320 pp., 5 x 8 in, 33 color illus.
- Published: November 21, 2023
- Publisher: The MIT Press
How reading and writing are collective acts of political pedagogy, and why the struggle for change must begin at the level of the sentence.
“Reading is class struggle,” writes Bertolt Brecht. Marxism is not just a body of political and economic thought but also a practice of reading and writing, in which individual sentences give form to collective action and become social beings in their own right. Through a series of creative and interconnected readings of writings by, among others, Karl Marx, W. E. B. Du Bois, Rosa Luxemburg, Walter Benjamin, and Fredric Jameson, Eduardo Cadava and Sara Nadal-Melsió contextualize contemporary demands for social and racial justice by expanding our understanding of the relationship between literacy and class politics.
Reading between the lines, as it were, Cadava and Nadal-Melsió engage in an inventive literary mode of activist writing that finds new resources for Marxist thought, crucial for confronting the inequalities of our current historical moment and for combating insurgent fascism and racism. Reading and writing, they argue, are never solitary tasks, but rather collaborative and collective, and able to revitalize our shared political imagination. Drawing on what they call a “red common-wealth”—an archive of vast resources for doing political work and, in particular, antiracist work—Cadava and Nadal-Melsió demonstrate that sentences, as dynamic repositories of social relations, are historical and political events.