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Who We Are
Iskra Books is an independent scholarly publisher—publishing original works of theory, history, ecology, and art, as well as edited collections, new translations, and critical republications of older works. We focus specifically on the progressive and avant-garde nature of socialist and working class thinking—moving revolutionary and critical scholarship forward in innovative and practical ways. Our goal is to move intellectual production outside of the academy and into the hands of the organizers, activists, and theorists most actively engaged in real-world liberation struggles.
Our Approach to Publishing
We aim to publish the most rigorous and critical contemporary works of revolutionary scholarship, with the intention that our publications serve those involved in real-world liberation struggles. In light of this, we make all of our materials available freely for high quality PDF download—we do not believe in paywalled knowledge, an exploitative practice of scholarly publishing under capitalism. Our print publications are priced well below average market price, and well below even the average list cost of other Left publishers.
We are staffed entirely by a vibrant and lively international collection of early career researchers and scholars, educators and artists, organizers and workers. As an all-volunteer collective, we fund Iskra Books entirely from our own pockets and from book sales; we have never operated a Patreon, and have never taken donations. We pay high author royalties—80% for internal authors, 50% for external authors. And while we operate on a budget one might generously call shoestring, we do not believe that the quality of our materials should ever suffer. As such, we aim to publish the highest quality texts and journals—with regard to both scholarly integrity and aesthetic presentation. Socialist publishing has historically been at the forefront of human thought, culture, and design; Iskra Books continues this brilliant tradition as an act of revolutionary service—a labor of love for the love of labor.
A Brief History of Iskra Books
Our founding editors began the work of independent revolutionary publishing in separate, now-defunct organizations back in 2014, gaining much-needed experience in book and journal publishing; yet it was not until 2017 that our three lead editors came together to organize the research collective that would later become Iskra Books.
We began as the Center for Communist Studies, a radical research center organized in response to a pressing need for academic and educational workers focused on people's liberation struggles to receive extra-institutional support. In 2019, after several years of publishing analysis articles online, we began work on our now widely-acclaimed journal, Peace, Land, and Bread, publishing our first issue in March of 2020—directly at the onset of the pandemic. Iskra Books became the name of our in-house publishing concern—named for Lenin's political newspaper of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party during the early years of the Twentieth Century.
Iskra initially comprised our small team of internal editors focused solely on print publications, and dealt specifically with the production and publication of Peace, Land, and Bread. Due to the journal's popularity, our editorial team quickly grew from three to twenty-three editors; this new and diverse group of comrades bringing a diversity of experience, interest, and specialization; giving our collective a broad and wide-ranging skill set and knowledge base.
Iskra reached beyond the journal and into the world of book publishing in 2021 with our first text, the Selected Works of Jose Carlos Mariategui, translated and edited by one of Peace, Land, and Bread's section editors, Christian Noakes. The popularity of both Peace, Land, and Bread, and the Selected Works was astounding—launching us full steam into scholarly revolutionary publishing in an exciting and revolutionary time, amidst pandemic and protest, war and activism for a planet on the verge of rupture.
We take our work as professional revolutionary publishers very seriously. We know that we publish in critical times for a revolutionary audience of organizers, educators, and comrades engaged on the front lines of the struggle; and we know that this struggle is life or death for the working class, for the oppressed, and for the exploited. We have nothing to lose but our chains; we have a world to win, and we publish for that world.