating real value together, based on solidarity and care.”
—Marina Sitrin, author of Everyday Revolutions: Horizontalism and Autonomy in Argentina
“This Manual is a practical guide that will aid anyone who is struggling with debt. But even more important it is a political guide that illuminates the myriad kinds of debt relationships that define our society and helps us imagine how we can begin to organize collectively against debt.”
—Michael Hardt, author of Commonwealth
“The Debt Resisters’ Operation Manual is a sober, practical book that will save its readers much money and many sleepless nights. At the same time it is a visionary text that goes into the bowels of the debt machine to chart a collective way out of the state of debt-induced indentured servitude that millions of Americans face. Get a copy and join the movement.”
—Silvia Federici, author of Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle
About Strike Debt:
Strike Debt is a network of activists, writers, and academics from Occupy Wall Street. Key contributors include authors David Graeber, George Caffentzis, Andrew Ross, Nicholas Mirzoeff, Astra Taylor, Amin Husain, and Natasha Singh.
The Debt Resisters’ Operations Manual is a project of Strike Debt, which is building a movement of debt resistance and liberation based on principles of anti-oppression, autonomy, democratic decision-making, and direct action. In addition to this manual, Strike Debt initiatives include launching the “Rolling Jubilee,” a mutual-aid project that buys debt at steeply discounted prices and then abolishes it; hosting debtors’ assemblies; and planning direct actions across the country, ranging from debt burnings to targeted shutdowns of predatory lenders.
Buy book now | Download e-Book now | Strike Debt/Occupy Wall Street's Page
In Letters of Blood and Fire: Work, Machines, and the Crisis of Capitalism
Author: George Caffentzis
Publisher: PM Press/Common Notions
Published April 2013
Size: 9 by 6
Page count: 288 Pages
Karl Marx wrote that the only way to write about the origins of capitalism in the sixteenth century is in the letters of blood and fire used to drive workers from the common lands, forests and waters. This collection of essays by autonomist Marxist George Caffentzis argues that the same is true for the annals of twenty-first century capitalism. Information technology, immaterial production, financialization and globalization have been trumpeted as inaugurating a new phase of capitalism that put it beyond its violent origins. Instead of being in a period of major social and economic novelty, however, the course of the last decades has been a return to the fire and blood of struggles at the advent of capitalism.
Emphasizing class struggles that have proliferated across the social body of global capitalism, Caffentzis shows how a wide range of conflicts and antagonisms in the labor-capital relation express themselves within and against the work process. These struggles are so central to the dynamic of the system that even the most sophisticated machines cannot liberate capitalism from class struggle and the need for labor. Moreover, the theme of war and crisis permeate the text but are also given singular emphasis, documenting the peculiar way in which capital perpetuates violence and proliferates misery on a world scale. The collection draws upon a careful re-reading of Marx’s thought in order to elucidate political concerns of the day. The essays in this collection have been written to contribute to the debates of the anti-capitalist movement over the last thirty years. This book is meant to make them more available as tools for the struggle in this period of transition to a common future.
“George Caffentzis has been the philosopher of the anti-capitalist movement from the American civil rights movement of the 1960s to the European autonomists of the 1970s, from the Nigerian workers of the oil boom of the 1980s to the encuentros of the Zapatistas in the 1990s, from the feminists of wages-for-housework to the struggle of the precariat for the commons. Trained as both an economist and a physicist he has taken fundamental categories such as money, time, work, energy, and value and re-thought them in relation to both revolutionary Marxism and to the dynamics of our changing movement. An historian of our own times he carries the political wisdom of the 20th into the 21st century. He is a lively and dogged polemicist; he dances circles around the pompous marxologist; with the passing of time his thought has grown in depth and increasingly tends to be expressed with pleasure and humor. The lever by which he overturns the world is light as a feather, and its fulcrum is as down to earth as the housewife, the student, the peasant, the worker. Here is capitalist critique and proletarian reasoning fit for our time.”
—Peter Linebaugh, author of The Magna Carta Manifesto: Liberties and Commons for All
About the Author:
George Caffentzis is a political philosopher and autonomist Marxist. He is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern Maine and a founding member of the Midnight Notes Collective.
Buy book now | Download e-Book now | George Caffentzis's Page
Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle
Author: Silvia Federici
Publisher: PM Press/Common Notions
Published April 2012
Size: 8 by 5
Page count: 208 Pages
Subjects: Women's Studies/Politics/Sociology$15.95
Written between 1975 and the present, the essays collected in this volume represent thirty years of research and theorizing on questions of social reproduction and the transformations which the globalization process has produced. Originally inspired by Federici’s organizational work in the Wages For Housework movement, topics discussed include the international restructuring of reproductive work and its effects on the sexual division of labor, the globalization of care work and sex work, the crisis of elder care, and the development of affective labor. Though theoretical in style, the book is written in an explanatory manner that makes it both accessible to a broad public and ideal for classroom use.
“Finally we have a volume that collects the many essays that over a period of four decades Silvia Federici has written on the question of social reproduction and women’s struggles on this terrain. While providing a powerful history of the changes in the organization of reproductive labor, Revolution at Point Zero documents the development of Federici’s thought on some of the most important questions of our time: globalization, gender relations, the construction of new commons.”
