Study Guides

Syllabus and Course Outlines

A 4-PART STUDY OF THE SHAPING OF THE RUST BELT WORKING CLASS. From the settlers to the present, and how its consciousness is conflicted. Prepared by Carl Davidson, with some help from the DSA Rust Belt group.

READING BLACK RECONSTRUCTION.  Over the course of six ONE-HOUR sessions, the Center for Political Education will lead a study on DuBois’ Black Reconstruction and its relevance for organizing today. This study group will include presentations from guest presenters who will help participants draw lessons from the book. Essential for US Radicals.


5-PART SLIDESHOW for studying ‘The Half Has Never Been Told’

IF EVERY AFRICAN AMERICAN, OR EVEN EVERY WORKER, READ THIS BOOK, CAPITALISM WOULD BE SHAKEN TO THE CORE. This remarkable book on US slavery and the American economy, ‘The Half Has Never Been Told,’ by Edward E. Baptist, tells the story of how we became who we are, and how capitalism here is shaped the way it is. Click HERE for a 60min video lecture by the author. Edward Baptist.

3-PART-SLIDESHOW for studying ‘Slavery by Another Name’   Picks up after the Civil War’ where Baptist’s book leaves off, and continues to 1950. Douglas A, Blackmon’s book exposes how slavery–convict slaves and others–built the coal, rail and steel companies of the ‘New South’ under Jim Crow.

3-Part Slide Show for studying ‘The New Jim Crow’
Picks up after the 1950s, and especially after the Nixon and Reagan ‘Southern Strategies’ and the War on drugs. ‘Mass incarceration’ is the New Jim Crow, according to author Michelle Alexander, who skillfully describes its workings up to the present day.

GRAMSCI AND STRATEGY. Starter paper for Gramsci study groups. This 40-PAGE article presents an excellent summary  and overview of the history of Marxist strategy as applied to the advanced capitalist countries since the time of the Second International, including, in addition to the Second International’s strategic conception, that of the Bolsheviks and the Third International, Gramsci’s prison writings, Euro-Communism, and the new strategic orientation which has recently developed on Euro-Communism’s left wing, called by some Neo-Gramscianism. Written in 1981 by Paul Saba.

The Frankfurt School’s Theory of Fascism: A Syllabus for Deep Study
Featuring the works of Polloch, Postone, Neummann, Kirchheimer, Recich, Freud, Fromm, Adorno, and Benjamin.


These are designed for training and education the broad left on how best to defeat Trump and strengthen grassroots democracy in the current electoral arena. Each Module comes with a Facilitator’s Guide, and there is a Supplementary Resource Guide listing additional materials. These can be downloaded here: If you have any questions about these, or want to offer feedback or engage in a dialogue about them, please contact us at For peace with justice, Linda Burnham, Max Elbaum, Harmony Goldberg, Jason Negron-Gonzales, Tarso Ramos, Bob Wing. Additional materials are added by Carl Davidson.

The shifting 2016  electoral terrain and facilitators guide.

Strategy and the US Electoral System and facilitators guide

The Right and the Rise of Trump and facilitators guide

Recommended Books and Articles

Updating Our Strategy: Revisiting the U.S. ‘Six Party System’ Hypothesis: Carl Davidson

Video: What the Left Must Know: Electoral and Community Organizing at the Local Base: Carl Davidson

 Trump, the Border and Rightwing Populism: Carl Davidson


Study Materials for preparing for the sessions leading up to the convention, and at the Pittsburgh July 18-21 sessions themselves. Video on the Communist Manifesto and Video on Civil Rights Trade Unionism. Also a PDF file of the school schedule.  For the online preparatory session, check our ‘Lives Classes’ section.

Marta Harnecker’s ‘Origins of Capitalist Exploiation’

In this Booklet, Marta Harnecker studies the fundamental mechanism that explains why, under capitalism, you have a small group of people who possess a lot of wealth and enjoy an easy life, while a significant portion of workers find themselves in a very difficult situation. In was written in Chine during the Allende period, and now updated.

Booklets from the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation

Related to Die Linke, Germany’s Left Party, with a center in New York City, there are dozens of pamplets here on a wide range of topics about the US, many of which are excellent for starting off discussion groups. They also have many videoes, including this one on Rosa Luxemburg by Nancy Fraser.

American Social History Project

A site with a variety of multimedia resources–films, slideshow, photos, text–for teaching American history.

