2018 was an eventful year for us at LeftWord Books. We published 10 new books this year. This blog is a brief review of our books this year and also includes the reviews that our books received, their excerpts from various publications, interviews of our authors and events around our books.


The End of the Beginning: Lessons of the Soviet Collapse

In this book, Carlos Martinez goes back to the legacy of the USSR, traces the lessons to be learned from the crucial socialist experiment that lasted a mere seventy years and provides a challenging narrative of its collapse. Available here. You can read an excerpt from the introduction to the book here.

Only People Make Their Own History: Political Essays, 2000-2018

Samir Amin’s primary concern as an economist is the form that imperialism takes in the last hundred years—driven at first by capitalist monopolies and later by what he calls generalized monopolies of the imperialist Triad (United States, Europe and Japan). He shows how this new system not only amplifies capital accumulation, and thereby world poverty and pauperization, but also how it gives rise to fascism. Originally written for Monthly Review, the essays selected for this volume provide the most fundamental coordinates of Samir Amin’s thoughts in the last decades of his life. His range is wide, moving from Chinese socialism to political Islam, from the weakened political power of the working class and peasantry in the world and the potential for a revived political movement towards socialism. The book is available here.

Truth Will Prevail: Why I Have Been Condemned

An ultra-right fanatic is today the President of Brazil. This needn’t have come to pass.

After serving as president of Brazil from 2003 to 2011, and on the verge of starting his candidacy for the 2018 election (which he was favoured to win), Lula was arrested and sentenced to 12 years in prison, convicted of “passive corruption”.

The champion of a national movement that united the middle class and working class in what came to be known as “Lulism”, Lula was Brazil’s first working-class president; the first president to have no university degree; the only president to democratically complete two terms in office; and the only elected president followed by a successor who was also elected by direct popular vote. In public opinion polls, he is recognized by 50% of the population as the best president Brazil has ever had. Backed by organized labour, Lulism confronted issues of mass poverty.

What does he stand for? Why did the Worker’s Party lose power after the re-election of Dilma Rousseff? What now for Lula, and Brazil? In Truth Will Prevail, Lula discusses his vision in detail. The book is available here.

Selected Writings of Lenin

‘Struggling uncompromisingly with the reformists and all kinds of distortionists of Marxism, Lenin brought scientific socialism to a new stage. He enriched Marxism, the great ideological weapon of the proletariat, and greatly contributed to the formulation of the theory of proletarian dictatorship. He developed the Marxist principle on the worker–peasant alliance, the national and colonial question, proletarian internationalism, the building and strengthening of a new type of proletarian party, which is the only organisation capable of leading the multiform struggle of the working class and enslaved peoples. Lenin established a new theory of socialist revolution and demonstrated the possibilities of the triumph of socialism in a single country.’ — Ho Chi Minh

The essential writings of Lenin, in a single volume, for the radical revolutionaries of today and tomorrow. Edited by Vijay Prashad, this book is available here.

The Dirty War In Kashmir: Frontline Reports

Shujaat Bukhari was one of the most vital, balanced and well-informed voices in Kashmir. Perhaps for this reason, the 50-year-old journalist was shot dead by motorcycle-borne gunmen in Srinagar on the evening of June 14, 2018, as he was leaving the office of Rising Kashmir.

A voice has been silenced. But before he was killed, Shujaat Bukhari documented for Frontline magazine the damage done to Kashmir. This book collects Shujaat Bukhari’s reports from May 2017 to his assassination. He reflects here on the policies of the Indian state (including the impunity given to the army), the hate-filled politics of the Hindu Right (exemplified in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua), the alienation of the Kashmiri people, the protests of young people (and their use of social media) and the rise of a new kind of militant (such as Burhan Wani). These are detailed assessments, essential reading for anyone who wants to know about the old and new forces inside Kashmir.

The pieces offer insights into the ways and means to bring about lasting peace in the valley – a cause for which Shujaat lived and died. Available here.

The Kisan Long March in Maharashtra

This book documents one of the more inspiring struggles of our time – the fight of the kisans of Maharashtra against a government committed to money more than people. How did it come about? What were the causes that led to it? How much work did the All India Kisan Sabha put into this extraordinarily disciplined, democratic and dignified protest?

This book is available for free download: as PDF and Mobi (Kindle). Also, visit All India Kisan Sabha for information on the several Kisan agitations and struggles going on all over India.

Scroll ran an excerpt of P. Sainath’s preface to the book. We had two posts about Kisan Long March for our blog. In the first post, we covered important pieces on the Kisan Long March on media platforms across the country. In the second blog, Ramu Ramanathan wrote a profile on Comrade Jiva Gavit, one of the leaders of Kisan Long March. Ramu Ramanathan also wrote an extensive profile of Comrade Ashok Dhawale in Mumbai Mirror. Comrade Ashok Dhawale has an essay in the book.

