The Peace Collective reading list is a collection of books we have read as a part of our monthly bookclubs. We come together every month to reflect on anti-imperialist writings or books about organizing tactics so we can go out in the world and create a reality we want to see. Sometimes the authors even join us!
Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds by adrienne maree brown
Emergent Strategy offers us ways of living, organizing, and collectively realizing the peaceful and just future we envision. A radical divergence from the patriarchal, capitalist ways of modern power holders, Emergent Strategy inspires us to take cues from the natural world, how we can live more in tune with it, and how that will impact our movements. This offering from adrienne maree brown, and her many mentors, is a gift to organizers of all paths to nourish our souls and strengthen our movements.
Addicted to War by Joel Andreas
"Addicted to War takes on the most active, powerful and destructive military in the world. Hard-hitting, carefully documented and heavily illustrated, it reveals why the United States has been involved in more wars in recent years than any other country. Read Addicted to War to find out who benefits from these military adventures, who pays—and who dies"
How to Hide an Empire: A history of the greater United States by Daniel Immerwahr
In How to Hide an Empire, Daniel Immerwahr details the history of US "territories" (aka colonies) that are deliberately left out of the American historical narrative, as well as how the US has modernized empire maintenance. If you want to know how the US got its 800 overseas military bases (including Guantanamo Bay), how overseas territories influenced the civil rights movement, or why "wilderness" is a white supremacist construct, read this book.
A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things by Raj Patel and Jason W. Moore
Nature, money, work, care, food, energy, and lives: these are the seven things that have made our world and will shape its future. In making these things cheap, modern commerce has transformed, governed, and devastated Earth. In A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things, Raj Patel and Jason W. Moore present a new approach to analyzing today’s planetary emergencies. Bringing the latest ecological research together with histories of colonialism, indigenous struggles, slave revolts, and other rebellions and uprisings, Patel and Moore demonstrate that throughout history, crises have always prompted fresh strategies to make the world cheap and safe for capitalism. At a time of crisis in all seven cheap things, innovative and systemic thinking is urgently required. This book proposes a radical new way of understanding—and reclaiming—the planet in the turbulent twenty-first century.
Border and Rule by Harsha Walia
Illuminating the brutal mechanics of state formation, Walia exposes US border policy as a product of violent territorial expansion, settler-colonialism, enslavement, and gendered racial exclusion. Further, she compellingly details how Fortress Europe and White Australia are using immigration diplomacy and externalized borders to maintain a colonial present, how temporary labor migration in the Arab Gulf states and Canada is central to citizenship regulation and labor control, and how far-right nationalism is escalating deadly violence in the US, Israel, India, the Philippines, Brazil, and across Europe, while producing a disaster of statelessness for millions elsewhere.
A must-read in these difficult times of war, inequality, climate change, and global health crisis, Border and Rule is a clarion call for revolution. The book includes a foreword from renowned scholar Robin D. G. Kelley and an afterword from acclaimed activist-academic Nick Estes.
Washington Bullets by Vijay Prashad
'Washington Bullets is written in the best traditions of Marxist journalism and history-writing. It is a book of fluent and readable stories, full of detail about US imperialism, but never letting the minutiae obscure the larger political point. It is a book that could easily have been a song of despair―a lament of lost causes; it is, after all, a roll call of butchers and assassins; of plots against people’s movements and governments; of the assassinations of socialists, Marxists, communists all over the Third World by the country where liberty is a statue.
Despite all this, Washington Bullets is a book about possibilities, about hope, about genuine heroes. One such is Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso―also assassinated―who said: ‘You cannot carry out fundamental change without a certain amount of madness. In this case, it comes from nonconformity, the courage to turn your back on the old formulas, the courage to invent the future. It took the madmen of yesterday for us to be able to act with extreme clarity today. I want to be one of those madmen. We must dare to invent the future.’ Author Vijay Prashad joined the Peace Collective for our book club in the month of August 2021.
The Jakarta Method by Vincent Bevins
In 1965, the U.S. government helped the Indonesian military kill approximately one million innocent civilians. This was one of the most important turning points of the twentieth century, eliminating the largest communist party outside China and the Soviet Union and inspiring copycat terror programs in faraway countries like Brazil and Chile. But these events remain widely overlooked, precisely because the CIA's secret interventions were so successful.
In this bold and comprehensive new history, Vincent Bevins builds on his incisive reporting for the Washington Post, using recently declassified documents, archival research and eye-witness testimony collected across twelve countries to reveal a shocking legacy that spans the globe. For decades, it's been believed that parts of the developing world passed peacefully into the U.S.-led capitalist system. The Jakarta Method demonstrates that the brutal extermination of unarmed leftists was a fundamental part of Washington's final triumph in the Cold War. Author Vincent Bevins joined the Peace Collective for our book club in September 2021.
Humanitarian Imperialism by Jean Bricmont
Since the end of the Cold War, the idea of human rights has been made into a justification for intervention by the world's leading economic and military powers—above all, the United States—in countries that are vulnerable to their attacks. The criteria for such intervention have become more arbitrary and self-serving, and their form more destructive, from Yugoslavia to Afghanistan to Iraq. Until the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the large parts of the left was often complicit in this ideology of intervention—discovering new “Hitlers” as the need arose, and denouncing antiwar arguments as appeasement on the model of Munich in 1938.
Jean Bricmont’s Humanitarian Imperialism is both a historical account of this development and a powerful political and moral critique. It seeks to restore the critique of imperialism to its rightful place in the defense of human rights. It describes the leading role of the United States in initiating military and other interventions, but also on the obvious support given to it by European powers and NATO. It outlines an alternative approach to the question of human rights, based on the genuine recognition of the equal rights of people in poor and wealthy countries.
Timely, topical, and rigorously argued, Jean Bricmont’s book establishes a firm basis for resistance to global war with no end in sight. The Peace Collective read this for our book club for October 2021.