It’s a belief that unites the left and right, psychologists and philosophers, writers and historians. It drives the headlines that surround us and the laws that touch our lives. From Machiavelli to Hobbes, Freud to Dawkins, the roots of this belief have sunk deep into Western thought. Human beings, we’re taught, are by nature selfish and governed by self-interest. Humankind makes a new argument: that it is realistic, as well as revolutionary, to assume that people are good. The instinct to cooperate rather than compete, trust rather than distrust, has an evolutionary basis going right back to the beginning of Homo sapiens. By thinking the worst of others, we bring out the worst in our politics and economics too.

In this major book, international-bestselling author Rutger Bregman takes some of the world’s most famous studies and events and reframes … More

Today, our lives are dominated by an ideology of extreme competition and individualism. It misrepresents human nature, destroying hope and common purpose. But we cannot replace it without a positive vision, one that reengages people in politics and lights a path to a better world. Urgent and passionate, George Monbiot shows how new findings in psychology, neuroscience & evolutionary biology cast humans in a radically different light: as the supreme altruists and cooperators. He shows how both democracy and economic life can be radically reorganised from the bottom up, enabling us to take back control and overthrow the forces that have thwarted our ambitions for a better society.

Out of the Wreckage explains just how communities can be rebuilt with the help of a new “politics of belonging”. … More

Born OTD in 1809, French politician & the founder of mutualist philosophy, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. His best-known assertion is that ‘property is theft!’, contained in his first major work, What Is Property?, published in 1840. Proudhon favored workers’ associations or co-operatives as well as individual worker/peasant possession over private ownership or the nationalization of land and workplaces.

The first English translation of Guerin’s monumental anthology of anarchism, published here in one volume. It details a vast array … More

Born OTD in 1842, Russian activist, zoologist, scientist, geographer, & philosopher who advocated anarcho-communism, Peter Kropotkin. The essays, initially published in the English periodical ‘The 19th Century’ between 1890 & 1896, explore the role of mutually-beneficial cooperation & reciprocity (or “mutual aid”) in the animal kingdom & human societies both past & present. It is an argument against theories of social Darwinism that emphasize competition and survival of the fittest.

Writing partly in response to Social Darwinism, Kropotkin draws on his scientific knowledge to illustrate the phenomenon of cooperation. After … More

First published OTD in 1851, Moby Dick, originally called ‘The Whale’. Moby Dick is the story of Captain Ahab’s quest to avenge the whale that ‘reaped’ his leg. The quest is an obsession & the novel is a diabolical study of how a man becomes a fanatic. But it is also a hymn to democracy. Bent as the crew is on Ahab’s appalling crusade, it is equally the image of a co-operative community at work: all hands dependent on all hands, each individual responsible for the security of each. Among the crew is Ishmael, the novel’s narrator, ordinary sailor, and extraordinary reader.

Digressive, allusive, vulgar, transcendent, the story Ishmael tells is above all an education:in the practice of whaling, in the art … More

Born OTD in 1819, American novelist, short story writer, and poet of the American Renaissance period, Herman Melville. Moby Dick is the story of Captain Ahab’s quest to avenge the whale that `reaped’ his leg. The quest is an obsession and the novel is a diabolical study of how a man becomes a fanatic. But it is also a hymn to democracy. Bent as the crew is on Ahab’s appalling crusade, it is equally the image of a co-operative community at work: all hands dependent on all hands, each individual responsible for the security of each. Among the crew is Ishmael, the novel’s narrator, ordinary sailor, and extraordinary reader.

Available in store and online.

The other side of Notting Hill – this is a historical analysis of housing in the North Kensington area of London, from the middle of the Twentieth Century to the present day. The establishment and development of a Housing Co-operative was central to a radical new form of local social housing.

The past four decades of the Co-op’s experience is examined alongside a description of vibrant community legal campaigns to improve … More

Born OTD in 1921, American social theorist, author, orator, historian, and political philosopher, Murray Bookchin. A pioneer in the ecology movement, Bookchin formulated and developed the theory of social ecology and urban planning, within anarchist, libertarian socialist, and ecological thought.

In the essays that make up this book, Murray Bookchin calls for a critical social standpoint that transcends both “biocentrism” … More

Born OTD in 1842. Russian Zoologist, economist, geographer, and philosopher, Peter Kropotkin. Writing partly in response to Social Darwinism, Kropotkin draws on his scientific knowledge to illustrate the phenomenon of cooperation. After examining the evidence of cooperation in nonhuman animals, pre-feudal societies, medieval cities, and in modern times, he concludes that cooperation and mutual aid are the most important factors in the evolution of the species and the ability to survive.

“In the animal world we have seen that the vast majority of species live in societies, and that they find … More

First published OTD in 1851, Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Moby Dick is the story of Captain Ahab’s quest to avenge the whale that `reaped’ his leg. The quest is an obsession and the novel is a diabolical study of how a man becomes a fanatic. But it is also a hymn to democracy. Bent as the crew is on Ahab’s appalling crusade, it is equally the image of a co-operative community at work: all hands dependent on all hands, each individual responsible for the security of each. Among the crew is Ishmael, the novel’s narrator, ordinary sailor, and extraordinary reader.

Digressive, allusive, vulgar, transcendent, the story Ishmael tells is above all an education:in the practice of whaling, in the art … More