Ranjini Basu and Aparajita Bakshi reviewed the book for the Journal of Foundation of Agrarian Studies. The review calls the book an “important and timely documentation of a protest that framed the problems and issues facing a majority of the peasantry into a set of clear demands backed by the power of organised collective action.” We had another review in Countercurrents.org by Theo Vynnychenko Kenji.

Strongmen- Trump-Modi-Erdoğan-Duterte

A collection of fables in which four brilliant artists and writers confront four strongmen. Eve Ensler, Danish Husain, Burhan Sonmez and Ninotchka Rosca present accounts of Trump, Modi, Erdogan and Duterte.

Indian Cultural Forum and Scroll ran excerpts from Danish Husain’s fable on Modi. You can read them here and here. For Pune Mirror, Vinutha Mallya interviewed Eve Ensler, one of the contributors to the book. In her interview, Eve Ensler talked about her decision to not mention ‘Donald Trump’ by his name in her fable and rather refer to him as a virus and a narcissist. June 2018 saw the elections in Turkey where Tayyip Erdogan won the presidential elections. In a short interview for our blog, Burhan Sonmez talked about the possible aftermath of Erdogan’s victory and the challenges for the progressive forces in Turkey.

India vs. RSS 

The RSS feed on fear. Fighting them requires depriving them of it. Pinarayi Vijayan, Chief Minister of Kerela, was born in Kannur, ground zero of RSS terror. He has seen the worst that they have to offer. And he’s not afraid.

At the time when democracy is in danger, with an organization bent on dismantling the secular tradition of India holding the reins of power at the centre and in many states, Vijayan’s bold pronouncements challenging the BJP-RSS to combine to have a comforting quality. They remind us of the spectre in our midst – dividing people, suppressing women, stifling dissent, while slyly doing the biding of the neoliberal elite. More importantly, they reassure those on the left that all is not lost.

The battle for a secular and democratic India, against a sectarian and totalitarian RSS, is winnable. Pinarayi Vijayan is proof of that.

मंडल कमीशन: राष्ट्रनिर्माण की सबसे बड़ी पहल

भारतीय समाज और राजनीति को जिन घटनाओं ने सबसे ज्यादा बदला, उनमें मंडल कमीशन की रिपोर्ट का स्थान बहुत ऊपर है. भारत में आज़ादी के बाद के इतिहास को ‘मंडल कमीशन के पहले का भारत’ और ‘मंडल कमीशन के बाद का भारत’ जैसे कालखंडों में बांटा जा सकता है. यह आश्चर्यजनक है कि जिस रिपोर्ट का इतना असर है, उसे बहुत कम लोगों ने पढ़ा है. यह रिपोर्ट सरकारी दफ्तरों में सिमटकर रह गई. इस रिपोर्ट का सरकार ने हिंदी में अनुवाद तो कराया, लेकिन उसकी भाषा इतनी सरकारी और कठिन है, कि उसे पढ़ना और समझना मुश्किल है. यह किताब उसी कमी को पूरा करने की कोशिश है.

DSMM द्वारा आयोजित एक समारोह में दिलीप मंडल और सुभासिनी अली ने किताब का विमोचन किया और सभा को संबोधित किया. उनके और सत्येन्द्र पीएस, जो किताब के अनुवादक है, के संबोधन का विडियो इस लिंक पर उपलब्ध है.

इस किताब के लिए ‘मंडल कमीशन’ की रिपोर्ट का हिंदी में अनुवाद सत्येन्द्र पीएस ने किया है. सत्येन्द्र पीएस ने किताब की भूमिका भी लिखी है. प्रस्तावना जस्टिस पी.बी. सावंत ने लिखी है. हमारे ब्लॉग पर सत्येन्द्र पीएस की भूमिका का एक अंश हमने प्रकाशित किया जिसमें वो आरक्षण के प्रावधान के कारणों पर बात कर रहे हैं.

The Freedom Theatre: Performing Cultural Resistance in Palestine

This book depicts the theatre’s history, work, and vision through some of its key people. It gives room to thorough analyses of the context in which it operates and of the concept of Cultural Resistance, which is central to its work. Palestinian and international artists, academics and activists associated with the theatre, contribute personal and professional perspectives on the phenomenon that is The Freedom Theatre. This is as much a documentation of the work of The Freedom Theatre in its first ten years as it is a testament to its growing significance as a source of inspiration in Palestine and around the world.

Kuldeep Kumar reviewed the book for Frontline magazine. An excerpt from the review:

“Those who are interested in understanding the nature and dynamics of cultural activities of those who are living and functioning under oppressive conditions of occupation will find this book indispensable. It also underlines the fact that howsoever brutal a repressive regime might be, it cannot control or diminish oppressed people’s creative urges and cultural expression that invariably take the form of cultural resistance although its core remains political.”


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