Slide Show: Study Guide for

‘After Capitalism’ by David Schweickart

Goes through the new 2nd Edition Chapter by Chapter

(Can’t afford Schweickart’s new 2nd edition at the moment? While its worth every bit of the price, the First Edition of ‘After Capitalism’ can now be downloaded HERE for free!)

DEMAND EVERYTHING: Lessons of the Transformative Organizing Model  A 24-page pamphlet by Steve Williams for study groups on organization building.

Introducing the Communist Manifesto in Multimedia

Combines popular folk songs, video and great narrative by Zach Robinson

Slide Show: 11 Talking Points on 21st Century Socialism

Designed for study groups on Carl Davidson’s essay on the topic

A Reading Guide on Women and Feminism

LibCom’s comprehensive gathering of articles, videos, books and other course materials.

Getting Past Capitalism: For Studying both Critique and Strategy

This new book by Cynthia Kaufman of Deanza College’s Philosophy in Cupertino, CA begins with a critique of the impacts of capitalism on society and the environment. It looks in new ways at what capitalism is and at how it is reproduced. . Kaufman then looks at some fundamental questions about how capitalism comes to look like a system that is unbeatable, and how people come to have desires that work to reinforce capitalism. She argues that rather than looking for the fulcrum point in a system that will make it able to be overthrown, we should try to understand what kinds of practices open more spaces for stopping the reproduction of capitalist processes, and what kinds of structures need to be developed to make capitalism a less important part of our world. ‘Getting Past Capitalism’ includes both a critique of capitalism and presentation of strategy and alternatives to capitalism, many of which already are being developed.  A PDF file of the full text is available HERE

Video Discussion Starter: Occupy Socialism

Occupy Socialism: Alternatives to Economic Inequality, Imperialist War and Ecological Destruction. video talk by Ingo Schmidt, the Coordinator of the Labour Studies Program at Athabasca University, BC, Canada and author of ‘Social Democracy After the Cold War’

Study Materials: Revolutionary Strategy by Mike MacNair

A debate has been raging in the UK for some years now over a fascinating book by a leader of the Communist Party Great Britain, which calls for, among other things, a re-examination of Kautsky, the ‘Bolshevik Model’ and the splits creating the Third and Fourth Internationals. some accuse him of rightism and reformism in accepting some of Kautsky’s ‘strategy of patience’ majoritarian ideas, while others think him too ‘left’ for opposing notions of coalitions and the popular front. In any case, it’s a useful survey of all these ideas.  The link above is to a 75-minute lecture by MacNair introducing the main ideas in his book. A pdf file of the entire book itself is included HERE.

Slide Show: The Left and Elections

Designed to start discussions on how grassroots groups should approach voting–A powerpoint by Carl Davidson

Course Outline: The Philosophy of Feminism

Linda Martin Alcoff of Hunter University/CUNY prepared this course, which explores the development of feminist thought from the publication of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex to the present. It  considers feminist attempts to reveal, unravel, and remedy the conceptual, psychological, and economic dimensions of the oppression of women. The suggested readings will explore the major feminist positions on the nature and scope of women’s oppression, how it gets perpetuated, and possible solutions.

Slide Show: The U.S. Constitution, Then and Now

Carl Davidson’s 8-session powerpoint for a class on the evolution of government and the U.S. Constitution.

Slide Show: Introduction to Mondragon

Carl Davidson’s powerpoint, in pdf format, giving an in-depth analysis of the MCC Coops and their history in Spain’s Basque Country

Shiftchange: Trailer for Workplace Democracy Film

Syllabus: American Revolution

Covers the period 1765-1800

Anti-Slavery Teaching Guides

Many resources on anti-slavery texts and how to present them

Recent Books on African-American History

A good listing compiled by the Teamster Union

Study Guides for Selected Works of Marx and Engels

Treats each work or book separately, with study questions for groups, From the CPUSA’s Political Affairs

Syllabus: Other Courses on American History

Nine courses from the Revolution to the Civil War with a Marxist Critique

Spanish Civil War: Course Outlines

Course outlines, video links and other teaching resources on the topic

Syllabus: Autonomous Marxism

State capitalism, Council communism, Paul Mattick, the Johnson-Forrest Tendency

Syllabus and Materials: Political Economy of Capital Accumulation

This 11-lecture course explores the accumulation of capital from three interrelated perspectives: conceptual, historical and empirical. PDFs and outline provided. By Jonathan Nitzen, York University, Toronto

Syllabus: Marxist Political Theory

Overview of Key Works of Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky and Gramsci