• The Socialist Manifesto

  • The Case for Radical Politics in an Era of Extreme Inequality
  • By: Bhaskar Sunkara
  • Narrated by: Benjamin Isaac
  • Length: 9 hrs and 39 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (446 ratings)

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The Socialist Manifesto

By: Bhaskar Sunkara
Narrated by: Benjamin Isaac
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Publisher's Summary

From one of the most prominent voices on the American left, a galvanizing argument for why we need socialism in the United States today.

The success of Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign revived a political idea many had thought dead. But what exactly is socialism? And what would a socialist system in America look like?  

In The Socialist Manifesto, Bhaskar Sunkara explores socialism's history since the mid-1800s and presents a realistic vision for its future. The editor of Jacobin Magazine, Sunkara shows that socialism, though often seen primarily as an economic system, in fact offers the means to fight all forms of oppression, including racism and sexism. The ultimate goal is not Soviet-style planning, but to win rights to health care, education, and housing and to create new democratic institutions in workplaces and communities. 

A primer on socialism for the 21st century, this is an audiobook for anyone seeking an end to the vast inequities of our age.

©2019 Bhaskar Sunkara (P)2019 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"American politics is gripped by the worst kind of debate over socialism: one where everyone has an opinion, but few know what they're talking about. In this book, Bhaskar Sunkara, one of America's leading socialists, shows what socialism is and how it might work. Whether you consider yourself a socialist or just want to argue with socialists, this is the place to start." (Ezra Klein, founder and editor at large of Vox)

"Accessible, irreverent and entertaining, Bhaskar Sunkara has delivered a razor-sharp guide to socialism's history, transformative promise, and path to power. This book also serves as an irresistible invitation to join in building that power, and in shaping the radically democratic future that is our best hope in these make-or-break times." (Naomi Klein, New York Times best-selling author of This Changes Everything and No is Not Enough)

"Thanks to the dysfunctionality of contemporary capitalism, 'socialism' has reentered the American political vocabulary, especially among the young. In The Socialist Manifesto, Bhaskar Sunkara gives us a lively account of socialism's history and current meanings, and makes the case for a genuine alternative to our deeply unequal social and political order." (Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton professor emeritus of history, Columbia University)

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Not that radical actually

It's so appalling to me that our current climate has grown so ill tempered that compassionate politics are considered radical. This is one of the most optimism inspiring works I have read in many years. Bhaskar Sunkara does a fantastic job of not only summarizing where socialism has been and where it is going, but also why we so desperately need socialist leadership to take power in the US and abroad. From fighting climate change and pollution, to ending wage exploitation, the future of humanity as it may exist, is surely one less driven by capitalism and more guided by socialist vision.

13 people found this helpful

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Timely argument for socialism in our time

While the title is a somewhat provocative reference to the Communist Manifesto (apparently a decision by the publisher to better market the book) it’s far less bombastic than it’s predecessor while sharing it’s dialectical materialist approach by being primarily an exploration of the recent history of various forms of socialism and their various victories and defeats.

Unique in it’s scope and sober in it’s analysis the text provides a critical lens to view the past and ends with a digestible and timely set of principles for contemporary socialists to build a future which synthesizes the ideal of broad social and individual freedoms without the exploitation and instability inherent to Capitalism.

In this age of highly mystified Neoliberal dominance — inflected by impending climate catastrophe and imminent implosion of Liberal Democracy — we must ask ourselves whether we accept Capitalist Eco-fascism at worst or if we will fight for a Democratic Socialism which is truly internationalist, restorative, inclusive, and just.

12 people found this helpful

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Doesn't live up to the title but has good history

So I thought I was the ideal audience for this book. I'm a leftist 20 something majoring in economics and looking to find fundamental and coherent socialist policy, but this book was not very helpful in that. The first chapter has a brief (but helpful) overview of how a socialist society would work
Unfortunately, it then spends 75% of the book giving a history of socialist movements. He then ends with a chapter on "How We Win" with very little explanation of the overall philosophy that we should be fighting.

With a title that compares it to such a fundamental but often dated text, I thought it would be something I could take into an econ class and hold my own. It very much disappointed in this regard

6 people found this helpful

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One of the BEST books on the left I've found!

This is an excellent book explaining the origins and progression of the left (Socialism/ Communism) over the centuries. A great opportunity to learn from history and make more informed plans for the future. With the goal of not exploiting the weak but instead rasing them up to be equal and unique individuals. Also read "The Conquest of Bread".

5 people found this helpful

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A history, not a Manifesto

I got this book to learn about (title), not about the history of socialism's failures.

4 people found this helpful

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great into to history and concepts of Socialism

Thurs is great for college or high school or someone who wants an introduction to Socialism. great resource!

4 people found this helpful

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Overstated the achievements and understated the death tolls.

The book goes over much of the history. It does go over some of the down falls but I do believe you need to read the Gulag Archipelago to put into perspective properly. As well books covering monetary history and central banks are important other wise Socialist reforms will still be undermined by the banking institutions of the world. Creature from Jeckyll Island come to mind.

3 people found this helpful

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Not a manifesto

This is more a history of insider socialist politics. It also seems to completely conflate socialism with Marxism, which I don’t find particularly helpful these days.

3 people found this helpful

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Phenomenal research

This is a book for our times. There is so much here, but my favorite part is the way this books recovers socialist history. If, like myself, you are a child of the Cold War, all the achievements of socialism were air brushed out of your education. Most particularly I was fascinated the the account of American socialists. Between the end of the civil war and World War One, there was a large groups of elected socialists at the municipal level. For that alone this is an important book and recommended to all.

3 people found this helpful

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Practical and interesting

Full of practical advice and hypotheticals regarding the implementation of a social democracy, and where many attempts went wrong in the past and why.

The history section of the book can get a little dry, but not dry enough for me to tune out.

2 people found this helpful