—Mariarosa Dalla Costa
About the Author:
Silvia Federici is a feminist activist, writer, and a teacher. In 1972 she was one of the co-founders of the International Feminist Collective, the organization that launched the international campaign for Wages For Housework (WFH). In the 1990s, after a period of teaching and research in Nigeria, she was active in the anti-globalization movement and the U.S. anti-death penalty movement. She is one of the co-founders of the Committee for Academic Freedom in Africa, an organization dedicated to generating support for the struggles of students and teachers in Africa against the structural adjustment of African economies and educational systems. From 1987 to 2005 she taught international studies, women studies, and political philosophy courses at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. All through these years she has written books and essays on philosophy and feminist theory, women’s history, education and culture, and more recently the worldwide struggle against capitalist globalization and for a feminist reconstruction of the commons.
Buy book now | Download e-Book now | Silvia Federici's page
Sex, Race and Class--the Perspective of Winning: A Selection of Writings 1952–2011
Author: Selma James
Foreword by: Marcus Rediker
Introduction by: Nina López
Publisher: PM Press
Published: March 2012
Size: 9 by 6
Page count: 300 Pages
Subjects: Feminism, Literary Collection, Politics
In 1972 Selma James set out a new political perspective. Her starting point was the millions of unwaged women who, working in the home and on the land, were not seen as “workers” and their struggles viewed as outside of the class struggle. Based on her political training in the Johnson-Forest Tendency, founded by her late husband C.L.R. James, on movement experience South and North, and on a respectful study of Marx, she redefined the working class to include sectors previously dismissed as “marginal.”
For James, the class struggle presents itself as the conflict between the reproduction and survival of the human race, and the domination of the market with its exploitation, wars, and ecological devastation. She sums up her strategy for change as “Invest in Caring not Killing.”
This selection, spanning six decades, traces the development of this perspective in the course of building an international campaigning network. It includes the classic The Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community which launched the “domestic labor debate,” the exciting Hookers in the House of the Lord which describes a church occupation by sex workers, an incisive review of the C.L.R. James masterpiece The Black Jacobins, a reappraisal of the novels of Jean Rhys and of the leadership of Julius Nyerere, the groundbreaking Marx and Feminism, and “What the Marxists Never Told Us About Marx,” published here for the first time.
The writing is lucid and without jargon. The ideas, never abstract, spring from the experience of organising, from trying to make sense of the successes and the setbacks, and from the need to find a way forward.
"It's time to acknowledge James’s path-breaking analysis: from 1972 she re-interpreted the capitalist economy to show that it rests on the usually invisible unwaged caring work of women." —Dr. Peggy Antrobus, feminist, author of The Global Women’s Movement: Origins, Issues and Strategies
“For clarity and commitment to Haiti’s revolutionary legacy…Selma is a sister after my own heart.” —Danny Glover, actor and activist
“The publication of these essays reflects in concentrated form the history of the new society struggling to be born. Their appearance today could not be timelier. As the fruit of the collective experience of the last half-century, they will help to acquaint a whole new generation with not only what it means to think theoretically, but, more importantly, the requirement of organization as the means of testing those ideas. In this respect, Selma James embodies in these essays the spirit of the revolutionary tradition at its most relevant.” —Dr. Robert A. Hill, Literary Executor of the estate of C.L.R. James, University of California, Los Angeles, Director, Marcus Garvey Papers Project
About the Author:
Selma James is a women's rights and anti-racist campaigner and author. From 1958 to 1962 she worked with C.L.R. James in the movement for West Indian federation and independence. In 1972 she founded the International Wages for Housework Campaign, and in 2000 helped launch the Global Women's Strike whose strategy for change is "Invest in Caring not Killing". She coined the word “unwaged” which has since entered the English language. In the 1970s she was the first spokeswoman of the English Collective of Prostitutes. She is a founding member of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network. She co-authored the classic The Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community which launched the “domestic labour debate.” Other publications include A Woman’s Place (1952), Women, the Unions and Work, or what is not to be done (1972), Sex, Race and Class (1974), Wageless of the World (1974), The Rapist Who Pays the Rent (1982), The Ladies and the Mammies—Jane Austen and Jean Rhys (1983), Marx and Feminism (1983), Hookers in the House of the Lord (1983), Strangers & Sisters: Women, Race and Immigration (1985), The Global Kitchen—the Case for Counting Unwaged Work (1985 and 1995), and The Milk of Human Kindness—Defending Breastfeeding from the AIDS Industry and the Global Market (2005).
About Marcus Rediker (Foreword):
Marcus Rediker is a an activist and Distinguished Professor of Atlantic History at the University of Pittsburgh. His books include: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (1987), The Many-Headed Hydra (2000), Villains of All Nations (2004), The Slave Ship: A Human History (2007), and many more.
About Nina López (Introduction):
Nina López is the joint co-ordinator of the Global Women’s Strike. Her writings and edited volumes include: Prostitute Women and AIDS—Resisting the Virus of Repression
(1988), Some Mother's Daughter: The Hidden Movement of Prostitute Women Against Violence
(1998), The Milk of Human Kindness
(2002), and Creating a Caring Economy: Nora Castañeda and the Women’s Development Bank of Venezuela
Buy book now | Download e-Book now | Selma James's Page