One of The Boston Globe's Best Books of 2023 * "I'm sitting here, in awe, trying to wrap my head around how Malaika conjured something so vibrant and timely and fun (and even flirty) while also being rigorous, evergreen, and fucking terrifying." —Damon Young
This biting, brilliant, often hilarious guide to socialism by journalist Malaika Jabali debunks myths, centers forgotten socialists of color who have shaped our world, and shows socialism is not all Marx and Bernie Bros—it's time for all of us to ditch capitalism and try something finer.
We’ve all dated someone who took control of the relationship—you know, someone who makes you feel like you’re unhappy because you’re just not putting in the work, or it’s all in your head. But when you think about trying to meet new people, it feels terrifying. Like, have you looked at Tinder recently? It’s rough out there!
Your tough-love new best friend, award-winning journalist, policy attorney, and life-long socialist Malaika Jabali is here to say: we are all in a generations-long toxic relationship with Capitalism, and it is time to get the h*ll out of there and move ALONG.
She gives you everything you need to know about what a healthy relationship could actually look like, issue by issue—from healthcare and housing to the whole concept of American democracy—with our new boo: Socialism. And no, Socialism isn’t the boring, grey, authoritarian, Cold-War-era monster that you’ve heard about.
With accessible explanations and illustrations, often surprising graphs and stats, and some Drake memes, this book will show you that we NEED to build a world that’s safer, kinder, cleaner, healthier, and more equal. And that this isn’t a utopian dream – it’s within our grasp, if we collectively decide to call out Capitalism for what it really is and wake up to a better future.
About the Author
Malaika Jabali is the Senior News and Politics Editor at Essence Magazine. Her writing has appeared in The Root, Teen Vogue, The New Republic, and The Guardian, where she was a columnist. She received her J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was an Articles Editor for the Columbia Journal of Race and Law, and an M.S. from the Columbia University School of Social Work. Her first political feature, "The Color of Economic Anxiety," won the 2019 New York Association for Black Journalists award for magazine feature. She is a licensed attorney who has written laws and worked in housing policy for the New York City Council and the former Co-Chair of Operation P.O.W.E.R., a grassroots organization based in Brooklyn focused on bringing Black radical politics to New York City.
“I'm sitting here, in awe, trying to wrap my head around how Malaika conjured something so vibrant and timely and fun (and even flirty) while also being rigorous, evergreen, and fucking terrifying. She's an alchemist, and this isn't just a crucial text about the pathology of capitalism—and how to ghost it—it's a philosopher's stone of a debut.” —Damon Young, author of What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker
"Most of us don’t understand the price we pay for our commitment to capitalism. This necessary primer will open your eyes, close your wallet, and free your soul." —Michael Eric Dyson, New York Times-bestselling author of What Truth Sounds Like and Tears We Cannot Stop
“Being radicalized has never been so much fun! Malaika Jabali’s brilliant little volume is a laugh-out-loud exploration of the toxic relationship most of us have with capitalism, and an inclusive and intersectional analysis of how supposedly free markets depend on the subjugation and oppression of wide swaths of the population. But more than just critique, Jabali offers a clear-eyed and compelling road map for how socialism can lead us all into a more just, equitable, and sustainable future.”—Kristen R. Ghodsee, author of Everyday Utopia
“Each year a multibillion-dollar self-help industry inundates us with books promising a path to love, happiness, confidence, prosperity, better relationships, and a better life. But It’s Not You, It’s Capitalism is the only one that can save your life. Don’t be fooled by Malaika Jabali’s witty prose and satirical mastery. Leaving after centuries of definite social relations is serious business. Beneath capitalism’s tailored designer clothes and flashy smile is a batterer, a narcissistic exploiter with a jones for profit and a determination to destroy anyone or anything that gets in the way. Neither couples therapy nor a less abusive partner will save us or our planet. What we need are new ways to love and live, together.”—Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination
“A light book…about a serious topic: considering an alternate economic system. This book is for readers who voted for or wanted to vote for Bernie Sanders and would rather laugh and take direct action than cry about the impossibility of democratic socialism.”—The Boston Globe, a Best Book of 2023
“A cheeky introduction to anti-capitalist theory with a focus on race… The author’s vibrant language works together with memes and emoji-esque graphics to make this book a breeze to read but…draws on a deep well of theory and historical analysis… A radical textbook for budding socialists, uncompromising in its attention to race in the story of global capitalism.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Jabali…takes on capitalism’s failures and injustices with humor and moxie in this dynamic, illustrated primer. The clever, irreverent, and hip relationship allegory makes for a zesty, thought-provoking, and liberating guide.”—Booklist
“Whip-smart and very funny…an accessible guide to anti-capitalist and pro-socialist politics, it doubles as something of a therapeutic cleanse to help readers get over the worst long term relationship most people will ever have.”—Matt McManus, Current Affairs
"This short, spunky, and insightful volume is lushly designed and illustrated by Kayla E. It’s the perfect introductory primer to why the free-market sucks...Jabali guides the reader through an honest and eye-opening assessment of how our current economic system is like a toxic partner we all need to dump."—LitHub