Reading recommendations

This is a short list of some of Organise Aotearoa’s foundational texts and other socalist and historical texts that you might find useful and interesting.

We have kept the list to three foundational texts and nine other recommended texts, for the sake of brevity. We have chosen to focus on texts which we believe will be useful or interesting to socialists in Aotearoa, rather than making an exhaustive list of texts specific to various socialist tendencies.

We also include articles, podcasts, and other media recommended by our members in the national pānui email. Sign up as a member or supporter to get these updates.

Foundational Texts

  • Matike Mai Report, Margaret Mutu, Moana Jackson
    • OA was originally conceived of as a group to support implementing the findings of this report, which describes ways to transform Aotearoa’s constitutional foundations to better reflect a treaty partnership, rather than domination by European sovereignty.
    • Text can be found here
  • Our Kaupapa
    • This was one of the first texts jointly written by the organisation as a foundational document.
    • Text can be found here

Recommended texts

  • Principles of Communism, Freidrich Engels
    • A short text by Engels, structured as a kind of FAQ for basic Marxist concepts such as class struggle, historical materialism, and proletarian revolution. Marx later re-drafted the ideas presented in this text into the Communist Manifesto. While we recommend both texts, Principles is somewhat more accessible than the Manifesto, and doesn’t assume as much knowledge of European politics at the time it was written.
    • Text can be found here
  • Value, Price, and Profit, Karl Marx
    • A short but thorough introduction to Marxist political economy initially given as a two part lecture to the First International.
    • Text can be found here
    • Wage Labour and Capital, Karl Marx with Engels’ introduction is also a good introduction but was written at a time when Marx’s theory was less developed.
  • Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution, Peter Kropotkin
    • A classic book by anarcho-communist Peter Kropotkin that refutes the myth that a stateless socialist society is impossible due to a selfish human nature by using evidence from biology, anthropology, history and sociology to demonstrate that humanity’s evolution has led to it having two tendencies: towards mutual struggle (competition) and towards mutual aid (cooperation), with the latter making a stateless socialism possible.
    • Text can be found here
    • Introductory article that provides contemporary evidence for the text’s arguments
  • Reform or Revolution, Rosa Luxemburg
    • A medium-length pamphlet that remains influential and relevant to this day, which argues against the idea that incremental change, through parliamentary democracy and trade union reforms, is the only way to achieve socialism. Luxemburg maintains that while revolutionaries must fight for reforms, the working class must ultimately organise to prepare for the total overthrow of the capitalist system.
    • Text can be found here
  • Wretched of the Earth, Frantz Fanon
    • A classic of decolonial literature that details the period of anti-colonial uprisings in Africa, and the common patterns that developed in these struggles. 
    • Text can be found here
  • Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire
    • A foundational text for socialist educators, Friere writes from a wealth of experience in holding educational sessions with poor and otherwise oppressed workers.
    • Text can be found here
  • Decolonisation and the Pacific, Tracey Banivanua-Mar
    • A medium length book detailing this history of slavery and colonisation in the Pacific, and movements for Pacific self-determination. Includes histories of the Pacific slave trade, the Mau movement in Sāmoa, and the West Papua independence movement. This book helps to contextualise the colonisation of Aotearoa within a wider history of colonisation in the Pacific and Australia.
    • Text available online through University databases. Email if you need to request a copy.
  • Kia Mau: Resisting Colonial Fictions, Tina Ngata
    • A short book published in response to commemorations by the New Zealand government of James Cooks’ first visit to Aotearoa, 250 years ago. Ngata writes about the Doctrine of Discovery, a doctrine by the Catholic Church that sanctioned European colonisation all over the world, and she writes honestly about Captain Cook’s crimes – murder, plunder and rape – during his voyages, which are whitewashed as part of a national, colonial mythmaking process. This book gets to the whakapapa of European colonisation.
    • Text can be found here
  • Feminism for the 99%, Tithi Bhattacharya, Nancy Fraser, Cinzia Arruzza
    • A short and accessible book that identifies the limitations of western liberal feminism that has sought to have women represented at the top of the social, political and economic hierarchy, and instead makes the case for a global anticapitalist, eco-socialist and antiracist movement, drawing inspiration from recent waves of global feminist militancy.
    • Text can be found here