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The Case for Socialism (Updated Edition)

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  168 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Is socialism an impossible, discredited dream or the only realistic path for human survival? If you're not sure of the answer, or are just curious about what the Left really believes in, you need to read Maass. He's the Tom Paine of the contemporary American left."
--Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums
"This is a vivid, fluent and rare book about socialism for those unint
ebook, 184 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Haymarket Books (first published April 30th 2005)
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May 04, 2011 Michael rated it it was amazing
I'm giving this book five stars not because I agree with the author's analysis or conclusions, but because it was well-written and honest. "Socialism," of course, has become a word that's analogous to "child-molester" or "terrorist" in our nation's current political discourse, and for understandable reasons: socialism/communism is responsible for the deaths of more than 100 million human beings in the last century. To this day, the economic systems of places like China and North Korea continue t ...more
Mark Lewis
How discouraging it must be for socialists that this book presumes to make their case. I have no idea what the views of the larger socialist community are regarding its content, but I can't understand how it results in anything but a net loss for the ideology. With socialism still being somewhat of a dirty word in America, I enjoy reading its proponents put forth their best arguments for embracing it and judging whether or not it deserves to be demonized the way it has been.

The book relies heavi
Jan 03, 2014 Stuart rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a good primer for those that are angry with the current system, the status quo and would like to consider an alternative.

I like it because growing up in the US, there has historically been enormous stigma associated with the word Socialism, think camps, gulag, USSR, bread lines, papers required for travel etc.

Alan Maass speaks to those who have never delved into the actual nuts and bolts of Marxist thought but are at the point where they recognize the reality that the current system
Corbin Routier
Dec 09, 2014 Corbin Routier rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The intention of the book is to persuade the reader against Capitalism and towards the sharing of wealth, i.e. Socialism. It overplays the merits of Socialism in a very idealistic form as it also downplays Capitalism in a very idealistic form. This said, it does provide a very good basis for the over concentration of wealth in the world.

"According to Forbes, the world's 793 billionaires as of 2009 still had a combined worth of $2.4 trillion. That's twice the combined GDP of all the countries of
Steven Yenzer
This book should be called "The Case Against Capitalism." The majority of the pages are pointed toward criticism of capitalism, which, although interesting, was not what I hoped I would get out of this book.
Amy Wolf
Oct 27, 2015 Amy Wolf rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book, which examines the brutality/inequality of our present capitalist society and frames an alluring alternative. Not just a pie-in-the-sky affirmation of socialism, the book also presents realistic ways to implement socialism by using the power of the masses to organize, strike, and plan. Not for right-wing hysterics who scream "Socialism!" at someone as mainstream as Obama, for for the thoughtful reader who seeks an alternative to our present corrupt, rotten rule of the ...more
Diana Hernandez
Jan 02, 2014 Diana Hernandez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like many others who have reviewed this book before me, I believe that the title does not adequately describe the argument that Alan Maass presents in his book, The Case for Socialism. Although the argument specifically FOR socialism isn't quite so strong, his case against capitalism is well constructed. It is a great read for anyone interested in leftist ideology (especially as a starting point for someone who is just beginning to dabble into socialist literature). However, one thing that bugge ...more
Sep 27, 2011 David rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
If you've been noticing, as I have lately, how often the term "socialism" keeps popping up in news articles, blogs, political debates, etc., it might be a good idea to read this book. Of course, the term is usually used by Republicans (and Democrats even) as a form of slander, but the unusual (to me) reiteration of the term kept making me suspicious that deep down perhaps many wealthy, powerful government officials and corporate CEOs are really voicing their fear: an eruption of socialist values ...more
Apr 18, 2014 Rebecca rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
This isn't so much a case for socialism as it is a case against capitalism. Instead of explaining why or how socialism would work, it explains why and how capitalism doesn't. And, while well written, multiple parts veer into complaining about the current system and its corruption.
Adam Ross
As a lot of other reviewers and readers have noted, this is more accurately titled "What's Bad about Captialism," rather than "What's awesome about Socialism," but the last few chapters do begin to set out a positive case for it, which I found fascinating. The discussion of the Russian Revolution and the Soviet Union actually *not* being socialist at all was captivating and I am now much more interested in reading up on that historical period than before.
Jun 04, 2014 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Like a pamphlet gone on too long. Good on making an emotional argument. Bad on facts to back it up.
This book is written in journalistic style, so it is very accessible to read. It does not explain Marxism in detail but it does explain why capitalism is destructive and is not beneficial for working-class and poor people. Maass does indeed make a case for socialism, but his book could use a few more chapters on that topic. Many more people these days are interested in what socialism is all about, so we need more books (also blogs, videos, podcasts, daily commentary) like this in order to explai ...more
Emily Shaw
A good introduction and overview for the need for socialist thought and organization in contemporary society. Read the final section, "What Else to Read" and fill up your Goodreads queue with Zinn, D'Amato, Hallas, Draper, Smith, Wolf, Shawki and others published by Haymarket Books.
Justin Wu
Dec 08, 2011 Justin Wu rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: society
This book gives a brief introduction to modern socialist ideas. However, my problem with the book is that although it has pointed out many problems with the capitalist world, it does not provide much solutions to it. The author does a good job in destructing but not in reconstructing.
Feb 08, 2012 Graeme rated it really liked it
Most of the book is fairly dry and not terribly inspiring. The last two sections ("If There Is No Struggle, There is No Progress" and Howard Zinn's afterword), however, are the exception to this and largely redeem the slow plod through the first 2/3rds of the short book.
Joe Chaves
Jun 12, 2012 Joe Chaves rated it it was amazing
A great introduction to socialism. It was very understandable and modern. And I recommend it to anybody that doesn't understand what socialism is.
Richard Cripps
A book that fails to live up to its title and instead offers a convincing critique on free market exploitation.
Jan 12, 2013 Madeline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing. Defines socialism for a new generation that often lumps together Marxism and Socialism into one category.
meredith ann
Sep 25, 2012 meredith ann rated it liked it
Shelves: ebook
thought provoking and a necessary book. however, it was a bit dry and repetetive at parts.
Andrea Bartlett
Jul 21, 2012 Andrea Bartlett rated it really liked it
clear and concise, a good introduction to the concept of socialism.
for a book that i completely disagree with it makes some good points
Oct 19, 2008 Mr. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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“At its heart, socialism is about the creation of a new society, built from the bottom up, through the struggles of ordinary working people against exploitation, oppression, and injustice—one that eliminates profit and power as the prime goals of life, and instead organizes our world around the principles of equality, democracy, and freedom. The” 0 likes
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