Understanding Socialism


Understanding Socialism

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 flyer 


Socialism is a yearning for something better than capitalism.

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. 

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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

"Wolff’s 138-page book is an accessible and insightful primer that undertakes a critical examination of the history of state-led socialism while offering a refreshing vision of a new model based upon workplace democracy." - Labor journalist and Portside Labor moderator Gregory N. Heires

Press for Understanding Socialism

Sep 9, 2020: Review in Portside
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


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