Understanding Socialism   |   Understanding Marxism


Understanding Socialism

Socialism is a yearning for something better than capitalism.

by Richard D. Wolff

Published November 2019, by Democracy at Work

Paperback ISBN: 978-0-578-22734-4
ebook ISBN: 978-0-578-23267-6

Understanding Socialism tackles the taboos and unveils the often hidden histories of socialism, but most importantly it offers a way forward: a socialism built on democracy in the workplace. A blend of history, analysis and opinion, Understanding Socialism is an honest and approachable text that knocks down false narratives, confronts failures, and offers a path to a new socialism based on workplace democracy.

Understanding Socialism not only explains what socialism is and has meant to various proponents, it also looks at the past transition from feudalism to capitalism as a model to help us visualize the next transition out of capitalism. Understanding Socialism explores how socialist theory was used and applied to shape the histories of countries like Russia and China principally, and many other countries in smaller but important ways. It analyzes the successes and defeats of those countries, the world's reactions to them (anti-socialism and fascism), and how all of those factors offer important lessons for the building of a 21st century socialism.

Understanding Socialism was published by Democracy at Work. Professor Wolff generously donated his time and work so that all sales revenue could go to support d@w. 

Available as a paperback or an an e-book. 

Endorsements for Understanding Socialism

"Richard Wolff's book is the best accessible and reliable treatment we have of what socialism is, was, and should be. It is clear, concise, and compelling. In a time in which socialism is more popular than capitalism among the young, we now have a strong and powerful case for why socialism is what radical democracy looks like." - Cornel West

“Rick Wolff puts the social back in socialism by centering the people, the places and the passions that other economists strip out. In the same accessible style that has made his programs and lectures such a hit, he explains his subject in a way that's not only smart, but makes the rest of us feel smart. It's actionable intelligence for the every person.” - Laura Flanders

“There are few economists who are the equal of Richard Wolff, which he once again proves with his latest book. Lucid, brilliant and uncompromising in his dissection of the capitalist system he also provides a sane and just socialist alternative to capitalist exploitation, one we must all fight to achieve.” - Chris Hedges

Press for Understanding Socialism

Apr 23, 2020: Interview on The Sensible Socialist (Part I & Part II)
Feb 24, 2020: Debate Between Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman & Socialist Economist Richard Wolff on Democracy Now!
Feb 13, 2020: Interview on Watching the Hawks
Feb 9, 2020: Interview on On Contact with Chris Hedges
Feb 8, 2020: Review in ROAR Magazine: "Worker self-directed enterprises: the cure for capitalism"
Jan 30, 2020: "10 Things You Should Know About Socialism" in YES! Magazine
Jan 29, 2020: Excerpt of Understanding Socialism in Truthout
Dec 23, 2019: Interview on The Michael Brooks Show (54:55)
Dec 13, 2019: Interview on Rising Up with Sonali (10:02)
Dec 12, 2019: Interview in Thom Hartmann Program

Discussion Questions for Understanding Socialism



Understanding Marxism

Why should we pay attention to the great social critics like Marx?

by Richard D. Wolff

First Printing November 2018, by Democracy at Work

Paperback ISBN: 978-0-359-46702-0
ebook ISBN: 978-0-359-56158-2

Understanding Marxism is a small book, written by Richard D. Wolff in collaboration with the staff of Democracy at Work, a 501c(3) non-profit founded by Wolff. There are rising demands for accessible introductions to Marxism and to the social changes it suggests. This essay responds to that interest. It seeks to provide bases for real solutions now that the flaws and failures of contemporary capitalism are exposed again, and again. Marxism always was the critical shadow of capitalism. Their interactions changed them both. Now Marxism is once again stepping into the light as capitalism shakes from its own excesses and confronts decline. Hopefully this book can help our era’s renewal of Marxism.

Americans especially now confront serious questions and evidences that our capitalist system is in trouble. It clearly serves the 1% far, far better than what is is doing to the vast mass of people. Marx was a social critic for whom capitalism was not the end of human history. It was just the latest phase and badly needed the transition to something better. We offer this essay now because of the power and usefulness today of Marx’s criticism of the capitalist economic system.

Understanding Marxism was published by Democracy at Work. Professor Wolff generously donated his time and work so that all sales revenue could go to support d@w. 

Available as a paperback or an an e-book. 

Endorsements for Understanding Marxism

“Understanding Marxism is a pro-proletarian primer to help the masses comprehend some of the basics of a complicated worldview, as Wolff identifies some of the capitalist system’s essential contradictions.” - Ed Rampell, L.A.-based journalist

Press for Understanding Marxism

Nov & Dec 2019: Review in Dollars & Sense
December 5, 2019: Interview in Thom Hartmann Program
November 21, 2019: Review in Counterfire
June 4, 2019: Review in People's World
March 5, 2019: Interview in Rising Up with Sonali

Discussion Questions for Understanding Marxism


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