Haymarket Books is a nonprofit, progressive book distributor and publisher, a project of the Center for Economic Research and Social Change. We believe that activists need to take ideas, history, and politics into the many struggles for social justice today. Learning the lessons of past victories, as well as defeats, can arm a new generation of fighters for a better world. As Karl Marx said, “The philosophers have merely interpreted the world; the point however is to change it.”
We take inspiration and courage from our namesakes, the Haymarket Martyrs, who gave their lives fighting for a better world. Their 1886 struggle for the eight-hour day, which gave us May Day, the international workers’ holiday, reminds workers around the world that ordinary people can organize and struggle for their own liberation. These struggles continue today across the globe—struggles against oppression, exploitation, hunger, and poverty.
It was August Spies, one of the Martyrs who was targeted for being an immigrant and an anarchist, who predicted the battles being fought to this day. “If you think that by hanging us you can stamp out the labor movement,” Spies told the judge, “then hang us. Here you will tread upon a spark, but here, and there, and behind you, and in front of you, and everywhere, the flames will blaze up. It is a subterranean fire. You cannot put it out. The ground is on fire upon which you stand.”
Haymarket Books is also proud to support the Jon Kelley Wright Workers' Memorial Book Series, an annual series of books about the labor movement and other workers struggles published by the Jon Kelley Wright memorial fund to honor workers killed on the job. The fund's creator and coordinator, Derek Wright, established the project after his uncle was killed by the Chrysler Corporation on September 22, 2007. He writes,
"Kelley named me as the beneficiary on one of his modest life insurance policies. To turn some of my grief and anger into positive action, I decided to use the money to endow this fund and launch the Book Series.
"I hope that the Jon Kelley Wright Workers’ Memorial Book Series will inspire others to dedicate their lives to the struggle for a world where safety on the job is more important than profits, and that it will help keep the memory of our beloved family and friends alive. We’re inviting anyone who has lost someone they love due to an unsafe workplace to memorialize that person through this fund. We'll publish a memorial page on our site, and include a link on the dedication page of each book in the series."
The first book in the series, The Labor Wars by celebrated labor historian Sidney Lens, is available through haymarketbooks.org. To learn more about the fund and to make a tax-deductible donation, visit http://WorkersMemorialFund.org or send your check payable to CERSC, with "Workers Memorial Fund" in the memo line, to:
P.O. Box 258082
Chicago, IL 60625